Research Scientist, Synthetic Photometry and Spectrophotometry

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
To event remaining 6 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
George Mason University
Department Name: 
Department of Physics and Astronomy
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The George Mason University Department of Physics and Astronomy and the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) invite applications for a Research Scientist. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.


About the Department:

The Department of Physics and Astronomy was created to support the College’s strategic plan in improving administrative efficiency and allowing for broader academic programs. Its mission is to provide the interdisciplinary advantages and opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students and ensure success in 21st century careers through lectures, labs, seminars, events and research. Faculty contribute their scholarship in creating and applying new knowledge.


This position will be for an initial period of 2 years with an optional 3rd year and will be based at the USNO in Washington, D.C. The successful applicant will work closely with Dr. Gregory Hennessy and other members of the Celestial Reference Frame Department on synthetic photometry and spectrophotometry. This position will be for 50% self-directed research and 50% research and operational work in support of USNO. The candidate will be expected to:

  • Produce astronomical code to perform high precision synthetic photometry of stars used for calibration of HST and Gaia, with the intention of adding this code to a Postgresql SQL database;
  • Actively self-direct a research program including proposing for and obtaining time on astronomical instruments, or computing facilities suitable to research goals and publication of papers; and
  • Play an active role in the scientific culture of the observatory by contributing to journal clubs, colloquia, and professional seminars where appropriate.


Required Qualifications:

  • Completion of a PhD in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, or related field prior to the first day of appointment;
  • Must be a US Citizen; and
  • Must be able to obtain a SECRET level security clearance.


Preferred Qualifications:
Preference will be given to applicants with experience/publications in one or more of the following areas:

  • Synthetic photometry;
  • Spectrophotometry; and/or
  • Astrometry and photometry.


Collaborating with USNO provides unique exposure to astronomical applications that are marketable to industry, government agencies, and academia. The wonderful academic partnership that USNO shares with GMU allows for access to students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and professors with potential for mentorships and collaborations. USNO’s unique mission and access to resources including instrumentation, telescopes, and funding in support of research will provide a solid platform for early career researchers to grow. USNO boasts a vibrant, rigorous scientific culture in support of our nation and is looking to mentor and foster a next generation of specialized skills in order to ensure continuation of its mission.


USNO is committed to diversity and inclusion and we continually aim to provide a working environment completely free from any form of discrimination. Applicants from underrepresented groups including women, underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, persons who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, etc., are strongly encouraged to apply.


Special Instructions to Applicants:

For full consideration, applicants must apply for position number F183Az at; complete and submit the online application; and upload a CV, Research Statement, and the contact information for three or more references.


George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in its community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any characteristic protected by law.

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Human Resources
United States of America
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
163566 b