Recruiting summer trainees for 2021

The UH Space Physics Group is recruiting summer trainees! Trainees will work with the space weather simulation Vlasiator and with projects investigating solar eruptions in the corona and interplanetary space. Both projects dealing with modelling and data analysis are possible. Experience with Python and basics of plasma physics are a plus, but not required. Most positions provide an excellent topic for BSc or MSc theses!

A short overview of some of our offered topics are listed below, full descriptions and staff members who can answer your questions can be found in our thesis section. Please indicate in your application which projects you are interested in and any preference between modelling, observations/data analysis or theory. Also, please indicate if you would like to do your BSc or MSc work based on your summer trainee work.

Please apply for these positions through the University of Helsinki Department of Physics summer trainee application system! The system opens on 11.1. and the deadline for applications is 1.2.2021.

  • Numerical analysis of Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere
    Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere into the upper atmosphere is responsible not only for auroral emissions, but also for spacecraft charging and disruption of radio signals. It can be studied using the Vlasiator global kinetic model and compared with an empirical model which is a function of geomagnetic activity. Familiarity with Python is desired.
  • Hamiltonian approach to wave-particle interactions of relativistic electrons
    The Earth’s radiation belts are the site of acceleration of relativistic electrons. This project will use Hamiltonian theoretical and numerical tools to quantify the energisation of electrons. This project is suitable for a student of theoretical physics or applied mathematics.
  • Identifying Moving Radio Sources Associated with Solar Storms Using Radio Observations and Modelling of Magnetic Fields
    This project combines radio observations from ground-based facilitates and UH space physics teams advanced coronal models to study emission mechanisms and origins of radio bursts in solar eruptions. The work will be done most in Python. Training will be provided to use the required tools.
  • Investigating wave activity caused by solar storms in near-Earth space
    Solar storms are the main drivers of disturbed space weather at Earth. They create large disturbances in near-Earth space, including intense wave activity. This project will investigate how large-amplitude disturbances found within solar storms transmit into the Earth’s magnetosphere. The work will be based on the analysis of spacecraft and ground-based measurements to study the response of near-Earth space from multiple viewpoints.
  • Coronal Mass Ejection parameter investigation with EUHFORIA
    Modelling Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) is key for space weather research. UH is actively engaged in the development of a novel European space weather tool named EUHFORIA. For this project, the Trainee will focus in constraining CME modelling parameters by understanding how they affect the model output. The Trainee will learn Python programming as well as how to use modelling tools
  • Solar Energetic Particle properties in relation to Interplanetary conditions
    Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) are key players in space weather related phenomena. The Trainee will investigate the observational features of strong (> 30 MeV) and extreme (> 300 MeV) SEP, as well as widespread SEP, and how they relate to different IMF conditions. During the training period the Trainee will learn how to interpret observational properties of SEP and solar related phenomena. Programming in Python will be a skill developed during this process.
  • The importance of pre- versus post-eruption flux in solar eruptions
    Solar flares and filament eruptions are the sources of Coronal Mass Ejections. In both eruptive events pre-existing flux and post-eruption reconnection flux are considered to be the contributors to the released magnetic flux in the CME. However, it is still not well established to what extent reconnection-based flux contributes, especially in filament eruptions. To investigate this the Summer Trainee will identify a sample of Coronal Mass Ejections associated to either of these eruptions, estimate their reconnection flux and pre-existing flux, and analyse the results. Programming in Python will be a skill developed during this process.
  • Multi-wavelength analysis of solar eruption source regions
    The nearest star to our planet, the Sun exhibits all sorts of small-scale eruptions and large-scale explosions in various wavelengths. The signatures of these emissions can be seen throughout the electromagnetic (EM) spectra. The most intense outbursts on the Sun are known as Coronal mass ejections (CMEs).  The aim of this project is to work on identifying the source region and the emission mechanism of these eruptions in radio wavelengths, and associated phenomena in other wavelengths.
  • Identifying high-intensity space weather events for simulation validation
    The Vlasiator group is starting a new investigation into the largest space weather event in the measured history, the so-called Carrington event. We have an opening for a trainee to identify high-intensity space physics data sets using all possible sources including spacecraft and ground-based facilities. Several identified events shall be simulated using the most accurate space environment simulation in the world, Vlasiator, to validate output against measurements.
  • Investigation of Helium ions near magnetopause reconnection
    Helium and other heavy ions can be detected in space and participating in many plasma physics phenomena, but low statistics have hindered in-depth investigations. This project will investigate the role of He²+ at magnetopause reconnection through Vlasiator simulations and spacecraft observations.
  • Flux Transfer Events and their interaction with Earth’s polar cusps
    When the interplanetary magnetic field is southward, it can interact with the Earth’s dipole field in bursty phenomena called Flux Transfer Events (FTEs). The goal of this project is to understand and quantify the process of FTE-cusp interaction from global kinetic simulation data, and to compare to satellite and ground-based observations as well as theory.
  • Modelling solar eruptions from birth to lift-off
    Coronal mass ejections are large-scale solar coronal structures that eventually violently erupt from the Sun. In this project, a time-dependent model using responsible for generating the eruptive structures in the corona will be used to study the formation of solar eruptions and their magnetic fields.
    The project involves using Python-based simulation software, 3D data visualization and/or inversion methods of remote-sensing solar observations depending on the interest of the candidate.

Job opportunity: GPU-programmer for scientific computing

The Space Physics Group at the Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, is a leading European research group specialised in numerical modelling of space plasmas using high-performance computing. We develop Vlasiator, massively hybrid-parallelized simulation in order to investigate the near-Earth space. We are now looking to hire a GPU-programmer to join our team in a software engineer position.

We are looking for a person to participate in porting existing numerical algorithms to a GPU-processing environment. Required main skills are C++, CUDA/HIP development, experience of working in a HPC environment, and the capability to work as a member of a development team. In-depth familiarity with MPI-parallelisation and OpenMP-threading is appreciated. We use git for version control with forked feature branch workflows. We use Github, Flowdock (a Slack-type messaging system), and Zoom for development handling and interaction. The initial phase of the designated task will include refactoring the code and memory management to fully exploit the capabilities of next-generation (pre-exascale and even exascale) heterogeneous computing architectures. As a member of our development team, you will be able to work with the world’s fastest supercomputers, such as LUMI, managed by CSC (https://www.lumi-supercomputer.eu/)! Your code contributions will be included in the public Vlasiator repository, distributed with a GPL-2 license.

Tell us of your experience and why you want to be a part of applying cutting-edge technologies to scientific space studies! Please send us a portfolio with past coding projects, CUDA/HIP/HPC experience, and feel free to include links to any public repositories you have authored or made major contributions to.

Position: full-time, fixed-term, 3-year position beginning early 2021.

Salary is negotiable. We probably cannot offer as much as the top-notch companies, however, we are a highly innovative, high-spirited and flexible team with a strong focus on work wellbeing and personal growth.
Work environment: The Vlasiator team is currently at 15 people and continuously recruiting due to successful grants. The team is highly international with English as the main working language. Remote working is mandatory during the pandemic and can be arranged afterwards as well.

The deadline for applications is 6.1.2021.

For more information, please visit:
http://helsinki.fi/vlasiator
fmihpc/vlasiator: Vlasiator – ten letters you can count on on GitHub

For specifics about the position, contact Professor Minna Palmroth (minna.palmroth(at)helsinki.fi) or the Vlasiator lead developer Urs Ganse (urs.ganse(at)helsinki.fi). Interested candidates should send their informal application, CV, and code development portfolio to Minna.Palmroth(at)helsinki.fi.

Looking for summer trainees!

The UH Space Physics Group is looking for several summer trainees! Summer trainees will work with space weather simulation Vlasiator and with the projects investigating solar eruptions in the corona and interplanetary space. Both projects dealing with modelling and data analysis are possible. Experience with Python and basics of plasma physics are a plus, but not required. Summer trainee positions offer an excellent chance also for BSc and MSc theses!

A short overview of some of our offered topics are listed below, full descriptions and staff members who can answer your questions can be found in our thesis section. You may indicate in your application what project/which projects you would in particular be interested in and whether you have any preference between modelling, observations/data analysis or theory. Also, please indicate if you would like to do your BSc or MSc work based on your summer trainee work.

Please apply for these positions through the Department of Physics summer trainee application system!

  • Exploring Properties of Solar Storms Using Radio Observations and Modelling of Magnetic Fields
    This project combines radio observations from ground-based facilitates and UH space physics teams advanced coronal models to study emission mechanisms and origin of radio burst in solar eruptions. The work will be done most in Python. Training will be provided to use the required tools.
  • Energy transfer at the Magnetopause
    The magnetopause separates the Earth’s magnetosphere from interplanetary space. Magnetospheric dynamics such as auroras are driven by energy transferred from the solar wind. This project will utilise Vlasiator to develop a method for magnetopause detection and perform analysis of energy transfer at the magnetopause as a function of driving conditions. Knowledge of Python is recommended.
  • Turbulent fluctuations in CME-driven sheath regions
    This project studies properties of the turbulence in sheaths regions driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CME sheaths are major cause of ‘space weather’ at the Earth. The project will involve a mix of data analysis and theory, some background knowledge of basic plasma physics would be useful but not essential.
  • Magnetic structures at the Earth’s bow shock
    Plasma shock waves can accelerate particles to very high energies. This project will use the four MMS spacecraft to study the structure and properties of SLAMS (short large amplitude magnetic structures) at the Earth’s bow shock. Results will be compared with Vlasiator simulations of the bow shock and SLAMS that form there. Knowledge of python and/or matlab is preferred.
  • Space weather modelling with EUHFORIA
    UH is actively engaged in the development of a novel European space weather tool named EUHFORIA. This project conducts runs with EUHFORIA, in particular with its flux rope module, and assess the accuracy of the space weather predictions. The work includes running the model and analysis of the output. Some experience with coding is desired, e.g. in Python.
  • Numerical analysis of Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere
    Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere into the upper atmosphere is responsible not only for auroral emissions, but also for spacecraft charging and disruption of radio signals. It can be studied using the Vlasiator global kinetic model and compared with an empirical model which is a function of geomagnetic activity. Familiarity with Python is desired.
  • Heliospheric Shock Database
    The Heliospheric Shock Database developed and maintained at the University of Helsinki is a comprehensive database of interplanetary shock database with user-friendly search and data download options. The thesis work is related to the development database, in particular related to its Machine Learning code and conducting an analysis of shock properties. Some knowledge of machine learning, programming, and/or basic plasma physics would be useful but not essential.
  • Programming a new energetic particle acceleration model
    Are you good at programming in C++? Interested in GPU coding? We have an opportunity to develop a new prototype solar energetic particle acceleration simulation tool. Knowledge of plasma and space physics is not required, but excellent coding skills are.
  • Magnetospheric wave activity driven by interplanetary shocks
    Interplanetary shocks cause important space weather effects in near-Earth space and create intense wave activity in the magnetosphere. This Master’s project will characterise the waves generated by interplanetary shocks as a function of the driver’s properties. Measurements will be retrieved from the Heliospheric Shock Database and data repositories of ground-based magnetometers.
  • Particle reflection at a quasi-perpendicular plasma shock
    At a space plasma shock wave, a portion of the incoming supersonic ions are reflected back upstream. This process of ion reflection is the main source of the energy transfer from kinetic to thermal energy. This project consists of analyzing simulation results from the Vlasiator model in a region of the shock which is largely unexplored in Vlasiator.
  • Hamiltonian approach to wave-particle interactions of relativistic electrons
    The Earth’s radiation belts are the site of acceleration of relativistic electrons. This project will use Hamiltonian theoretical and numerical tools to quantify the energisation of electrons. This project is suitable for a student of theoretical physics or applied mathematics.
  • Flux Transfer Events and their interaction with Earth’s polar cusps
    When the interplanetary magnetic field is southward, it can interact with the Earth’s dipole field in bursty phenomena called Flux Transfer Events (FTEs). The goal of this project is to understand and quantify the process of FTE-cusp interaction from global kinetic simulation data, and to compare to satellite and ground-based observations as well as theory.
  • Quantitative analysis of resolution effects in Vlasiator
    This project will compare low and high resolution Vlasiator simulations of a plasma shock to validate the level of kinetic physics resolved at each resolution.

Visiting the Space Physics groups for vocational secondary school training

During the first week of October, Werner Karjalainen from the secondary school Helsingin yhteislyseo visited the space research groups, learning what constitutes a weeks work for a space physicist. He wrote a report of his experiences – read it below!

From left to right: Andreas (helped with spacecraft trajectory analysis), Markus (supervised the week), Werner, Yann, Diana, Lucile, and Urs

Hi, I’m Werner Karjalainen from 9th grade, and I was one week at the University of Helsinki at work practice program in the fall of 2019. During my week in the Space Physics team at the University of Helsinki, I interviewed 6 researchers: Urs Ganse, Emilia Kilpua, Yann Pfau-Kempf, Lucile Turc, Diana Morosan and Adnan Osmane.

I found out that there are three research groups. Adnan’s research group researches Earth’s radiation belts. Emilia’s group focuses on solar eruptions and coronal mass ejections. Vlasiator group researches high performance computing simulations of the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Researchers in one group work together with the same research project. Even though they work with same research in group, still almost everyone wants to find out something else than others. For example Urs wants to know that what are the plasma waves like and Lucile wants to find out that what creates plasma waves at near earth space even though they are in same research group.

Many of them said that their work has not been used commercially. However, Urs said that even though his work has not been used commercially, his simulations have been used at making of fusion reactors. Adnan also told that he will be working on upcoming years on propabilities and information theory that have commercial applications.

Many of them became researchers, because they liked learning and discovering new things. They all have of course studied physics at the university. Emilia’s case was interesting: She had just a summer job at the Space Physics team but after the summer she stayed and continued working there.

Why to become a researcher? Because it’s fun and interesting and you can make your own time schedule, you can be a part of larger space research, it can be challenging and you have a lot freedom to research. They really like their jobs and many of them like that they can work whenever they want and there is good atmosphere in the research group. Urs said that it feels like his job is from the future.

Negative things about job is that they have to apply for funding and there are only a few jobs at research in general and when you get higher up there are lots of administrative work.

Researching is interesting, even too interesting. Emilia said that there are so much interesting things to do that there isn’t enough time for everything. Lucile said that she can’t sometimes get her mind stop thinking about her work because it’s so interesting.

In addition to the interviewing I did, one day I studied the trajectories of the satellites Cluster and Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) based on calculations of where they would be at a given time. I tried to find when those satellites were in conjunction at the Earth’s bow shock. I searched for it from trajectory pictures. So I tried to find good times for the satellites to collect extra “burst mode” data. Thanks to me those satellites will collect additional data for 2 hours and they might find something interesting.

Predicted spacecraft trajectories used for finding potential burst mode data segments

JOB OPENINGS: Postdoctoral Fellow Positions at the University of Helsinki, Space Physics Group, Finland

The Space Physics Group at the University of Helsinki, Department of Physics, is a leading research group specialised both in observations and modelling of space plasmas. We develop the unique global hybrid-Vlasov simulation Vlasiator to investigate the near-Earth space in ion kinetic scales utilising hybrid-Vlasov methods.

We are now opening several postdoctoral fellow positions funded through a European Research Council Consolidator grant, and the Academy of Finland. The positions are focussed on both developing Vlasiator as well as utilising it in investigating kinetic plasma processes (magnetic reconnection and shocks), and coupling with the ionosphere; both from electron and ion perspectives. The applicant should have a PhD in space physics or other relevant field. Other useful skills include: using/developing numerical simulations, Python, C++, data analysis, supercomputer environments.

We are a highly dynamic and international research group, working together as a team in a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere. The selected fellows will have excellent opportunities to network and to develop as a researcher. The 2-year positions are available immediately. The deadline for applications is 18.10.2019.

For more information, please visit:
http://helsinki.fi/vlasiator
http://blogs.helsinki.fi/spacephysics/
https://www.helsinki.fi/sustainable-space

For specifics about the positions, contact Professor Minna Palmroth (minna.palmroth’at’helsinki.fi). Interested candidates should send their informal application, CV, list of publications, and a maximum of three names to act as references to Mila.Hyytinen’at’helsinki.fi, and cc: Minna.Palmroth’at’helsinki.fi.

JOB OPENING: A Postdoctoral Fellow Position

JOB OPENING: A Postdoctoral Fellow Position in Space Physics Group at the Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland
 
The Space Physics Group at the Department of Physics is a leading European space physics group specialised both in observations and modelling of space plasmas. We develop the novel global hybrid-Vlasov simulation Vlasiator to investigate the near-Earth space in ion kinetic scales utilising hybrid-Vlasov methods.

We are now opening a postdoctoral fellow position. The postdoctoral fellow will focus on developing Vlasiator and modeling space plasmas. Prior knowledge in the following areas is required: high-performance computing, supercomputer environments, parallelisation algorithms, version control, C++. Other useful skills include: Python, plasma physics, adaptive mesh refinement. 

We offer a position in a dynamic and international research group, with a possibility to network and to develop as a researcher. The 2-year position is available immediately. The deadline for applications is 31.3.2019.
 
For more information, please visit:

 

For specifics about the position, contact Professor Minna Palmroth (minna.palmroth(at)helsinki.fi). Interested candidates should send their informal application, CV, list of publications, and a maximum of three names to act as references to Hanna.Partio(at)helsinki.fi, and cc: Minna.Palmroth(at)helsinki.fi.