PhD opening – silicates

Characterization of the supercritical state of major rock-forming silicate minerals by ab initio molecular dynamics simulations and implications for the evolution of the protolunar disk


PhD opening – starting September 2019

Lyon, France – ERC IMPACT group


One PhD opening is available for the IMPACT ERC project based in Lyon, France, starting with September 1st, 2019.

The position is to study the behavior of major rock-forming minerals during the Giant Impact. The aim of the doctoral work is to determine the physical properties and the chemical behavior of the corresponding mineral melts at conditions characteristic to the Giant Impact. For this, the successful candidate will use ab initio molecular-dynamics simulations. He/she will compute the equations of state of the liquid, gas and supercritical states, position the supercritical points and/or surfaces, determine the chemical speciation in the fluids, and predict isotope partitioning factors.

IMPACT aims to retrace the thermodynamic path of the condensation of the protolunar disk, to bring physical and chemical constraints on the impact model, and to characterize the formation of the Moon and of the Earth.

A master degree in Earth sciences, solid-state physics and/or chemistry or materials science is preferred. Computing skills are highly appreciated. Proficiency in written and spoken English is mandatory. He/she will be financed and be part of the Impact group funded by the European Research Council (a bit of information is at: The group is hosted in the brand new offices of the Centre Blaise Pascal, the broad numerical and computing center at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, which is a small but elite institution. The PhD program in France takes 36 months.

The application should be addressed to Dr. Razvan Caracas using the CNRS recruitment portal. The package will include CV, names of references, motivation letter, including specific interests and prior experience in areas related to mineral physics. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. A competitive package of salary and employee benefits is offered.


MoonImpact is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement n°681818). PI: Razvan Caracas @ CNRS, ENS de Lyon
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