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Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Whiteknights Reading UK

Job reference: SRF31914 - R

Location: Whiteknights Reading UK

Closing date: 23/07/2020

Job live date: 25/06/2020

Salary: £30,942 to £36,914 per annum

Employment type: AR-Research

Department: School of Mathematical Physical & Computational Sciences

Division: Meteorology

Hours per week: 1.00 FTE

Employment Basis/Type: Full-time, Fixed-term

We are looking to recruit a postdoctoral research assistant to investigate the aerodynamics of ice particles in the atmosphere, using 3D-printed analogues. This is part of a project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. 

You will build on work pioneered here at Reading. Real snowflakes are complex three-dimensional structures, and we know very little about the aerodynamics of such particles. Unfortunately, field experiments in natural snowfall are fraught with practical difficulties. To overcome this problem, we have fabricated “snowflake analogues” using 3D printing techniques, allowing us to produce complex, intricate three dimensional geometries of the kind observed in the atmosphere, and to study their aerodynamics in a series of systematic, controlled laboratory experiments, without the particles melting, evaporating or fragmenting. Experiments have already been conducted using scaled-up models falling in liquids (exploiting dynamic similarity), and initial analysis has tested these data against existing parameterisations. 

For further information, see preprint (, blog post ( and media coverage (


The post-holder can expect to contribute work towards some or all of the following activities:

Data analysis: use of existing experimental data sets to improve the representation of ice sedimentation and growth processes in numerical models and remote sensing algorithms


Experimental work: working with colleagues at the University of Leeds to assist with the collection of Particle Imaging Velocimetry data, and contributing to new experiments observing the free-fall of micromachined snowflake analogues in air and a vertical wind tunnel


Collaboration with modellers and project partners: the post-holder will collaborate with partners in Switzerland, Germany and the UK


It is expected that the post-holder will publish their results in peer-reviewed journal articles and present their work at suitable conferences/meetings.

You will have:

  • A PhD (or expectation that one will soon be awarded) in a physical, mathematical or engineering science
  • Research experience in analysis of data to gain insight into physical problems, ideally with a cloud-physics or fluid-dynamics focus
  • Programming and data analysis skills in MATLAB, Python, IDL or other scientific programming language/environment
  • A willingness to learn new skills, and to collaborate with others to achieve your aims


Informal contact details

Contact role: Principal investigator

Contact name:  Dr. Chris Westbrook 

Contact phone: (+44) 0118 378 5570

Contact email:


Interview date to be confirmed.


The University is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce, supports the gender equality Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter, and is a Diversity Champion for Stonewall, the leading LGBT+ rights organisation.  Applications for job-share, part-time and flexible working arrangements are welcomed and will be considered in line with business needs.


The closing date for this job has now passed.


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