HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-49
Opening date: June 18, 2020
Closing date: July 10, 2020

TITLE: Astrophysicist, IS-1330, Grade 11; $64,694.00 to $84,100.00/yr
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - Optical and Infrared Astronomy Division, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States.

Note: First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.


The purpose of this position is to assist in leading the experimental research program using the VERITAS and CTA ground-based atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes for studies in very high energy gamma-ray astronomy by taking the lead responsibility for ensuring the operability of the CTA Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (SCT) facility and for assisting the VERITAS Project Office managers during telescope operations.


Duties may include, but are not limited to:

1. As VERITAS / CTA-SCT Operations Specialist, oversees CTA-SCT commissioning, upgrades, and day-to-day science operations; and assists with VERITAS operations as needed. This includes the following:

* Participation in the scientific operation and maintenance of the telescopes, in leading a scientific observing program of measurements of various targets, and in helping others in making such observations.

* Providing technical direction to optical, electrical, and mechanical technicians.

* Advising the Project Scientist and Project Office Managers of technical, scientific, and safety ramifications of changes in the technical aspects of the facility, and of changes in schedule.

* Supporting the organization of work related to the annual summer shutdown and corresponding fall start-up of the facility, and participating in major maintenance / upgrade tasks performed during this shutdown.

* Participating in the testing, maintenance, repair, and upgrades of the VERITAS and CTA-SCT telescopes, cameras and auxiliary systems.

* Providing technical assistance to all VERITAS sub-projects and CTA-SCT subsystems; including those involving the telescope structure, drive systems, optics, camera, electronics, and software including data acquisition, reduction, and archiving.

2. Serves as an active member of the VERITAS Project Office, which manages the operation of both the VERITAS-array and the CTA-SCT and develops their associated hardware, programs, and facilities. Attends VERITAS Project Office meetings, and participates in long and short range planning including development of the professional, technical, fiscal, and schedule direction of the VERITAS and CTA- SCT projects. Assists with Project Office reporting and coordination of the schedule and activities of visiting VERITAS and CTA personnel. Maintains, monitors, services, and upgrades CTA-SCT related content management systems, electronic calendars, and logbooks. Assists with public information and outreach programs.

3. Conducts research in the field of very high energy gamma-ray astrophysics using VERITAS and CTA. Maintains knowledge of current results and techniques in particle astrophysics, particularly gamma-ray astronomy, and designs and develops software programs as needed to execute required calculations. Serves as an active member of the VERITAS and CTA scientific collaborations, and makes scientific and technical presentations at Collaboration meetings, supports science-program planning, and develops scientific and technical software for use by Collaboration researchers. Prepares papers documenting research results for publication in scientific journals / proceedings. Participates in technical meetings and conferences to present research results and discuss current work with other scientists and project personnel.

4. Ensures the compatibility and adherence to hardware and software specifications of all on-site CTA- SCT computing systems; and maintains familiarity with all software developed for use with CTA-SCT including those for scientific analysis. Maintains a comprehensive set of system, software, and networking documents.


Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days after the closing date of announcement.

In addition to the basic requirements, candidates for the grade 11 must also possess one of the following:

a) Master's or equivalent graduate degree; or

b) Minimum of one year specialized experience equivalent to at least grade 9 in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position such as professional research experience in particle astrophysics and/or high-energy gamma-ray astronomy or the operation of a gamma ray telescope system and its associated computer infrastructure, or knowledge of computing techniques for the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of observational data.

c) Combination of successfully completed graduate level education and experience equivalent to the above.

Important Note: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide detailed 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. 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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