Careers

Modern research in astrophysics involves a wide range of skills and methods. The activities of an astrophysicist can be quite diverse ; we list some below. A common thread is that research is an international, collaborative effort : all scientists at IPAG work with colleagues in other labs in France and abroad.

Observations : detecting astrophysical sources of radiation, from radio to very high energy gamma rays, studying their morphology, spectra, variability, polarisation. We observe light but also other "messengers" : gravitational waves, neutrinos, cosmic rays (charged particles). Telescopes collect ever increasing amounts of data that constantly challenge our ability to process, analyse, archive, and share them.

Instrumentation : is always at the edge of what can be done, pushing back the limits of feasibility, using the latest technologies. These instruments need to be conceived, designed, modelled, tested, integrated within the allocated time and budget, delivered with the appropriate analysis tools, upgraded, etc.

Models/Theory : aim to construct a representation of reality, limited to the aspects thought to be the most important to explain or predict observations. Numerical simulations play a major role by exploring complex models. Models rely on theory, which connects to the basic principles of physics. Observations and models can thus open up new fields in theory.

Experiments : some astrophysical processes can be reproduced in laboratory conditions, or measured in situ by space probes. Experimental data bring in key input to understand the synthesis of molecules on ice grains ; the reaction cross-section between atoms or molecules ; the composition of dust grains or meteorites ; etc.

The permanent staff at IPAG are civil servants, recruited through open competitions at the local or national level. They are employed either by CNRS or by the University. There are three types of positions for researchers : CNRS positions (directeur de recherche or chargé de recherche), University positions (professeur or maitre de conférence), CNAP positions (astronome or astronome-adjoint). These positions are open to foreigners : nearly 20% of CNRS scientists are foreign nationals. Knowledge of French is not needed to apply for a CNRS position. Some knowledge is mandatory for University and CNAP positions since these involve teaching. Come and join us !