Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Monday, March 26, 2018
Archive Date: 
Monday, May 28, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Small Academic
California Institute of Technology/IPAC
Street Line 1: 
770 So. Wilson Ave.
Street Line 2: 
MS 100-22
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

IPAC at Caltech ( provides science and data management for astronomy and solar system missions (both space and ground telescopes), planning for future projects, and vital science archives. IPAC supports NASA, NSF, and privately funded projects, including: Spitzer, NEOWISE, the Zwicky Transient Facility, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, WFIRST, the Thirty-Meter Telescope, and the US centers for Herschel and Euclid. IPAC operates the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), the NASA Exoplanet Archive (NExScI), and the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA).

The mission of NED is to maintain the most comprehensive, current, and convenient synthesis of information about objects located beyond our galaxy in order to facilitate research in extragalactic astronomy. NED provides data for more than 390 million objects and is growing rapidly. NED merges data published in the literature with data from sky surveys, and adds value with derived quantities and spectral coverage from gamma rays through radio frequencies.

IPAC has an immediate opening for a scientist who is excited by the prospect of exploring new extragalactic archive science enabled by NED, helping to identify new “big data” approaches which could be implemented by NED, and helping to design, implement, and test those approaches. The primary responsibility of this position is to contribute to keeping the content of the database current and accurate, particularly for the diverse and rapidly growing data published in the astrophysics literature. Typical duties will include:

  • Applying NED’s current methods for locating, extracting, transforming and integrating data into the system
  • Working with scientists and engineers on the team to develop and apply new tools to accelerate that flow and fusion of data into NED
  • Performing science-based validation of NED data gathered through automated methods
  • Vetting the results of automated cross-matching software
  • Responding to user support requests related to the scientific content of NED
  • Helping to design and validate NED services and interfaces to enable “science use cases” for NED data
  • Conducting research, including archival research exploiting NED’s content and data synthesis

The successful candidate will meet the following basic requirements:

  • PhD in astronomy, physics, computer science or a related field plus two years of experience
  • Knowledge of astronomical coordinate systems, nomenclature, astrometry, photometry (flux calibration), galaxy spectral and morphological classifications, and observational techniques
  • Demonstrated experience in the production, validation, and/or analysis of astronomical data sets
  • Familiarity with computer programming or prototyping methodology typical of “data science”

Preference may be given to candidates with:

  • Two years or more experience in computer programming or rapid prototyping in the role of a “data scientist”
  • Peer-reviewed publications in areas of extragalactic astronomy that are synergistic with the functional work on NED
  • Experience with Machine Learning
  • Proficiency in Python, R, XML, and SQL
  • Experience manipulating large, diverse and complex data sets
  • Experience with large databases

To apply, please provide a CV, publication list, a short (<2 page) statement of research interests and experience, and the names and contact information of three references to Mary Ellen Barba (   For full consideration, applications should be received via email by May 25, 2018.  We will begin reviewing applications as early as May 1, 2018.

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


Application Deadline: 
Friday, May 25, 2018
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, June 22, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Mary Ellen Barba
Sr. Supervisor of Staff Operations