Job posting 12-71
Opening date: October 25, 2012
Closing date: February 28, 2013
TITLE:Electrical Engineer, IS-850, Grade 14, $105,702 - $137,410/annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - Central Engineering Department
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified United States citizens.
Uses broad knowledge of state-of-the-art to conceive, plan, and execute complex and varied assignments in the
electrical engineering required to develop cutting edge instrumentation for astrophysical and astronomical data
collection; as well as for its associated test, calibration, and other ground support equipment:
Conceives, designs, and oversees development of complex state-of-the-art electrical/electronics systems,
subsystems, modules, and components. Provides expert technical consultation to CfA scientists and other
engineering staff in instrument electrical design.
Translates scientific objectives into achievable hardware that exploits or extends state-of-the art and advances
current technology, and works with scientific investigators to establish the electrical/electronics requirements of
new projects. Analyzes scientific data collection requirements, translates these requirements into instrument
performance characteristics, and develops instrument concepts and preliminary systems diagrams.
Performs critical trade-off analyses of various methods of implementing designs. Makes and documents
recommendations for optimum methods considering both known and anticipated operating environments.
Evaluates manufacturers’ performance capability data for discrete, hybrid, and integrated circuitry, components,
and systems. Incorporates analysis results into design decisions.
Prepares cost and schedule estimates for hardware design, fabrication, test, and calibration; including supporting
Extensively documents work in technical memoranda, reports, test plans, and procedures.
Defends proposals to funding agency and/or scientific peer review panels in support of the Principal
Investigator. Troubleshoots and analyzes complex technical problems encountered on CE projects, identifies and
recommends solutions, and oversees their implementation.
From conceptual design through project completion, provides leadership in design and analysis and
documentation. Maintains a technical overview of the project in process, and has ultimate responsibility for the
design and test integrity of the contract or project end item. Chooses appropriate technologies, establishes
technical priorities, and performs conceptual, systems level, and detail design. Prepares cost estimates,
schedules, plans, technical reports, and engineering input to project proposals; supervises engineers, designers,
and technicians assigned to the project; and maintains engineering budgets and schedules. Provides technical
leadership and direction to, and liaison with, hardware contractors and sub-contractors as required.
Investigates, selects, justifies, and oversees procurement of critical electrical, electro-optical, and servo-
mechanical components used in astrophysical instrumentation and its development.
Represents SAO on technical task forces and agency councils as required. Makes both oral and written
presentations to project scientists and technical representatives of contracting agencies and cooperating or
affiliated organizations: Either singly or in collaboration with project scientists and other engineers, may write
technical papers recording innovative design techniques and criteria, and present papers to technical symposia in
the specialty field.
(A) Degree: professional engineering. To be acceptable, the curriculum must:
(1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for
Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or
(2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry)
in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics:
(a) statics, dynamics;
(b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships);
(c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics;
(e) electrical fields and circuits;
(f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and
(g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer,
soil mechanics, or electronics. OR
(B) Combination of education and experience--college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that
(1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and
(2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their
applications to one of the branches of engineering.
In addition to the basic education requirements, you must have one year of full-time experience at the GS-13
level that is close or similar to the work of this job. The experience includes activities such as designing and
developing electrical systems independently.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For complete
information and online application procedures, please visit USAJOBS
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our
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