Assistant Scientist at the Gemini-South

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
La Serena
Job Announcement Text: 

Forefront astronomical research is carried out at Gemini Observatory using 8-m optical/infrared telescopes in Hawaii and Chile (see The Gemini Observatory is a partnership of five countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Australia, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute and the University of Hawaii also have specific access to the telescopes. Gemini has an opening for one Scientist at the Assistant level at the La Serena (Chile) Southern Operations base.

The position is split 80/20, with 80% of the Scientist's time spent carrying out functional duties, and 20% on personal research. The key roles of the Scientist will be to provide scientific support of instrumentation (including maintenance and development) and to participate in all aspects of the planning and execution of the observing processes. The successful applicant will have demonstrated scientific leadership in research, and possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out new research projects to completion while assisting in the day-to-day operations of the observatory. A research program that is linked to the capabilities of the Gemini telescopes is an advantage. The successful applicant will possess excellent teamwork skills in order to work collaboratively with Gemini staff and external scientists, as well as participate in observatory committees and external scientific organizations.

Gemini offers an attractive and competitive salary and benefit package. The majority of the Scientist’s time is spent at the Gemini base facility in La Serena, Chile. La Serena is a pleasant mid-sized seaside city with a moderate climate at the entrance to the Elqui valley with a population of about 400,000 in the metropolitan area. It hosts a number of professional astronomical facilities and is a popular tourist destination in the (Chilean) summer.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Providing science support of instrumentation, telescope sub-systems, and facility.

2. Participating in commissioning of instrumentation and support facilities.

3. Preparing nightly queue observing plans and executing queue-based observations for other astronomers in the Gemini communities.

4. Supporting Gemini users with specification of their observing program using Gemini tools, and introducing visiting observers to the telescope and instruments.

5. Conducting tests, calibrations, and maintenance and developing documentation of new and existing astronomical equipment, including control and data acquisition systems.

6. Conducting a personal astronomical research program, leading to scientific papers and presentations at astronomical meetings and symposia.

Job Specifications:

Must be able to work independently. An ability to communicate with a wide variety of staff, visiting observers and remote investigators throughout the Gemini partnership is essential. Requires excellent team player skills. Must have excellent written and oral communication skills. An aptitude for dealing with practical problems and issues is necessary. Must have a willingness to travel internationally and work in a culturally diverse environment. Must possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out new projects in a team environment while participating in the day-to-day operations of the observatory.

Job Requirements:

Ph.D. in Astronomy, Astrophysics, or a related field. Must have at least three years of experience in ground-based astronomy, with observational, data analysis and/or instrumentation experience. Must be safety conscious; possess or be able to obtain a valid passport; willing and able to travel internationally; possess a valid driver's license with a good driving record and be able to drive 4WD vehicles. Applicants must be able to work nights at the altitude of the Cerro Pachón (2900 m) summit.

Send a cover letter relating your experience and education to the requirements of the position, your curriculum vitae, a research statement that provides a summary of your most important contributions to research in astronomy and describes your future plans, and a statement of observatory support interests. Names and contact details of three professional references must also be provided as part of your application. All documents are required in order to be considered for the position. Application materials should be submitted online through the AURA web site: Please include the AAS Job Register number in your cover letter. Deadline for applications is September 30, 2017. The starting date is negotiable but is expected to be no later than February 2018. For further information about the position please contact Dr. René Rutten, Gemini -South Head of Science Operations. ([email protected]).

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Selection Deadline: 
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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