HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 18-11
Opening date: April 9, 2018
Closing date: April 23, 2018

TITLE: Mechanical Engineer, IS-830, grade 7; $45,707.00 to $59,417.00 / ANNUALLY
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (Non-Federal), Indefinite
DIVISION: - CE Central Engineering Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified candidates who are eligible to work in the United States.

Note: Selection will be made at the grade 7 level. This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 9. A candidate selected at grade 7 may be non-competitively promoted to the next higher grade level, upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on classification requirements, satisfactory performance and qualifications of the employee.


The purpose is to assist the engineering and scientific staff in the conduct of x-ray and solar optics research and development. This includes engineering design work, assembly and alignment, data evaluation, and documenting and organizing results. Tasks will vary in scope based upon the needs of the project. The employee receives assignments from members of the engineering and scientific staff. Work will regularly be reviewed for content and technical accuracy.


1. Assist members of the engineering and scientific staff in the conduct of research and development in the field of x-ray and solar optics research and development. This includes the design of hardware, assembly of hardware, preparation of experimental procedures, setting up of data-taking experiments, acquiring data, and evaluation of this data.

2. Assist in laboratory measurements of x-ray optical alignment, and testing/calibration of x-ray optics. This includes such tasks as operating laser alignment equipment, the use of standard electronic measurement tools, and other general laboratory equipment. Procure, use, and properly manage disposal of hazardous chemicals for cleaning of vacuum parts and vacuum preparation.

3. Assist in the assembly of X-ray and other optics. Develop computer programs to organize and plot the raw data. This includes elementary statistical analysis, data reduction, plotting, archiving, and logging.

4. Assist in developing algorithms and writing computer programs for modeling the measured results of optical testing. This includes simulations of laboratory experiments, and possibly ray-trace calculations of x-ray optics.

5. Assist in documentation and organization of data reduction results.

6. Perform other related duties as requested.


Candidates must possess one year of specialized experience at least equivalent to the grade 5 level. Specialized experience such as assembling optical equipment, conducting mechanical vibration testing and/or thermal vacuum testing, using specialized alignment equipment to align optical equipment, or the use and alignment of laser optical alignment systems.


1 year of graduate-level education or superior academic achievement.


Education and experience may be combined for all grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.


BASIC REQUIREMENTS: 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; (d) thermodynamics; (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.


a combination of education and experience--college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (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. OR

Bachelor's degree in computer science or bachelor's degree with 30 semester hours in a combination of mathematics, statistics, and computer science. At least 15 of the 30 semester hours must have included any combination of statistics and mathematics that included differential and integral calculus. All academic degrees and course work must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions. APPLICANT MUST LIST ALL COLLEGE COURSES.

In addition to meeting basic requirements, applicants must meet specialized experience. Specialized experience is defined above.

Basic qualification requirements can be found at and

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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