HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-46
Opening date: May 22, 2020
Closing date: June 08, 2020

TITLE Senior Astrophysicist, SL-1330- 00; $131,239 - $197,300 annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Permanent - Federal
DIVISION: - SSP Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals.


This is the position of Senior Astrophysicist in the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The purpose of this position is to lead the design, development and fabrication of a major instrument for a new, extremely large telescope, specifically the G-CLEF instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Successful completion of this instrument and it installation on the GMT would represent a major advance in the field.


1. Advises, encourages, and stimulates scientific research activities of members of the observatory's staff in Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division and Central Engineering Department, with particular emphasis on areas of ultra-precise optical spectroscopy instrumentation for stellar radial velocity measurements and exoplanet science using extremely large telescopes. Keeps abreast of new developments in these areas and conceives new avenues of investigation and new research methods and techniques. Maintains an awareness of the frontiers of knowledge in the above areas of astrophysical instrumentation.

2. Takes the leadership role in the development of G-CLEF to enable stellar astrophysics and exoplanet science programs at the coming generations of extremely large telescope and other major ground-based telescopes. Serves on national and international committee for the purpose of planning activities and establishing future directions in exoplanet research.

3. Conceives, designs, constructs and validates spectroscopic instrumentation and ancillary technology to enable frontier observational programs, especially those in stellar astrophysics and exoplanet science for stellar radial velocity measurements and exoplanet science in general.

4. Directs, collaborates with and guides other scientists, students, engineers, computer scientists and technical staff members who assist in the implementation of experimental research programs. He/she has full responsibility for the interpretation of findings, and judgement of their applicability to other areas of research.

5. The incumbent is expected to organize and lead large international collaborations, as necessary, to develop state-of-the art instrumentation, interact with industry counterparts to procure specialized technology in support of these programs and maintain a strong science context for the instrumentation that her or his team delivers.

6. Prepares findings for publication in scientific journals and for presentation at scientific meetings and conferences.

7. Acts as consultant, advisor and referee to others working in the field.

8. Maintains an active research program in spectroscopic instrumentation and demonstrates leadership in the research field as evidenced by the exploration of novel technologies, organization or participation in conferences, presentation of review talks, or other similar activities.

9. Seeks support of research from outside agencies.

10. Serves as scientific advisor and consultant on problems related to areas of expertise for other projects within SAO and the large research community.

11. Engages in outreach programs to promote science awareness and education especially those involving underrepresented minorities and economical disadvantaged communities.


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


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 have one year of specialized experience (Federal or other) equivalent to the GS-15. The experience includes activities such as leading the design, development and fabrication of a major instrument for a new, extremely large telescope, specifically the G-CLEF instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

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.

There is no education substitution for this position.

Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the "Required Documents" section of this announcement.

Important Note: The review of your resume will determine your final rating and should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

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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