Postdoctoral Scholar

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Monday, October 4, 2021
Archive Date: 
Monday, November 22, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Small Academic
Department Name: 
Los Angeles
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. IPAC, part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech, provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground.

Caltech faculty, IPAC, and a worldwide consortium have built and are operating the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) with NSF support. We invite your application for a Postdoctoral Scholar position in Small Bodies of the Solar System using ZTF data. You will work with Professors George Helou and Tom Prince on the discovery and characterization of asteroids including Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) using data from ZTF.

ZTF is a time-domain survey of the sky using a 47 square degree camera on the Samuel Oschin 48-inch Schmidt telescope at Palomar, and a data system with advanced Moving Object Discovery capability. ZTF scans more than 3750 square degrees an hour to a depth of 20.5 mag, with a variety of sky coverage schemes and cadences, some of which are optimized for finding asteroids and NEOs. It is now in its second 3-year phase of operations. The ZTF sky coverage include morning and evening twilight observations which have been quite successful at discovering new interior-to-earth asteroids, including asteroid 2020 AV2, the first interior-to-Venus asteroid.

You will work to continue and extend the effort of finding and reporting asteroids and NEOs, working with the ZTF team at Caltech and the ZTF worldwide Solar System Science Working Group. A considerable number of tools and processes are in place already, so the effort will focus on refining and exercising these tools in a sustained fashion, and on publishing scientific results.

A fraction of your time will be allocated for independent research, preferably aligned with the ZTF Solar System effort, and utilizing resources at Caltech and IPAC.  You will have access to significant follow-up resources using telescopes at Palomar and the Keck Observatories.

Required Documents

  • A brief cover letter describing your interest in the position
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Publication list
  • Contact information for 3 professional references
  • Summary of previous and current research and anticipated research with ZTF (limited to 3 pages)

Appointment Details

  • The appointment will be for two years, with a possible extension for an additional year, subject to the availability of funds.
  • Application materials should be addressed to Professors George Helou and Tom Prince, and sent to [email protected].  
  • Complete applications submitted by November 15, 2021 will receive full consideration, but review of applications will continue until a suitable candidate has been identified.
  • Applicants must hold a Ph.D. degree in planetary sciences, astrophysics or related field by the starting date (July 2022, but earlier start dates are possible).

COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at [email protected].

Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 15, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, November 15, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Professors George Helou and Tom Prince