Job posting 18-32
Opening date: April 13, 2018
Closing date: May 4, 2018
TITLE: Physicist, GS-1310; Grade 14; $113,929.00 to $148,108.00 per year
TYPE OF POSITION: Federal – Career/Career-Conditional
DIVISION: - OIR
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.
The purpose of the position is to provide technical expertise to the development, operation, and maintenance of state-
of-the-art detector systems for astronomical observations; and to participate in both the development of new
telescopes and observing facilities and the specification of new computer systems for the control of instruments and
telescopes. Support will typically include research into state of the art aspects of hardware design or components in
order to determine the nature of the technical challenges to be resolved.
1. Develops and maintains state-of-the-art detector systems for astronomical observations with SAO's telescopes
and elsewhere; including the development of CCD and CMOS cameras for imaging and two-dimensional
spectroscopy, infrared array cameras for imaging and spectroscopy, and associated instrumentation
2. Keeps abreast of new technological developments in areas such as solid-state array technology, cryogenics,
and vacuum systems in order to serve as a resource and expert consultant for colleagues within and outside SAO;
and to independently conceive, plan, design, implement, and document detector systems that satisfy the
operational requirements of astrophysical data collection instrumentation that is at or advancing state-of-the-art.
3. Formulates and leads original scientific research and development efforts for the implementation of new state-of-
the-art detector systems and associated instruments and computers on SAO's telescopes and elsewhere. Prepares
papers documenting research results and instrument performance for publication in scientific or technical journals or
for presentation at scientific or technical meetings. Participates in scientific and technical meetings to discuss current
research and recent technological developments with colleagues in the field and with commercial suppliers. Serves as
technical consultant to colleagues within and outside SAO, and prepares confidential reports as a referee to external
scientific agencies as requested.
4. Supervises the construction, testing, scientific evaluation, documentation, and final installation of new detector and
instrumentation systems; provides technical direction to these projects’ teams of engineers, technicians, and other
scientists; and has the ultimate responsibility for the maintenance, repair, rebuild, and upgrade of detectors and
instruments that have been deployed.
5. Assumes major responsibility for planning and design in detector-related areas, including electronics and signal
processing, optical and mechanical systems, vacuum and cryogenic systems, and interfaces with instrument and
telescope control computers.
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.
Grade 14: In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must possess one year equivalent to the GS-13 which
is defined as work on the design, fabrication, test, deployment and maintenance of electro-optical systems for
scientific instrumentation for use in astronomy including cameras, data acquisition, and motion controller
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy
posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, please visit: USAJOBS
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.
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