HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 18-45
Opening date: May 25, 2018
Closing date:June 12, 2018

TITLE: Physicist, GS-1310, Grade 12; $81,077.00 to $105,400.00/yr
TYPE OF POSITION: Career/Career-Conditional
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals residing in the local commuting area of Cambridge, MA.


The Submillimeter Array (SMA) is a major scientific facility in continuous operation and under continuous development to take advantage of new technology to upgrade its performance. Currently, work is underway to increase the bandwidth of the receivers, increase the capacity of the data transmission system, upgrade the digital correlator, and extend the SMA’s polarimetry capability. Longer-term, the SMA has embarked on a major upgrade, the wSMA, which will further extend its capabilities. These upgrades will create a need for new observing modes and data processing methods to fully exploit the SMA’s new capabilities.

The SMA has a current opening for a Physicist to develop and improve new observing modes and techniques for the SMA, and to support enhanced operation as part of world-wide VLBI networks such as the Event Horizon Telescope. The incumbent will be expected to carry out independent research exploiting and exercising these new capabilities. The position is located in Cambridge, MA.


Conducts, participates in, and develops capabilities for wide-field wideband surveys with the SMA, including surveys that use intensity mapping techniques, and for other special observing modes of the SMA such as time- domain and VLBI observations.

Formulates and conducts a program of observational research in millimeter astronomy exploiting newly- developed SMA capabilities, including large-scale long-duration observing programs, and publishes results in academic journals and at scientific conferences.

Designs and implements tools and methods for automating processing of SMA data, and for verifying and monitoring the quality of science data.

Participates in long-term planning of activities of the SMA and works with other scientists and engineers to design and develop tools, techniques, and methods that increase the operating capacity and scientific efficiency of the SMA, including (but not limited to) automated methods for tracking pointing performance, methods for correcting atmospheric delays, and multi-beam interferometry.

Assists in organizing meetings, conferences, and seminars; serves on scientific and technical committees as needed; and performs tasks related to education and public outreach on behalf of the SMA.


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; OR

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. In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must possess one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-11 that is close or similar to the work of this position. The specialized experience should include activities such as designing and carrying out wide-field wide-band surveys with astronomical radio interferometers, developing automated calibration and imaging pipelines for radio interferometer data, performing PI observations with radio telescopes, and fielding new radio astronomical instruments.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.


To view qualifying educational requirements and/or combination of education and specialized experience click on the following link: standards/#url=GS-PROF

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.

Visit our SAO website.


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