Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science (TAPS)

Open Positions

We are always interested in new candidates for Bachelor or Master theses as well as PhD projects. Please contact us in case you are interested in general or in one of the suggested research topics or if you have your own ideas.

We are currently offering positions on the following research topics:


Giant planets may from from the direct self-gravitational fragmentation of the protoplanetary disk, i.e. the disk of gas and dust surrounding a newborn star.

Bound clumps, as potential predecessors of giant planets form when young, massive protoplanetary discs fragment under their own gravity. These objects are extended and have densities much lower than the gas giant planets in the solar system. The fates of clumps embedded in discs are still uncertain. In order to study them, the results of evolutionary calculations of isolated clumps could be used.

The idea of this project is to try to fit the radial density profiles from such simulations with polytropes of varying index, e.g. using python scripts. Polytropes are a special class of analytical density and pressure structures that describe the interior of a self-gravitating clump of gas. This should allow the compilation of a library that allows accessing clump properties for a large range of masses and ages.

During their growth in the protoplanetary disk, planets exchange angular momentum with the disk gas, leading to orbital migration, i.e. a radial movement towards or away from the host star. Modern theoretical models for protoplanetary disks predict that in the inner- and the outermost regions, the disks are turbulent, but that they are laminar in between. In this work we simulate the orbital migration of planets for different prescriptions for these turbulence transitions. We study potential traps where planets can get caught and study how the migration rate and direction depends on the way the turbulence transitions are modelled. We also compare with the observed orbital period distribution of the extrasolar planets.


There are currently no suggested topics for Master theses.


There are currently no open PhD positions.