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  • CV: Astrophysicist/Astronomer

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    Personal information
    Contact information
    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:23-08-2012
     Last Modified:06-09-2012 (04:51)
    Job information
     Current job:Astrophysicist/Astronomer
     Employment Term:Permanent
     Job location:Own country
     Date available:immediately
     Industry:Civil Agencies/International Organizations, Satellite Manufacturers and Subcontractors, Satellite Operators, , , Consulting/Engineering Services, Space Tourism
     KeywordsComputational Physics Computational Fluid Dynamics Ultraviolet Spectroscopy Astronomy Astrophysics Celestial Mechanics

    Current Position:

    Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Villanova University, Villanova, PA;


    Visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Henry Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.



    To be part of a team in which I can apply my skills in Computational Physics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Hydrodynamics, and/or Astrodynamics; be part of - and growth with - a group that leads the way in advanced Scientific Computing Applications and/or Space Technology.




    03/89-11/93 Doctor of Sciences in Physics, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

    Thesis: Investigation of the Boundary Layer problem by the Spectral Methods, Advisor: Prof. Giora Shaviv.


    09/86-02/89 Master of Sciences in Physics, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

    Thesis: The Equation Of State of a H/He and a C/O mixtures in high pressure/density conditions, by the LMTO Method;

    Advisors: Profs. Giora Shaviv & Joseph Ashkenazi.


    09/83-06/86 Bachelor of Physics, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


    02/83-09/83 Technion Preparatory Program for Pre-university studies.


    French Baccalauréat in Sciences with High Honours (mention “Bien”), and Highest Nonours (mention “Très Bien”) in Physics, Lycée Français, Jerusalem, Israel.

    Homologated by The City of Lyon (France).


    High School: Athénée Léon Lepage, Brussels, Belgium.



    Employment History (in reverse chronological order; NON-visiting)


    05/00 - Now: Villanova University, Villanova, PA.

    Position: Research Assistant Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Research: Gaseous disks around white dwarf in binary stars: theoretical and observational studies.

    Additional Duties: Substitute teacher in elementary & advanced classes of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Villanova University, and Supervision of students in their Astronomy projects.

    Plan, prepare & submit proposals for Theoretical & Observational Research Projects to NASA, NSF, and observatories.


    09/10 - 05/11 Part-time Teaching faculty at Towson University (MD),

    Teaching: General Astronomy, in the Department of Physics, Astronomy (1 course) & Geosciences (class course and lab).


    11/97 - 05/00: Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Baltimore, MD.

    Position: AURA Postdoct in the Science Division.

    Supervisor: Professor Mario Livio.

    Research: Numerical Modeling and Study of Vortices in the Protoplanetary Nebula and how they trigger the formation of Jovian planets.

    Additional Duty: Responsible for the “Stars Journal Club”.


    01/95 - 10/97: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA).

    Position: US NAS/NRC Postdoctoral Position.

    Supervisor: Dr. David Lawrence Meier.

    Research: Numerical Modeling and Study of Accretion Disks and MHD jets.


    12/93 - 01/95: Racah Institute of Physics, Jerusalem, Israel,

    & Oranim, University of Haifa, Israel.

    Position: Postdoct with Prof. N. Soker in the group of Prof. A. Dekel.

    Research: Optical filaments, global flows and magnetic fields in cluster cooling flows.


    Professional & Technical Skills


    I. Computational Physics

    • Expertise with Fourier and Chebyshev Spectral Methods to solve Partial Differential Equations (PDE) on computers. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): I have fully designed and developed several time-dependent two-dimensional hydrocodes in various geometries to study stellar envelope, planetary atmosphere and accretion disk, including the mathematical treatment of open non-reflective boundary conditions.

    • Use and applications of FFTs (Fast Fourier transforms), and Spectral Filters (exponential cutoff for aliasing errors and the Gibbs phenomenon).

    • Former Experience with the development of Multigrid Methods for finite difference solvers (Using the Full Approximation Storage).


    II. Coding and Computers

    • More than 20 years in designing and developing codes in FORTRAN.

    • Former experience using the Supercomputers CRAY (JPL/CALTECH CRAY Y-MP2E/232) and massively parallel machines (Caltech 512 node Paragon & HP/Convex SPP2000) and parallel coding using MPI (Message Passing Interface).

    • Operating Systems: UNIX, Linux, DOS, Windows.

    • Technical writing using TeX/LaTeX and knowledge of Microsoft Word.

    • Installing software packages such as CalFUSE, FORTRAN, graphics PG-PLOT, & xview under WINDOWS (XP, 7), Linux, & Unix.

    • Installing Cygwin-X on Windows XP & 7.

    • Installing Iraf (including STSDAS) on Windows XP & 7, via Cygwin-X.


    III. Data Manipulation: Retrieval, Processing, Analysis and Modeling

    • IRAF (Image Reduction and Analysis Facility), IDL (Interactive Data Language) softwares to process and manipulate astronomical data, including writing scripts (IRAF scripts, IDL routine, UNIX shell scripts, FORTRAN programs & graphic PGPLOT) to process spectroscopic data.

    • CALSTIS & CALFUSE astronomy calibration softwares to process data.

    • Synthetic Stellar Spectra code (I. Hubeny). This includes the FORTRAN programs: TLUSTY (v.203), SYNSPEC (v.49), ROTIN (v.4), DISKSYN, and IDL routines. This package generates synthetic Stellar Atmosphere Spectra and accretion disk spectra covering the UV and optical range.


    Professional Expertise & Research Interests


    • Computational Physics (to solve ODE & PDE, including graphics);

    • Computational Fluid Dynamics (using Spectral Methods) & Hydrodynamics (two-phase flows, instability and turbulence, viscosity, rotating flows, non-cartesian coordinates, non-reflective boundaries).

    • Theory and simulations of Accretion Disks and their Boundary Layers.

    • Far Ultraviolet Spectral Analysis and modeling of white dwarf stars and their accretion disks in cataclysmic binaries.

    • Celestial Mechanics & Astrodynamics.

    • Calculus of Variation & Classical Analytical Mechanics.



    Personal Information


    Country of Citizenship: USA

    Languages - Fluent: French, English, Hebrew; - Intermediate: Russian.

    Elementary knowledge of Flemish (Deutch), German & Turkish.



    List of References (in alphabetical order)


    • Dr. Paul E. Barrett, Astrometric Satellite Division, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC 20392, barrett.paul(at);

    • Professor Mario Livio, STScI, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218, mlivio(at);

    • Dr. Steve Lubow, STScI, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218, lubow(at);

    • Dr. David L. Meier, NASA/JPL, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109, david.l.meier(at);

    • Professor Emeritus Giora Shaviv, Dept. of Physics, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel (D.Sc. & M.Sc. Advisor), giora(at);

    • Professor Edward M. Sion, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova PA 19085, edward.sion(at);

    • Professor Paula Szkody, Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, szkody(at);



    Referee for the following journals: The Astrophysical Journal (IOP),


    The Astronomical Journal (IOP), Astronomy and Astrophysics (A European 4 Journal), Journal of Computational Physics (Elsevier, The Netherlands).


    Panelist in the following NASA Panels: Astrophysics Theory and Physics (ATP 2000), Origins of the Solar System (OSS 2004), Astrophysics Data Processing (ADP 2004), Long Term Space Astrophysics (LTSA 2004),

    Astrophysics Theory and Fundamental Physics (ATFP 2007), HST Cycle 19 (2011).


    Fellowships, Scholarships


    1986-1989: Special Technion’s Scholarship

    1989-1993: Special Technion’s Scholarship

    1995-1997: US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) Research Associateship


    Grants - Past & Current Awards: (with P.Godon as a Principal Investigator)


    • FUSE Cycle 4 GI Program (D144), on The inner disk and hot white dwarf in the nova like V794 Aql (PI: P.Godon; grant amount: $18,100)

    • FUSE Cycle 7 GI Program (G925), FUSE Survey of Dwarf Novae: basic characteristics of the white dwarf and accretion disk (PI: P.Godon; grant amount: $35,000)

    • HST/Archival Cycle 14 (HST-AR-10657-01-A), Combined HST-FUSE Far Ultraviolet Spectral Study of Cataclysmic Variables (PI: P.Godon; grant amount: $69,366)

    • FUSE Cycle 8 GI Program (H903), FUSE Survey of Nova-Likes: Characterizing the hot component (PI: P.Godon; grant amount: $20,600)

    • XMM-Newton (AO-7), Probing the Boundary Layer of Dwarf Novae above the period gap (PI: P.Godon; $68,650; 07/23/2008-07/22/2010)

    • NASA/ATPF07 (Astrophysics Theory and Fundamental Physics 2007), The Spreading of Matter in Boundary Layers of Accreting White Dwarfs: Relevance to Space Observations (PI: P.Godon; $209,997; Spring 2008-Spring 2011)

    • NASA/ADP07 (Astrophysics Data Analysis 2007), Archival Study and Spectral Catalog of Far Ultraviolet Spectra of Cataclysmic Variables (PI: P.Godon; $152,931; 2008-Spring 2011)

    • CHANDRA (Cycle 11), An Archival X-ray Spectroscopic Study of the July 2001 Giant Outburst of WZ Sge, (PI: P.Godon; $60,000; Jan 2010-Dec 2010)

    • NASA/SWIFT (Cycle 8), Probing the Boundary Layer of Accreting White 5 Dwarfs in Nova-like Cataclysmic Variables, (PI: P. Godon; $28,000; March 2012-March 2013)



    Selected List of Publications

    (Out of 90 publications, I only list a number of them here in reverse chronological order, all in peer-reviewed journals)


    • Godon, P., & Sion, E.M. 2011, Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer Observational Evidence of the Boundary Layer of MV Lyrae in the High State. Publication of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, vol.#123, p.903

    • Balsara, D.S., Fisker, J.L., Godon, P., & Sion, E.M. 2009, Simulations of the Boundary Layer Between a White Dwarf and its Accretion Disk. The Astrophysical Journal, vol.#702, p.1536

    • Godon,P., & Sion, E.M. 2005, The Boundary Layer of VW Hyi in quiescence. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol.#361, p.809

    • Godon,P. & Sion, E.M. 2003, Modeling Accretional Heating in Dwarf Novae. The Astrophysical Journal, vol.#586, p.427

    • Godon, P., & Livio, M. 2000, Role and Formation of Vortices in Protoplanetary Disks. The Astrophysical Journal, vol.#537, p.396

    • Godon, P., & Livio, M. 1999, On the Hydrodynamic Stability of Thin Keplerian Disks. The Astrophysical Journal, vol.#521, p.319

    • Godon, P. 1999, Non-axisymmetric Hydrodynamic Instability and Subcritical Transition to Turbulence in Thin Keplerian Disks. Physics Reports, vol.#311, p.271

    • Meier, D.L., Edgington, S., Godon, P., Payne, D.G., & Lind, K.R. 1997, A magnetic switch that determines the speed of Astrophysical Jets. Nature, vol.#388, p.350

    • Godon, P. 1997, Numerical Modeling of Tidal Effects in Polytropic Accretion Disks. The Astrophysical Journal, vol.#480, p.329

    • Godon, P. 1996, Non-Reflective Boundary Conditions and the Viscous Instability in Accretion Disks. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol.#282, p.1107

    • Godon, P. 1995, On the Turbulent Viscosity Prescription in Accretion Disks. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol.#277, p.157

    • Godon, P., & Shaviv, G. 1993, A Two-Dimensional Time Dependent Chebyshev Method of Collocation for the Study of Astrophysical Flows. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, vol.#110, p.171

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