Associate Scientist/Research Engineer (4438)

Research Charlottesville, Virginia


Description

Position Description:

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) mission is to enable forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community, we:

  • Provide world leading telescopes, scientific software and algorithms and expertise,
  • Train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
  • Promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory seeks a Research Engineer with expertise in millimeter/submillimeter wavelength electronics. The selectee will be a member of the NRAO Scientific Staff and will lead the millimeter/sub-millimeter receiver group (approximately 7 engineers and technicians) in the Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, VA.  The Research Engineer will play a leading role in a program of design and development of low-noise millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength instrumentation for astrophysical observations. This has been identified as a key NRAO technology for the next generation of radio telescope instrumentation and is a high-priority component of CDL’s strategic plan.  The new research engineer will report to the Director of the CDL.

 The selectee will work with colleagues to develop second next generation millimeter and submillimeter low-noise receiver technology that may be deployed on ALMA and on future instruments. The CDL has a close collaboration with the superconducting circuits foundry in the University of Virginia's Microfabrication Laboratory (UVML), which has been instrumental in much of NRAO's mm/sub-mm receiver development and in production of superconducting circuits for ALMA. The selectee will be expected to provide technical leadership to CDL’s millimeter/sub-millimeter receiver group, determining its direction and technical priorities, and to work closely with, and provide direction to, UVML in its support of the program.

 

This position is based at the Central Development Lab (CDL) of the NRAO located in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL has a long history of developing new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy. Current research and development programs include cryogenic, low-noise front-ends, wideband electromagnetic components such as antenna feeds and polarizers operating from below 1 GHz to nearly 1 THz, phased-array feeds, highly integrated receiver architectures that employ early signal digitization and novel encoding, wideband and scalable digital signal processing architectures, and photonic signal generation, time reference distribution, and data transmission.

In addition to competitive pay, we provide excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave).  Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment.  Our retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.

 

Job Duties Summary

The appointment is expected to be made at the level of Associate Scientist; in exceptional cases, a higher rank will be considered. The position entails both independent research and functional responsibilities. As an NRAO staff scientist, the selectee will be expected to carry out an independent research program using 25% of his or her time. The research program may be wide-ranging across engineering disciplines as long as it has synergies with NRAO facilities and mission, particularly ALMA. Staff scientists are also expected to be versatile and adapt to new challenges and opportunities as NRAO and the astronomical instrumentation landscaping evolves. Applicants should discuss their versatility and ideas for advancing the state-of-the-art in high frequency radio astronomy instrumentation in their cover letter.

 

For this position, such functional responsibilities might include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead the millimeter/sub-millimeter receiver group.
  • Assist in the design and development of low-noise millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength instrumentation for astrophysical observations.
  • Assist in the development of the next generation millimeter and sub-millimeter low-noise receiver technology that may be deployed on ALMA and on future instruments.
  • And other duties, as dictated by the needs of the observatory and the skills and interests of the successful applicant.

 

Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a laboratory environment, but the successful candidate may occasionally be required to work outdoors. Must be able to travel both domestically and internationally by air carrier and by car.

 

Position Requirements:

Qualified candidates will be evaluated for scientific staff rank based on experience.

 

Minimum Education

A Master’s of Science degree in physics, applied physics, electrical engineering, astronomy, or a closely related field and must have achieved an equivalent level of accomplishment to a PhD.

 

Preferred Education

A Ph.D. in physics, applied physics, electrical engineering, astronomy, or a closely related field.

 

Minimum Experience

Must have demonstrated extensive experience in the field of millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength electronics with at least five years of post-graduate/industry experience in designing and building cryogenic millimeter-wave instrumentation.

 

Preferred Experience

A record of technical achievement in novel microwave or millimeter/ submillimeter-wave instrumentation, SIS junctions, antennas, radio interferometry and arrays, and/or photonics with at least ten years professional experience.  An understanding of the science of radio astronomy is desirable. The successful candidate must also possess leadership skills, excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills, and must be able to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing.

 

Competency Summary

The successful candidate should have a PhD in Electrical Engineering or Applied physics, and extensive experience in the following fields: low-noise mm/sub-mm wavelength receivers and related technologies; superconducting millimeter-wave electronics; microwave circuit design using modern commercially available software (e.g., CST Microwave Studio, QuickWave, Sonnet EM, Microwave Office, ADS); and cryogenic (4-K) systems. In addition, the candidate should have excellent documentation and communication skills in English, including technical writing and public speaking and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively to other scientists and engineers with different technical backgrounds.

As an NRAO staff scientist, the selectee will be expected to carry out an independent research program using 25% of his or her time. The research program may be wide-ranging across engineering disciplines, as long as it has synergies with NRAO facilities and mission, particularly ALMA. Staff scientists are also expected to be versatile and adapt to new challenges and opportunities as NRAO and the astronomical instrumentation landscape evolves. Applicants should discuss their versatility and ideas for advancing the state-of-the-art in high frequency radio astronomy instrumentation in their cover letter. 

 

Application Instructions:

 

Special Instructions to Applicants:

For consideration, select the "Apply" button below. Please prepare a single PDF document consisting of the following items:

1.       Cover letter stating why you are interested in this position – the letter should describe how your education and experience match the requirements and qualifications described above (maximum 2 pages).

2.       Curriculum vitae

3.       List of refereed publications

4.       Summary of past technical and observational experience relevant to the position (maximum 2 pages).

5.       Description of research accomplishments and future research plans (maximum 4 pages)

 

The PDF file is to be uploaded with the “Add Resume” feature at the applicant portal; the file name format should follow this convention: LastName,FirstInitial_CDL_RE. The initial deadline for receipt of complete applications is July 31, 2019; however, applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

 

Each applicant should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted by individuals familiar with their technical and scientific abilities. Letters should be submitted directly to Candice Waller at cwaller@nrao.edu. Please have the referee use the file naming convention: LastName,FirstInitial_RE_recommendation.pdf. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of recommendation are sent by the referees.

 

Please direct inquiries to Dr. Bert Hawkins at bhawkins@nrao.edu.

 

 

 

The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.