The Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a next-generation astronomical facility currently under construction in Chile, with staff based at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Rubin Observatory will undertake the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) which will be one of the largest and most comprehensive astronomy surveys of its kind. Rubin will enable countless discoveries in almost every area of modern astronomical research—discoveries made possible by the team that built the Rubin Observatory system, and by the global science community that Rubin Observatory serves. In survey operations, SLAC will host the Rubin US Data Facility, and provide technical leadership across the Rubin Data Production (RDP) and System Performance (RPF) departments. SLAC is also the host laboratory for the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration.
More generally, SLAC has a broad and vibrant scientific program in fundamental physics, with current research topics including cosmic survey science, cosmic microwave background, direct dark matter searches, proton collider physics and neutrino physics, as well as theoretical and computational physics. SLAC and Stanford are partners in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), which hosts a broad program in astrophysics.
SLAC invites you to apply for a scientist position, initially on a 5-year term, and take on one or more operations roles at Rubin Observatory. Appointments at a more senior level are possible for exceptionally qualified candidates. You will join a flexible and dynamic team of scientists and developers at SLAC and beyond that investigates, maintains, operates and evolves the scientific software that collects, processes and calibrates the LSST data.
Your responsibilities may include one or more of the following:
Understand various LSST science use cases and then apply software engineering expertise to modify, extend, and update the Rubin image processing pipelines in response to emergent scientific needs, community requests, and bug reports.
Ensure that data is available to enable proper astrometric and photometric calibration of Rubin Observatory data as part of regular pipeline processing.
- Run simulated scenarios and develop science-oriented metrics to understand the performance of the Rubin Observatory system, identify problem areas that might cause Rubin to fall short of its scientific goals, and evaluate proposed changes to the image processing pipelines and survey scheduling strategy and algorithms.
- Support the broad international scientific community of users through various communication channels (e.g., online Q&A forums, workshops, tutorials), and collaborate closely with staff in Observatory Operations and Data Production to diagnose and respond to issues identified by the scientific community.
- Help coordinate, track, and manage in-kind contributions of software development effort, datasets, and computing resources to Rubin Observatory and the LSST DESC.
- Carry out, in your 20% science time, a program of original research in cosmology or a related field of astrophysics.
To be successful in this position you will bring:
- A Ph.D. in Physics or Astronomy, and at least 2 years of postdoctoral research experience involving two or more of the following:
- The design, execution, and/or analysis of wide-field astronomical surveys
- The development, validation, and maintenance of scientific software
- Preparation for the LSST survey, including familiarity with Rubin software.
- Demonstrated ability to carry out independent research, collaborating closely with colleagues working both locally and remotely.
- Familiarity with scientific python and collaborative development (including versioning, packaging, online documentation, etc).
- Verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to convey complex technical concepts effectively.
- Ability to work and communicate effectively with a diverse population.
- Ability to collaborate across organizations, with the potential to lead and manage such collaborative efforts.
Applying for these positions, you should know that:
SLAC is committed to increasing the diversity of its staff and to fostering an inclusive and respectful work environment, and we encourage applications from candidates who will diversify the lab’s workforce in scientific computing and fundamental physics. Above all we are looking for someone enthusiastic with a desire to learn and experiment in a highly supportive and collaborative environment. You can find out more about SLAC’s involvement in Rubin and LSST at the KIPAC website.
SLAC offers an excellent benefits package including paid time off, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and an attractive, inclusive and collaborative work environment in the foothills of Silicon Valley.
The majority of scientific staff at Rubin Observatory and SLAC have been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic: the safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview, evaluate and extend offers to candidates in this new virtual landscape: flexible work arrangements may be made to support remote work as part of the onboarding process. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported.
In your application, you should please include a statement of research accomplishment and interests, CV, publication list, and at least three references. We also welcome you to strengthen your statement by including a discussion of your experience with, and ongoing commitment to, engaging in mentoring, outreach, fostering inclusive environments, or activities that support the increase of diversity and/or equity in the field. Please indicate in your cover letter which of the following areas of Rubin Operations you are most interested in: image processing and calibration pipelines, data product verification and validation, observing strategy and survey scheduling, engagement and support of the science community, project management.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but must be received by November 15, 2021 to ensure full consideration. You should direct questions to the Chair of the Search Committee, Phil Marshall ([email protected]).
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All staff at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. SLAC is an E-Verify employer.