California Institute of Technology, Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics

Position ID:California Institute of Technology-Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics-HSF [#19715]
Position Title: Postdoctoral Scholar
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Pasadena, California 91125, United States
Subject Areas: String Theory and Mathematical Physics
Theoretical Physics / Theoretical particle physics
Gravitational Physics
Astrophysics / Astrophysics and Gravitational Physics
Quantum Gravity
Appl Deadline:2021/12/01 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2021/09/22, finished 2022/03/02, listed until 2022/03/22)
Position Description:    

*** The account for Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology has expired and new applications are no longer accepted. ***

The Heising-Simons Collaboration on "Observational Signatures of Quantum Gravity" invites postdoctoral applications for up to five Heising-Simons Fellows in Quantum Gravity, to begin around September 1, 2022.

The goal of this collaboration is to bring together theorists from diverse backgrounds to develop theoretically well-founded proposals of quantum gravity and explore their possible observational signatures. We believe that connecting formal advances in quantum gravity to the natural world we live in could result in a true breakthrough. We therefore seek a paradigm shift that brings theory and observation together, helping to close the chasm between quantum mechanics and gravity. We will tackle foundational issues, effective descriptions, and observational tests of those effective descriptions. We are committed to inclusive excellence and innovation and thus hope to develop a diverse and thriving collaborative community.

This Collaboration uniquely brings together diverse faculty at four Hub institutions:

Yanbei Chen (Caltech) Ben Freivogel (University of Amsterdam) Steve Giddings (University of California, Santa Barbara) Cynthia Keeler (Arizona State University) Maulik Parikh (Arizona State University) Erik Verlinde (University of Amsterdam) Kathryn Zurek (Caltech).

Our research interests span quantum gravity, particle theory, string theory, gravitational waves, and astrophysics. The collaboration will feature extended visits between the collaboration hubs, and yearly workshops of all collaboration members to discuss open research questions and progress. To learn more about the collaboration visit

The ideal candidate will have technical skills to work in gravity and will be interested in exploring new questions related to possible observability of quantum effects in gravity, manifested in laboratory experiments such as interferometers, cosmological observation, or observation of astrophysical objects such as black holes e.g. via gravitational waves. The appointment requires completion of a PhD and is expected to start as early as September 2022 with competitive compensation and significant research travel support. The initial appointment will be for one year with expected renewal for two additional years. in rare cases the appointment might be extended to a fourth year.

The Qurios Collaboration at Caltech also operates within the vibrant theory community of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics at Caltech; for more information, see and

Application Process

We invite interested researchers to submit separate applications via AJO to each individual Collaboration Hub institution (Amsterdam, Arizona State, Caltech, Santa Barbara) by December 1, 2021 for full consideration. Links to all advertisements at hub institutions can be found at A complete application includes a cover letter, CV, publication list, short statement of past and future research and three letters of reference. Ideally the cover letter (maximum one page) will address the candidate’s creative problem solving ability, technical background, interest in exploring new directions, and collaborative skills. Hiring decisions will be coordinated by the Collaboration, though offers will be extended from individual institutions. Fellows may also specify their preferences of institutions in the cover letter, and some Fellows will have the opportunity to be jointly appointed at more than one institution over the period of the Fellowship.

Please address any science questions to Dr. Kathryn Zurek (, or other collaboration members, and any administrative questions to Carol Silberstein,

Caltech is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. Click here to read more about Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). Caltech is committed to working with and providing access and reasonable accommodations to applicants with physical or mental disabilities. To request disability accommodations for any part of the interview or hiring process, please contact 626-395-6685 for assistance or contact Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
email address
Caltech 452-48
1200 E. California Bl.
Pasadena CA 91125-4800