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Job Title:
Physicist (Post Doctoral Research Fellow), IS-1330, Grade 11, $71,987 to $93,588 per year
Type of Position:
Trust fund (non-federal) Temporary for two years with possibility of extension for another year.
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   This position is open to all qualified candidates.

Note:  First consideration made be made 14 days after the opening of this vacancy.


This is the position of Physicist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow) in the Atomic and Molecular Physics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The purpose of this position is to train postdoctoral researchers to conceive, plan and conduct highly specialized research in atmospheric chemistry and remote sensing. The incumbent will perform scholarly research and participate in making contributions to the fields of physical science.


The Post-Doctoral Research Fellow will perform research on atmospheric composition measurements using Earth satellite observations. The Post-Doctoral Research Fellow will be part of a research group working to design, implement, and improve software for atmospheric measurements and to perform scientific research using such measurements. The software will include advanced algorithms for trace gas retrievals from GOME, SCIAMACHY, OMI, GOME2, OMPS and TEMPO.

Duties of the position may include but are not limited to:

1. Define scientific and system requirements to develop and evaluate advanced scientific and numerical algorithms. This will involve implementing retrieval algorithms for remote sensing of atmospheric constituents and obtain necessary data to verify requirements and final retrieved products.
2. Participate in the definition and design of methodologies to obtain required results.
3. Assist other scientists and/or programmers in developing and applying software for satellite measurements of atmospheric composition.
4. Perform scientific studies involving atmospheric measurements, global/regional atmospheric modeling, radiative transfer, tropospheric chemistry, and spectroscopy.
5. Prepare refereed publications and present talks at professional meetings.
6. Perform other duties as may be required.


All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements: A. Degree: physics; or related degree that included at least 24 semester hours in physics; OR B. Combination of education and experience -- courses equivalent to a major in physics totaling at least 24 semester hours, plus appropriate experience or additional education. In either A or B above, the courses must have included a fundamental course in general physics and, in addition, courses in any two of the following: electricity and magnetism, heat, light, mechanics, modern physics, and sound.

In addition to Basic Requirements above, you must have: a) One year of specialized experience that is equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to grade 9 level work in the Federal government.  Specialized experience  typically would be, successfully complete partial tasks contributing to the advancement of complex scientific projects; writing reports to detail progress on assigned tasks enhancing coordination between team members; and preparing publications and presenting talks at professional meetings. 
Education for Grade 11: Master's or equivalent graduate degree
Combinations of successfully completed graduate level education and specialized experience may be used to meet total experience requirements.

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date. For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at

Application Procedures:  We are only accepting online applications for this position. To apply please visit USAJOBS

Conditions of employment:

You must be fully vaccinated for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized or FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine.


Have an approved Reasonable Accommodation granting an exemption from vaccine requirements. Please see additional information regarding reasonable accommodations below.  

The Smithsonian Institution has a mandate requiring all employees (federal and trust), affiliated staff (including volunteers, interns, and fellows), and the contractors who work with us to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee’s duty location or work arrangement (e.g., onsite, telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. If selected, you will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment or onboarding with the Smithsonian Institution, if after November 22. The Smithsonian Institution will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required exemption from this requirement. This requirement applies to employees, affiliated staff, contractors who are working on-site, and those teleworking in whole or in part. Limited exemptions to the Smithsonian Institution’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be considered on a case-by-case basis for selected candidates who inform the Smithsonian that they cannot be vaccinated because of a disability, including certain medical conditions the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers contraindications to the vaccine, or because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Additional information and instructions regarding Smithsonian’s COVID-19 mandate will be provided at the time of selection.   


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


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