The Nuclear Verification and Disarmament Group, sponsored by a FREIGEIST-Fellowship of the VolkswagenStiftung, is a junior research group that conducts research on verification approaches to make progress on nuclear disarmament. The research lies at the crossroads of experimental physics, computational nuclear engineering as well as the social sciences. It seeks to develop new “nuclear archaeology” tools to reconstruct how much weapons-usable materials have been produced in the past.
The group is part of the graduate school Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES), which conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface between mathematics, computer science and engineering. The group also works together with the III. Institute of Physics B, which conducts research in the field of experimental particle and astroparticle physics.
Plutonium is produced in reactors and must be subsequently separated from the reactor fuel in reprocessing plants, producing radioactive waste. Highly enriched uranium is produced in enrichment plants, which also produces waste. Information on past production of weapons-usable fissile materials can be obtained today by analysing documentation of the past fuel cycle operations, and by analysing isotopic measurements of radioactive wastes of samples of structural materials from the fuel cycle plants.
In addition to developing techniques to gather relevant information from measured samples of wastes or from within facilities, inverse models must be developed that take into consideration all available information. They will be used to infer the most likely fuel cycle operation scenarios given the available data. This in turn will lead to fissile material production estimates. Uncertainties must be quantified. For this purpose, fuel cycle simulation codes will need to be advanced. Two key challenges will be that the documentation a state would provide to inspectors will likely not provide the full fuel cycle history in detail, and some parts may potentially be false. Therefore, measures to check the various sources of information for consistency and plausibility must be developed.
While the focus of the position is on research, you will to a limited extent be involved with teaching on topics related to your research, as well as with assisting in the supervision of students writing their theses.
What we offer
The successful applicant will be employed as a public servant. The salary corresponds to 100% of a EG 13 TV-L position.
This is a full-time position for two years. The possibility of an extension will depend on satisfactory performance and the availability of funding.
We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral research associate with excellent scientific skills. You are excited to work within an interdisciplinary and young research team, and to apply your technical skills to help make progress on international peace and security. You are ready to apply your capabilities and commitment as a team-player to contribute to shaping a young research group, while working with the support of experienced faculty members.
A prerequisite is a doctoral degree in physics or another relevant field with an excellent record. Applicants who will have their degree in hand at the time of the appointment can apply. Very good English skills, or very good German and good English skills are required. Programming skills (e.g. C++) are also required. Further, knowledge in a selection of the following areas is desirable (others can be obtained on the job):
The position is to be filled as soon as possible, applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This call will remain open until a suited candidate is found.
We particularly welcome and encourage applications from women, disabled persons and ethnic minority groups, recognizing they are underrepresented across RWTH Aachen University.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with Prof. Malte Göttsche (firstname.lastname@example.org). To apply, please send a letter of motivation, a CV and your academic transcripts/records electronically to Prof. Göttsche. Please also request two letters of recommendation, which the recommenders shall send directly. Applications can be submitted in German or English.