Doctoral Positions

Graduate student positions in

Theoretical astrophysics/planetary sciences

The Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science group (TAPS)* at the University of Bern has a number of PhD positions available for scientists interested in the physics of planet formation and evolution. This includes the physics both the solid and gaseous phases of proto-planetary disks, dynamical interactions between planets and disks and between planets, the physics of collisions, and the evolution of planets (internal and atmosphere).

Highly motivated candidates can inquire about these positions by contacting: 

Prof. W. Benz
University of Bern
Physikalisches Institut
Sidlerstrasse 5
CH-3012 Bern
E-mail:  wbenz (at)

*TAPS is a member of the newly established Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern -


PhD position at University of Bern: Participation in Luna-Resurs Mission

The upcoming Luna-Resurs mission of Roskosmos will land near the lunar south pole. With the Gas-Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) experiment, which is part of the scientific payload of the Luna-Resurs spacecraft, we will measure the chemical composition of the volatile material contained in the lunar soil to study the formation and evolution of the Moon. The group is part of the Space Science and Planetology division  ( of the Physics Institute.

The PhD position is for an experimentalist to participate in the development and calibration of the GC-MS instrument for the analysis of volatile material contained in soil samples of the Luna-Resurs lander. The goal of this PhD position is to provide detailed testing and calibration of the instrument qualification and flight models, detailed development of analysis procedures, planning of scientific operations on the lunar surface, and demonstrate the science capabilities by creating a test environment duplicating the conditions on the lunar surface. The nature of the work will be highly experimental, and will give the selected candidate the opportunity to learn about high-voltage electronics, high-speed signal processing, particle detectors, vacuum technology, hardware integration and handling for space flight, clean room operation, software development for scientific analysis and automated instrument operation.

The PhD student will be part of the international GC-MS team of the Luna-Resurs mission, participate in the international team meetings, and will closely collaborate with the colleagues at IKI, Moscow, Russia and LATMOS, France.

We are looking for a talented and motivated person who enjoys experimental physics in an interdisci-plinary environment. Experience with electronics, vacuum technique, chemical analysis, and mass spectrometry would be of advantage but is not required. Good English language skills are necessary, German language skills are an asset. Salary and employment conditions are according to regulations by the Swiss National Science Foundation. For further information on the position please contact Prof. Peter Wurz ( peter.wurz(at) or Dr. Lukas Hofer ( lukas.hofer(at)

Interested applicants should send their curriculum (including professional experience, if any), a one page motivation letter, the contact details of up to three reference persons, and the grades obtained at the Master level as PDF document to Prof. Peter Wurz ( peter.wurz(at) Applications should be sent until 31 January 2016. The starting date of the position is March 2016, but is negotiable.