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Job Title:
Physicist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow), IS-1310, Grade 11, $77,738 - $101,055 per year year
Type of Position:
Trust fund (non-federal) Temporary not to exceed one year 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 may be made 14 days of 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 composition measurements, including those from Earth satellites, airborne-, and ground-based instruments.


The employee 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 converting from raw data to wavelength and radiometrically calibrated and geolocated radiance spectra, and for retrieving greenhouse gases from calibrated spectra. Research includes analyzing instrument calibration and testing data and developing calibration method, improving instrument L0 to 1 processor, and improving L1 to 2 retrieval algorithms for MethaneSAT and MethaneAIR.

1. Analyze instrument calibration test data to derive calibration coefficients, improve and develop advanced algorithms to convert from raw data to accurately calibrated and geolocated radiance spectra, and perform retrievals of greenhouse gases for MethaneAIR and MethaneSAT.
2. Participate in the implementation of algorithms on the cloud platform to make advanced atmospheric measurements.
3. Assist other scientists and/or programmers in developing programs for and in use of the satellite and airborne measurements.
4. Perform scientific studies involving atmospheric measurements, instrument calibration, atmospheric modeling, radiative transfer, tropospheric chemistry, and climate change.
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. 
b) Education for Grade 11: Master's or equivalent graduate degree
c) Combinations of successfully completed graduate level education and specialized experience may be used to meet total experience requirements.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at

Additional information

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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