We are currently not hiring a project-specific postdoc but strongly encourage prize postdoctoral fellows to join us! In our team, you'll be part of an exciting, bleeding edge research team that promotes out-of-the-box thinking (just look at our Publications!). You'll of course also be part of the Department of Astronomy at Columbia University, one of the top 20 universities in the world too and free to work with anyone across a diverse range of research interests. New York City is one of the most amazing places to live, full of life, vibrancy and culture. Here you'll also be able to work with scientists across the New York area, such as the Flatiron Institute, NYU, CUNY, Stony Brook and the American Museum of Natural History. Feel free to reach out any time to Professor Kipping to learn more.
Generally, we enthusiastically support strong applicants to conduct PhD research at the Cool Worlds Lab. However, we do not and cannot accept applications to work as a PhD student with the Cool Worlds Lab or Prof David Kipping directly. Prospective students should apply to Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
Details on the Department of Astronomy's graduate program are described here, but we briefly point out some relevant details in what follows. Enrolled graduate students complete two one-year research projects plus classes in their first two years, which is nominally followed by three years of thesis research. The first two one-year projects are with different faculty advisors and we recommend students pick two distinct research fields to provide broad exposure.
Typically, it would be during one of these two years that students interested in working on exoplanets would join the Cool Worlds Lab. Suitability for continuation to thesis work is usually decided by students, advisor and faculty.
A frequent pair of inquiries are i) will Prof Kipping be accepting new graduate students next year? ii) what research could I work on as part of Cool Worlds? For i), the answer is "likely yes" for Fall 2024. For ii), the best way to see what kind of research you might undertake with us is too look through our recent publications!
The Cool Worlds Lab features an on-going and active undergraduate research component. During the summers, we typically invite up to three students to work on a small research project under the mentorship of Prof Kipping or a senior member of the group.
Funding for these positions has historically come from the Department of Astronomy, Barnard Summer Research Institute (SRI), or grants active within the Cool Worlds Lab. The former two require the undergraduate student to directly apply to.
Undergraduates interested in the third option should contact Prof Kipping and describe 1) your major/institution 2) your research interests 3) any relevant past experience/classes and 4) an academic reference contact name and email address. Experience with coding is particularly helpful and some Python starting materials can be found down below (keep scrolling)! Please be aware that we receive far more requests for undergraduate research than we have opportunities! Priority is given the Columbia astronomy majors.
In addition, we are excited to announce that that applications are now being accepted to our 2023 CURE (Cool worlds Undergraduate Research Experience) position. The program aims to increase participation of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in exoplanetary research. This is a 10-week summer research opportunity funded from the Cool Worlds Lab directly. Applications for Summer 2023 are open with a deadline to apply by March 31st. To apply, please contact Prof Kipping directly with "CURE Application" in the subject line outlining 1) your background (classes/GPA) 2) your research interests and 3) any relevant past experience. Past experience is not a requirement, but helpful. Please be aware that in 2022 there were ~60 Columbia undergraduates looking for astronomy research projects and there are only ~15 faculty, hence we are rarely able to accommodate applications from outside of Columbia/Barnard! Feel free to inquire with any questions.
high school students
Unfortunately, we are not currently accepting applications from high school students.
Python is the most common coding language used by astronomers, but it's often not taught to students in class. Below, we provide some links to Python bootcamps/resources to get started!
"Python for Astronomers, 3rd Edition" by Imad Pasha & Chris Agostino. Free textbook and interactive tutorials.
Code/Astro week-long archived workshop from 6/2021 led by Sarah Blunt, BJ Fulton & Jason Wang, including GitHub management
Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Astrophysics bootcamp, organized by Peter Melchior
Lecture-based bootcamp for Linux/terminal/coding by James Johnson, Ohio State University