HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-40
Opening date: April 8, 2020
Closing date: June 26, 2020

TITLEDirector, Chandra X-Ray Center, IL-1330- 00; $131,239 - $197,300 annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - HEA High Energy Astrophysics Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified U.S. Citizens.


This is the position of Director, Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) with High Energy Astrophysics, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The incumbent is responsible for directing CXC activities and staff so as to maximize the scientific return of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA's Great Observatories.


1. Directs all CXC activities and staff so as to maximize the scientific return of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA’s Great Observatories. Supervises a team of senior scientists and provides top-level direction to an organization of approximately 200 people with a budget of approximately $55 million per year. Acts to insure Chandra's health and safety and thereby maximize its longevity and overall science return.

2. Serves as selection official for proposals recommended by the annual peer review cycle. Provides leadership and exercises scientific expertise in conducting the Chandra Directors Discretionary Time (DDT) program. Reviews and approves triggers for peer reviewed Target of Opportunity (TOO) observations. Reviews and approves the annual calibration program. Works with the mission planning team to understand evolving constraints with implications for scheduling rapid response TOOs and DDTs as well as scheduling peer reviewed programs. Interacts with the science instrument and aspect camera experts to stay informed on evolving performance capabilities and the implications regarding optimized observing modes and potential science return. Assesses options identified by science data systems and data systems teams and works with them to set/approve priorities and schedules moving forward in a time of fixed resources. Provides direction to all other CXC activities including spacecraft and ground operations, science data processing, and data distribution and archiving.

3.Leads the effort to plan and prepare the triennial Chandra proposal to the NASA Astrophysics Division Senior Review and leads the presentations to the review panel.

4. Oversees, advises, encourages and stimulates scientific research activities of members of the CXC research staff in the field of high-energy astrophysics. Keeps abreast of new developments in research, suggests new avenues of investigation and new research methods and techniques, and maintains an awareness of the frontiers of knowledge in the field.

5. Participates with the SAO Director and High Energy Astrophysics Division Associate Director in the formulation of research plans and priorities for future directions for the Astrophysical Observatory. Participates as required in the evaluation and appraisal of the contributions by the divisional staff members and their collaborators.

6. Plans, initiates and conducts independent research in x-ray astronomy. Prepares scientific papers, presenting the results of these studies for publication in international scientific journals and/or for presentation at scientific and technical meetings and conferences.

7. As appropriate, prepares and submits proposals for the conduct of scientific research to various telescopes and funding sources. Encourages and guides other staff members in these activities.

8. Serves as a scientific leader and consultant to the research community and NASA on matters concerning the application of x-ray astronomy to the solution of significant astrophysical questions.

9. Serves on national committees developing plans to guide future directions for the field. Serves as speaker, panelist, conference leader, committee chair and in other similar capacities at national and international conferences, public forums and comparable gatherings.


Minimum Education Requirements:

A) Degree in one or 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.

Specialized Experience:

You must also have at least one year of directly related experience that demonstrates extensive knowledge of, and experience as a recognized expert in the field of x-ray astronomy that includes directing, managing, or playing a lead role in a multi-million dollar scientific research or development program.


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.

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.

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