Skip to main content
Job Title:
Physicist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow), IS-1330, Grade 11, $74,129 - $96,363 per year year
Type of Position:
Trust fund (non-federal) Temporary not to exceed three years
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

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


This is the position of Physicist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow) in the Radio and Geoastronomy division.  The purpose of this position is to conduct a program of research and scholarship in experimental cosmology. The incumbent will work closely with the Harvard CMB group at the CfA on developments related to the ongoing stage 3 BICEP experiment and the CMB-S4 project.  


  1. Conduct experimental research and scholarship in experimental cosmology under the direction of the supervisor in close coordination with the Harvard CMB group.
  2. Assist or lead in development and characterization of optical, vacuum, cryo-mechanical, detector, and readout systems for the pSAT small aperture telescope and technologically-adjacent BICEP and CMB-S4 systems.
  3. Engage in dissemination of research results. Examples include preparing papers for publication in scientific journals, preparing and presenting findings at scientific meetings, writing scientific and technical memos, and presenting at project reviews.
  4. Support, as required, development of proposals for research funding.
  5. Mentor and assist, as appropriate and directed, students and interns engaged in CfA CMB research.


Basic Requirements:

A. Degree: in one or a combination of astronomy, physics, mathematics, space science, or electronics. The course work must have included differential and integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy and/or physics.


B. Combination of education and experience -- 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, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

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 work on background-limited cryogenic detectors and optics for telescopes targeting the polarized Cosmic Microwave Background; completed Ph.D. thesis work or publications of original research on experimental cosmology; and participation in collaborations or project teams engaged in CMB survey experiments, ideally with exposure to all aspects including instrumentation, data collection, and analysis.

Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's 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.

Visit the SAO website at



Learn more about SAO Human Resources

Visit the SAO website