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Job Title:
Astrophysicist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow), IS-1330, Grade 11; $74,129 - $96,363 Annually
Type of Position:
Temporary - Trust Fund Temporary - Not To Exceed Two Years With The Possibility Of Extension For A Third Year.
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

This position is open to all qualified candidates. First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.


This is the position of Astrophysicist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow) in the High Energy Astrophysics Division. The purpose of this position is to train postdoctoral researchers to conceive, plan and conduct highly specialized research in astrophysics. The incumbent will be expected to perform scholarly research, instrumentation in the lab, on sounding rockets, and on satellite payloads, plus participate in making contributions to the physical fields of science.


  1. Conduct a program of research and scholarship in the area of solar physics focusing on energy transfer in solar eruptions under the supervision and direction of the supervisor.
  2. Assist in the development of new designs for space-borne, airborne or ground-based hardware. Activities may include participating in the design and development of satellite, balloon, airborne and rocket instruments for the detection and measurement of coronal radiation, analyzing experimental data, and interpreting experimental results.
  3. Assist in Conducting laboratory experiments, simulations and studies to evaluate the design, performance, and calibration of solar or astrophysical instruments being built at the Observatory. Assist in the development and writing of test procedures, test reports, and memoranda for dissemination throughout the instrument teams in order to ensure adequate documentation of the testing process.
  4. Assist in contributing to papers presenting research results for publication in scientific journals and presentation at conferences. Participate in scientific meetings and conferences in order to discuss current research with other scientists.
  5. Assists in the development of software and procedures of the reduction, analysis and interpretation of data as needed; or assists in the development of analytical methods and/or software to model physical processes and conditions
  6. Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research in which engaged, for example prepare papers for publication in scientific journals, prepare and present findings at scientific meetings, as required.
  7. Support, as required, the development of proposals for research funding pertaining to solar physics, heliophysics, planetary science, and/or astrophysics.
  8. Mentor and assist, as appropriate and as directed, the research graduate students, undergraduates or summer interns, as required.


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 experience working in an observatory setting or equivalent scientific facility, experience working in a scientific laboratory, processing scientific data, conducting research, and publishing scientific journal articles.

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.

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

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

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

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