Postdoc in cosmology

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position in theoretical cosmology at the University of Cape Town, funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. Cape Town is a rapidly growing centre for cosmological research, driven in part by the huge investment by South Africa in the Square Kilometre Array project. The Cosmology Group at the University of Cape Town is part of the Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre, consisting of 20 academic staff members with research interests ranging from extragalactic astronomy to quantum gravity ( ).

The researcher will work with Chris Clarkson on topics in relativistic cosmology including gravitational lensing, perturbation theory and tests of modified gravity, though candidates with other interests will also be considered.

The position is for 2 years starting any time in 2015. Please email a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and arrange for 3 reference letters to be sent to chris [dot] clarkson [at] uct [dot] ac [dot] za by 6 Feb 2015. (Please note that applicants should have obtained their PhD degree within the last five years at the time of starting the position.)

Three PostDoctoral positions in Cosmology starting in 2014

The Cosmology and Gravity Group at the University of Cape Town has 3 postdoctoral positions currently available to start by the end of 2014. Together with the string theory group (QGASLaB) and the Astronomy department, the CGG forms part of the ACGC - Candidates interested in shared activities within the ACGC are especially encouraged to apply. - Please see details below and contact the relevant person ASAP.

1) A 1 year postdoc postdoc position is available to work with anyone in the group. The position may be extendable thereafter, however it will need to be taken up by the end of 2014. Please send applications or questions to any group member together with 3 references before the end of August (though applications will be accepted until the post is filled). Contact info can be found at

2) A postdoc position is available in relativistic cosmology to work with Chris Clarkson. The position is for 2 years, starting by the end of 2014. Please send applications or questions to chris [dot] clarkson [at] gmail [dot] com together with 3 references before the end of August (though applications will be accepted until the post is filled).

3) A postdoctoral position is available to work with Amanda Weltman at the University of Cape Town and with the researchers at Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. We invite applications for a shared postdoctoral research fellowship to work in the areas of observational and theoretical cosmology.

Postdoctoral Position in Multi-Wavelength Extragalactic Astronomy

The Department of Astronomy of the University of Cape Town is offering a Postdoctoral Fellow Research position in Extragalactic astronomy based on the construction and utilization of the All-Sky WISE Galaxy Image Atlas and Catalogue. The interested candidate should have prior experience with resolved galaxy photometry and managing (large) data sets.

Voids have a bright side

A new study, examining how galaxy images should appear distorted in the Universe, has been published by a team including ACGC researchers: "Antilensing: the Bright Side of Voids", Krzysztof Bolejko, Chris Clarkson, Roy Maartens, David Bacon, Nikolai Meures, and Emma Beynon, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 021302 (2013).

Usually, the large voids in the Universe are expected to cause the images of background galaxies to appear smaller and less bright, due to the gravitational bending of light known as gravitational lensing. But our team finds that this can be completely overcome by another effect, so that galaxies behind the void will appear brighter and larger than usual: this is due to the void expanding faster than the surrounding Universe, leading to an overestimate of the distance to these objects.

The paper is highlighted in Physics , Science , and Inside Science.

ACGC Workshop 2012

This year's ACGC Workshop was held at the Belmont Square Conference Centre, Rondebosch on Tuesday 19 June 2012.

Extra-galactic milestone for South Africa’s KAT-7 telescope

First atomic hydrogen spectral line images of a nearby galaxy

South Africa’s KAT-7 telescope, a seven-dish array which is a precursor to the much larger MeerKAT telescope in the Karoo and to the Square Kilometre Array, has reached another major milestone by observing the radio emission from the neutral hydrogen gas (HI) in a nearby galaxy. Hydrogen gas emits radio emission in a spectral line at a very specific frequency of 1420 MHz.

The astronomers pointed the telescope towards a galaxy called NGC 3109 – a small spiral galaxy, about 4.3 million light-years away from Earth, located in the constellation of Hydra. The observation allowed them to see the HI radio emission of this galaxy, as well as to see how this galaxy is moving. Where the gas is moving towards us, the frequency of the spectral line is Doppler-shifted upwards; where the gas is moving away, the frequency is shifted down. In this way, astronomers can map the way in which all of the gas in the galaxy is moving.

“These exciting results achieved by KAT-7 have given us confidence that we know how to build a cutting-edge radio telescope in Africa to answer some of the fundamental questions in radio astronomy”, says Dr Bernie Fanaroff, director of SKA South Africa. “Our team in the SKA South Africa Project and universities has again shown that they can deliver cutting-edge technology and do excellent science on a very tight schedule.”

ACGC Researcher helps find evidence of black holes' destruction of stars

ACGC post-doc, Mathew Smith, is part of a team of astrophysicists from the U.S., Spain and South Africa that have found evidence of black holes destroying stars, a long-sought phenomenon that provides a new window into general relativity. The research, reported in the latest issue of the Astrophysical Journal, also opens up a method to search for the possible existence of a large population of presently undetectable "intermediate mass" black holes, which are hypothesized to be precursors to the super-massive black holes at the centers of most large galaxies.

More information can be found here

ACGC Proudly Supports the African SKA Bid

Today (15 September 2011) marks the day when both Australia/New Zealand and South Africa (and their 8 African partner countries) submit their final site bids to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). The Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Research Centre at the University of Cape Town proudly supports the African bid for the SKA.

In support of the African bid, we have recently launched a brochure outlining the involvement of astronomers and engineers at the University of Cape Town in SKA science and human capacity development on the African continent. You can download the brochure via the cover picture on the left.

Chair of Astronomy, Prof Renée Kraan-Korteweg, selected as finalist in the 2011 DST Women in Science award

Prof Kraan-Korteweg, the chair of Astronomy and head of the Astronomy department at UCT, has been selected as a finalist at the 2011 Women in Science Award organized by the South African Department of Science and Technology.

At the award ceremony on 19 August 2011 in Pretoria, Prof Kraan-Korteweg was 2nd runner up in the category of Distinguished Women in "Life, Natural and Engineering Sciences". On behalf of the entire department we congratulate Renée on this achievement. For more details on this story, see the link below to the news paper article in the Mail and Guardian.


ACGC Researchers receive 2011 UCT Research Associateship award

ACGC PhD students, Obinna Umeh and Vinesh Rajpaul along with their supervisors, Chris Clarkson and John Menzies, respectively, have received the 2011 UCT Research Associateship award.

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