HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 11-36
Opening date: April 7, 2011
Closing date: April 21, 2011

TITLE: Astrophysicist, IS-1330, Grade 12, $75,222 to $97,787/yr
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite Part-Time 20 hours/week
DIVISION: - High Energy Astrophysics Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All current SAO employees


Formulate and carry out scientific research involving studies of quasar emission lines in the content of the x-ray to radio energy distribution of quasars as part of an overall program.

Formulate and carry out independent research involving studies of active galactic nuclei and quasars. Prepare and submit proposals for studies using various space-and-ground-based facilities and for interpreting data.

Develop, interpret and investigate the relation between far-infrared and other continuum and emission line properties of the quasars both theoretically and observationally.

Design, develop and verify software systems for data analysis.

Prepare papers, present research results for publication. Participate in meetings and conferences to discuss current research and to exchange ideas and information with other scientists.


Basic Requirements:

A. Degree: in one or a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science, or electronics. The course work must have included differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy and/or physics.


B. Combination of education and experience -- at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a major in any combination of astronomy, space science, physics, mathematics, and electronics, with required course work as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1. Knowledge of quasar research

2. Experience with data analysis at multiple wavelengths (e.g. x-ray and ultraviolet)

3. Familiarity with instrumentation, scientific programming, modern methods of software generation, verification and documentation, and Unix-type operating systems

4. Ability to develop observational and analysis proposals

5. Ability to conduct a scientific research program involving theoretical calculations and the interpretation of observational data.

6. Ability to present findings, in writing and orally.

You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications required; you will also be evaluated based on a comparison of the position requirements against the quality and extent of the experience or related education as reflected in your resume. Candidates are encouraged to ensure work experiences clearly show possession of knowledge of the subject matter pertinent to the position, the technical skills to successfully perform the duties of the position, and the ability to communicate both orally and in writing.

Qualifications Requirement: Applicants must meet the basic qualification requirements as described in the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions. These standards may be viewed at the following address on the web at

Minimum Education Requirements:
A)Degree in one of a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science or electronics, including course work in differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy or physics;


B) a combination of education and experience equivalent to A above including at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a major in any combination of astronomy, space science, physics, mathematics, and electronics with required course work as shown in A above.

Applicants who meet the basic education requirements for this position MUST submit a copy of college transcripts or degree certificate. Unofficial copies are acceptable; however, individuals who are selected MUST be prepared to provide official college transcripts.

Foreign Education: To receive credit for education completed outside the United States you must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and such education has been deemed at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs.

Specialized Experience
In addition to the minimum education requirements, candidates must possess one year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade in the federal service (11) that included formulating and conducting research involving studies of quasars using a multiwavelength approach; developing observational and analysis proposals and presenting results both orally and in writing.


A Ph.D or equivalent doctoral degree in a related field


A combination of successfully completed graduate level education and experience equivalent to the above.

PART-TIME OR UNPAID EXPERIENCE: Credit will be given for appropriate unpaid work on the same basis as for paid experience. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. To receive credit for such experience you must indicate clearly the nature of the duties and responsibilities in each position held and the average number of hours per week spent in such employment on your online resume.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For a copy of the complete vacancy announcement and how to apply, visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


Section Photo