Planet MARS: seven PhDs in Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geodynamics

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Department of Earth Sciences seeks to appoint 7 PhD candidates to work on a broad range of topics on Mars.

Project background

The aim of the Planet MARS project is to investigate and characterize the nature of Mars’ interior structure and dynamics using a broad range of observations as well as   theoretical, numerical, and experimental approaches. This ETH-funded project builds upon the successful landing and acquisition of data from the NASA Mars InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) lander. InSight is the first robotic explorer to study crust, mantle, and core of Mars with the goal of answering key questions about the early formation of the inner solar system rocky planets and exoplanets. InSight also measures tectonic activity and meteorite impacts on Mars today. Considering the scale and breadth of the scientific challenge, Planet MARS proposes an integrated, fully comprehensive approach joining exploration geophysicists, geodynamicists, experimental petrologists, mineral physicists, volcanologists, geochemists, and numerical and observational seismologists in a unique collaborative framework.

The seven foreseen projects are

  1. Single-station seismology on Mars (J. Clinton)
  2. Magma reservoirs on Mars: Controls on differentiation processes and crust formation (O. Bachmann)
  3. Elasticity of a hydrous Martian mantle (M. Murakami)
  4. Fractional crystallization of the Martian magma ocean (M. Schmidt)
  5. The accretion history of Mars (M. Schönbächler)
  6. Seismic resolution of the Martian crust (S. Stähler)
  7. Joint structural inversion of the Martian mantle and core (A. Khan and J. Noir)

Job description

The research to be carried out represents a cross-disciplinary effort involving nine groups at ETH: Seismology and Geodynamics (Prof. D. Giardini), Exploration and Environmental Geophysics (Prof. J. Robertsson), Earth and Planetary Magnetism (Prof. A. Jackson), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (Prof. P. Tackley), the Swiss Seismological Service (Prof. S. Wiemer), High Pressure Petrology (Prof. M. Schmidt), Experimental Mineral Physics (Prof. M. Murakami), Planetary Geochemistry (Prof. M. Schönbächler) and Magmatic Petrology and Volcanology (Prof. O. Bachmann).

Your profile

We are looking for exceptional candidates with a MSc in Earth science or an equivalent degree in natural sciences (Math, Physics, Chemistry), a strong background and interest in numerical and theoretical geophysics, seismology, experimental petrology, mineral physics, geochemistry, and volcanology. We expect the candidates to be proficient in written and spoken English.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We look forward to receiving your online application including a CV, statement of research interests, course grades and transcripts, and the names and contacts addresses of two referees. The selection process starts now and will continue until the positions are filled. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through the ETH online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information on the Earth Science Department, please visit our website Questions regarding the Planet MARS project and the positions should be directed to Dr. Amir Khan, or Dr. Simon Stähler, (no applications). Please quote ‘Planet MARS PhD Position’ in the subject of any email correspondence concerning this position.

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