HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 18-03
Opening date: December 14, 2017
Closing date: December 29, 2017

TITLE:Senior Astrophysicist, SL-00; $124,406 to $187,000 annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Federal Career/Career-Conditional
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals within the local commuting area.

This is the position of Senior Astrophysicist in the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). The High Energy Astrophysics Division conducts scientific research in x-ray astronomy with particular emphasis on the observation of x-ray sources through the design, development and operation of space-borne x-ray telescopes.

The employee will take a leadership role in planning, developing and operating x-ray astronomy missions to maximize scientific productivity. The employee will formulate and conduct scientific research at the highest level in x-ray astronomy and high energy astrophysics, with particular emphasis on x-ray spectroscopic instrumentation, the physics of x-ray spectroscopy and studies of the interstellar medium and of supernova remnants. The employee's research is expected to contribute to significant advances in the understanding of high energy astrophysical phenomena through solution of problems recognized as critical to progress in the field.


1. Conducts an innovative program of astrophysics research. Identifies areas of investigation in x-ray astronomy and formulates independent programs of scientific research. Conceives, plans, and carries out observational and data analysis efforts, with particular emphasis on the physics of x-ray spectroscopy as well as studies of the interstellar medium and supernova remnants. Publishes results in scientific journals and presents results at scientific meetings and conferences.

2. Takes a leadership role in planning the next generation of x-ray astronomy observatories. Enlists support from other institutions in collaborative efforts to define and plan future missions. Serves on national and international committees for purposes of planning activities and establishing future directions in the field.

3. Directs the technical effort at SAO to develop advanced technology for x-ray spectroscopy instrumentation for the next generation of x-ray observatories. The employee is responsible for project implementation, including obtaining funding and interfacing with NASA or other contracting agencies. The employee establishes budgets and schedules; supervises scientific, engineering and support personnel; assigns responsibilities; monitors progress; and takes corrective action when needed.

Minimum Education Requirements:

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.


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.

Specialized Experience:

In addition to the minimum education requirements, candidates must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the grade 15. Specialized experience includes activities such as carrying out pathfinding research in high-energy astrophysics, acting in a leadership role for future x-ray missions, and directing advanced technology development programs.

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.

Additional qualification information can be found from the following Office of Personnel Management web site: standards/0800/electronics-technical-series-0856/

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit: USAJOBS

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

Visit our SAO website.


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