Physicist, Geoscientist, Mathematician or similar (f/m/x)


The DLR Institute of Planetary Research carries out and supports research programs on the internal structure, formation and evolution of the planets, their moons, and asteroids and comets. Techniques employed include remote sensing and in-situ investigations using instruments carried on spacecraft, astronomical observations from the ground, theoretical modeling, and laboratory experiments. The study of asteroids and comets is a topic investigated across all departments of the institute, and the current research project will be carried out in collaboration with the Technische Universität Braunschweig as well as the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

Current space missions to asteroids Ryugu and Bennu as well as the analysis of returned samples have provided valuable data on the mechanical and thermal properties of extraterrestrial material. However, the theoretical understanding of the mechanisms governing their physical behavior are still lacking behind. The goal of the current project is to develop numerical models that can be directly compared to laboratory experiments on analogue materials and meteorites, the latter to be performed by our project partners.

We search for a highly motivated student to support our project. The PhD student will develop discrete element models of asteroid materials and provide a modeling framework that considers the effects of porosity, bonds between particles and cracks to study their influence on thermal and mechanical properties. The numerical models will be compared to mission data as well as the results of laboratory experiments.

The tasks associated with the position are:

  • setting up a discrete element model of asteroid material using existing software tools and verification of the model by comparing with semi-analytical models
  • extending the numerical model to include bonds between particles as well as heat transport across the bonds
  • analyzing the mechanical properties of the material by direct simulation of laboratory experiments
  • extending the numerical model to include cracks and crack growth and analyzing the influence of these cracks on mechanical and thermal properties
  • publication in peer-review journals and presentation at international conferences

The opportunity to work on a PhD thesis can be offered, when the suitable qualification is given.

  • master/diploma degree in physics, geosciences, applied mathematics, or similar disciplines
  • strong interest in planetary science 
  • excellent analytical and programming skills
  • good knowledge of mechanics and heat transfer
  • ability to work in a structured way, both independently and as part of a team
  • very good communication skills in English
  • experience with discrete element modeling is an advantage

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x).Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

DLR - Helmholtz / Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt

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Deadline: 2023-05-08
Location: Germany, Berlin
Categories: Applied Mathematics,, Geosciences, Mathematician, Mathematics, Physicist, Physics, planetary science, project engineer,


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