HR: Employment Opportunities
 
 Job posting 18-78
Opening date: September 24, 2018
Closing date: January 31, 2019

TITLE:Astrophysicist, IS-1330, Grades 12- 14; $81,077 to $148,108 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund, Indefinite
DIVISION: - High Energy Astrophysicis Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates. First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.

Selection for this position will be made at either the grade 12, 13 or 14 level. If selection is made at the grade 12, or 13 level the selectee may be non-competitively promoted to the next higher level up to the grade 14 upon recommendation of the Professional Accomplishments Evaluation Committee (PAEC).


Responsibilities:

This is the position of Astrophysicist in the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The employee will undertake a significant technical role in the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) working with CXC staff and NASA to maximize the scientific return of the ACIS instrument on the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The work will include generation of commands to the ACIS instrument, review and verification of spacecraft command loads to ensure the proper ACIS configuration, monitoring of the space radiation environment and safing the ACIS instrument when appropriate, monitoring the health and safety of the ACIS instrument, and the analysis and interpretation of flight data to ensure the quality of the scientific data. The position is charged with technical and scientific responsibility for formulating and conducting developmental research in the area of X-ray Astronomy and High Energy Astrophysics. The work may include the planning and designing of necessary experiments, the analysis and interpretation of experimental data, the proposing, planning, and designing of observing programs, the analysis and interpretation of observations, and the publication of significant results.

Undertake a position as a CXC Instrument Scientist for the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS), with responsibility for the operation of the ACIS instrument. Propose and carry out specific investigations of ACIS performance and procedures, including solutions to unanticipated spacecraft or instrument events. Conduct and oversee the analysis of these studies, developing computer algorithms as necessary and supervising their implementation. Interpret the results of these investigations, doing theoretical calculations when appropriate. Review ACIS observing programs and advise Observers using the ACIS instrument on optimal configurations to achieve the scientific goals.

Monitor the health and safety of the ACIS instrument as part of a rotating weekly schedule of the ACIS Operations Team. Monitor the realtime and dump data from the ACIS instrument to identify possible issues with the instrument performance and take action as necessary. Monitor the space radiation environment, calling telecons as needed, and take appropriate safing actions as needed.

Conduct research with X-ray satellite observations and with other space and ground-based facilities.

Serve on committees, if/when invited, for purposes of scientific proposal review, scientific planning activities, as an advisory resource, and for establishing future directions of astronomical standards and in defining standards for astronomy.

Determine the most relevant and fruitful areas for research, and conceive, propose, and carry out observational and data analysis efforts directed towards a wide range of astrophysical systems utilizing X-ray and other spectral and imaging data and other ground-and space-based facilities. Formulate plans and hypotheses in areas which are new and unexplored, or which have presented critical obstacles in the past, and carry them through to completion. Determine the applicability of findings to activities and interests of the Division and Observatory.

Participate in overall astronomy programs of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), the High Energy Astrophysics division, and in overall scientific programs at SAO. Interact with scientists at SAO and other institutions to coordinate activities such as scientific observations and analysis, software development, and overall planning in astronomy.

Prepare papers presenting research results for publication in scientific journals and presentation at scientific meetings and conferences. Attend professional meetings for the purpose of presenting new results and participating in the discussion of related efforts by other scientists. Referee papers submitted to scientific journals and participate on NASA peer review committees, if/when asked.


Qualifications:

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. OR

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.

In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized experience and/or directly related education in the amounts shown below:

Grade 12:

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

B. A minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 11 level in the normal line of progress for this occupation which should demonstrate the origination of new techniques in the acquisition and management of data, establishing new criteria in the area of data analysis and reduction, the development of new observational information, the supervision of at least one subordinate or postdoc or completed a supervisory training program, and authorship of several scholarly articles in professional refereed journals and/or conference presentations. OR

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

Grade 13:

A minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 12 level in the normal line of progression for the occupation which should demonstrate taking a leadership role in the running of an observatory or equivalent scientific facility, including instrument operations for a space observatory and the planning and execution of observations for Guest Observers. The candidate has experience working with a team that operates an observatory in space; taking a lead role in formulating requirements for science software; and working in teams including scientists and software engineers to test and document software. The candidate formulates and conducts independent research program(s) as demonstrated by a substantive history of publications in refereed journals; and has knowledge of the application of computer and analytic techniques to the solution of scientific problems.

Grade 14:

A minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 13 level in the normal line of progression for the occupation which should demonstrate taking a leadership role in the running of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, including the planning and execution of observations for Guest Observers. The candidate has experience working with the team that operates the Chandra X-ray Observatory; taking a lead role in formulating requirements for science software; and working in teams including scientists and software engineers to test and document software. The candidate formulates and conducts independent research program(s) as demonstrated by a substantive history of publications in refereed journals; and has knowledge of the application of computer and analytic techniques to the solution of scientific problems. The candidate has demonstrated the ability to conduct an independent research program including writing successful proposals and supervising students and Postdoctoral fellows.

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

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

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