Research Assistant to Anders Sandberg

Start date: As soon as possible
Status: Independent contractor, variable hours, perhaps averaging 5-10 hours per week.
Compensation: Based on experience; $25/hr minimum
Work Location: Remote
Reports to: Sawyer Bernath (but you will mainly communicate with Anders)
Application: at the bottom of this page

BERI is seeking a generalist researcher with experience in physics, astronomy, and mathematics to answer research questions for Dr. Anders Sandberg on an ongoing basis. The questions will span a broad range of fields.

Purpose

Anders Sandberg, Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, often has small-to-medium-sized research questions. The answers to these questions will feed into his main research projects. By returning clear, well-sourced answers, you will increase the speed and effectiveness of Anders’ research.

Responsibilities

Anders will send you one or more questions like the ones quoted below. Your task will be to answer these questions to the extent possible, within an agreed-upon time frame. Some example tasks:

  • Gather recent striking data about human impacts in anthropocene from papers/OurWorldInData.
  • Summarize the very positive trends, and very negative trends Max Roser brought up on Our World In Data.
  • Find a better reference than this one for the claim that after the huge fusion bombs of the early 1960s improvements in targeting made smaller yields more useful.
  • Is there some data on the distribution of salience of news stories?
  • Are there recent references about whether the Local Group of galaxies will remain bound to the Virgo Cluster in the future?
  • What is the distribution of critical velocity of superfluids when used in cooling, or are there any good sources on how much they can cool?

We’re not looking for someone who can immediately answer all of these questions. Rather, we’re looking for someone with the skills to find the answer by reading the relevant literature.

There will probably be an initial burst of questions, and then sporadic questions after that (frequency unclear).

Qualifications

  • Demonstrated research experience: specifically, reading and synthesizing academic papers in the natural sciences
  • Skill at interpreting sometimes vague requests and converting them into well-defined research questions
  • Knowledge of basic physics, astronomy, and mathematics; comfort discussing these topics at length
  • Clear, effective communication in written English

The ideal candidate

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in physics, astronomy, or mathematics
  • Experience with freelance research work
  • General interest in a wide range of topics
  • Interest in existential risk reduction and/or Grand Futures research

(Click here to apply)