Currently Accepting Applications

Postdoctoral Opportunity

Postdoctoral position on modeling the fate of volatile elements during accretion and early differentiation of rocky planets

The CLEVER Planets (Cycles of Life-Essential Volatile Elements in Rocky Planets) team and Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University are seeking applicants for a postdoctoral scholar position who would explore dynamical and geochemical fingerprints of accretion and magma ocean processes, searching for conditions of producing thermo-chemically habitable rocky planets. The focus will be tracking the fate of life-essential volatile elements, C, N, H, and S in our Solar System and other exoplanetary systems from the protoplanetary disk to the end of magma ocean stage via dynamical and geochemical modeling. The contract will be initially for 1 year and is renewable for up to 3 years based on progress and performance. The salary would commensurate with experience. The position will be based out of Rice University but the post-doctoral candidate will also have the opportunity to interact with astrophysicist and planetary scientist at UCLA and UC Davis and other team members and collaborators.

The post-doctoral scholar will work on modeling various stages of planet formation, tracking the evolution and fate of major volatile elements starting with the primitive, planetary building blocks. The candidate may work on

  • Modeling formation of rocky planetesimals and planetary embryos coupling disk dynamics and geochemical differentiation during accretion for our Solar System and other solar systems
  • Establishing a framework of volatile element distributions in rocky bodies for disk evolution and rocky planet formation with or without giant planet migration
  • Modeling the volatile budgets of rocky planets taking into account magma ocean, core, atmosphere fractionation, heterogeneous accretion, and impact-induced losses

The candidate will interact closely with the geochemists, planetary scientists, and astrophysicists in the team who are using laboratory experiments and numerical models to study disk dynamics, planetary assembly, and differentiation during accretion.

The candidates are required to have

  • Completed a doctoral degree in earth and planetary sciences, astrophysics, geophysics, or a related field at the time of the appointment;
  • A strong background in computation
  • Demonstrated effective written and verbal communication skills.

In addition, the ideal candidate should have

  • Experience with N-body simulation codes, various hydro codes for impact processes

Application materials: curriculum vitae with list of publications, a one-page statement of research interests and past research accomplishments, and contact information of at least 3 references. Complete application package should be sent as a single pdf file to

The start date is flexible and the position will remain open until filled. Send your questions to Prof. Rajdeep Dasgupta (

The CLEVER Planets ( consists of an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional group of scientists led by Prof. Rajdeep Dasgupta (, working to unravel the conditions of planetary habitability in the Solar System and other exoplanetary systems. The overarching theme of our research is to investigate the origin and cycles of life-essential elements in young rocky planets. Based on our understanding of our own solar system and habitable planet Earth, we plan to identify where habitable niches are most likely to occur, which planets are most likely to be habitable and when in their evolutionary history such conditions of habitability are most likely. We are supported by NASA and are one of teams in the Nexus of Exoplanetary Systems Science (NExSS) research coordination network.

The application Period has ended

Data Scientist

The Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Rice University seeks an experienced and innovative Data Scientist to build a new Data Science for the Earth initiative and enhance activities in the department’s VISUALIZATION LABORATORY. The candidate will be willing to cross disciplines and support the software and hardware needs of research in geophysics, climate science, remote sensing, and geochemistry provided domain knowledge from students and faculty. In addition to serving as research/visualization support, successful applicants pursue externally-funded research initiatives. Similarly, the candidate will be willing to actively learn new techniques that enhance departmental research. In particular, we view machine learning, advanced 3D visualization and mapping, Bayesian statistics, inverse modeling, and optimization as central to our department’s current and future computational needs. This position will collaborate with Rice’s GIS lab and Office of Information Technology to make use of Rice’s existing geospatial and high performance computing infrastructure.

For more information and to start an application click HERE

Essential Duties:

  • The candidate is expected to participate in the research activities of their advisor’s group and with other faculty members in the department
  • Conducts specialized research and experiments
  • Collects, tracks and analyzes data through the use of spreadsheets and databases
  • Communicates results through verbal presentations, written reports, and written articles submitted for publication in conjunction with PI
  • May assist in the administration of research project

Job Specific Functions:

  • Attends important scientific conferences to present research findings and disseminate knowledge to peers
  • With the PI and Research Scientist, enforces laboratory safety standards and protocols
  • Works with the PI to maximize the Visualization Center equipment usage
  • Mentors of graduate and undergraduate students
  • Reconciles expense reports
  • May be asked to present research to the department and grad students
  • Stays current on experimental techniques
  • Designs and assembles experimental apparatus
  • Procures required parts for apparatus
  • The Data Scientist has a high degree of autonomy and must be able to work effectively without close supervision; excellent oral and written communication skills for interacting with a diverse group of faculty, staff and students as well as vendor personnel and other non-Rice individuals is required

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