The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a world-class, space-based astronomical observatory scheduled for launch in 2018. It will revolutionize many branches of astrophysics by achieving unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution in the near and mid-infrared regions of the spectrum. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) will perform the science operations of JWST for NASA. As part of this responsibility it will have to ensure that the telescope and its 6.5m segmented primary mirror deliver the best possible images to allow JWST to carry out the science for which it was designed.
In this context, STScI is seeking an optics scientist or engineer who will provide technical, scientific and computational expertise and leadership relating to the characterization of the optical systems of JWST. The candidate will: perform optics modeling to predict telescope alignment and wavefront quality; perform phase retrieval and other optical and astronomical analysis methods to model and analyze simulated, test, or astronomical data; participate in Integration & Test planning and execution; and perform optical and scientific assessment of telescope performance, both before and after launch. The candidate may also be involved in the STScI support of the Hubble Space Telescope or other future missions. Some fraction of the time can be used to conduct independent research, if grants or other means are available to support this.
The position requires advanced knowledge of physical optics, the ability to create and manipulate optical models of complex systems, practical knowledge of science image-based wavefront sensing and image reconstruction methods, good working knowledge of commonly used optical modeling software packages, and substantial programming skills in high-level languages. The candidate will work in collaboration with experts in a wide range of areas from across STScI and other partner institutions, and will need the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships, to work effectively in cross-disciplinary teams, and to communicate effectively through preparation of reports, articles, and talks.
The successful candidate will possess a degree in optics, or a in another field but with equivalent experience in optical analysis. He/she should have some years of technical experience in the analysis of optical systems relevant to astronomical telescopes; experience in optical or astronomical software development or data analysis; and a record of publications, reports or achievements that documents this work and its quality. A PhD degree, experience in a leadership role, and/or familiarity with astronomical research would be considered a plus. Candidates at all levels of seniority will be considered, with the level of appointment commensurate with the candidate's education and expertise.
STScI is located on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus, and offers a dynamic work environment with an opportunity to participate in the next generation of space science and discovery. STScI has a strong astronomical optics and instrumentation group, and our new Russell B. Makidon Optics Laboratory currently hosts experiments in high-contrast imaging/coronagraphy, wavefront sensing and control, polarimetry, and aperture masking. We offer an excellent benefits package, tuition reimbursement, and competitive salaries.
Note: Substitution of additional relevant education or experience for stated qualifications may be considered.
Interested candidates are requested to complete an on-line application at http://www.stsci.edu/institute/employment. The following materials should be attached through the "Upload Resume Section" in ONE pdf document: a resume; a list of publications or reports; and a statement (typically several pages) discussing expertise and past experience in the subject areas relevant to the position. Please include job #13-0219 in the filename(s). Candidates should also provide the names of three people who have agreed to provide a letter of reference upon request. Applications received by February 15, 2014 will receive full consideration. To discuss the position or to obtain additional information, please contact Dr. Roeland van der Marel at email@example.com.
STScI sees the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in our desire to create a first-rate scientific community. We reflect that deep commitment in strongly encouraging women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, STScI does not discriminate because of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, or mental or physical handicap.Veterans, disabled or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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