Scientist, Physical Sciences

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Archive Date: 
Thursday, November 25, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Universities Space Research Association
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 


The USRA Science and Technology Institute (STI) is seeking a full-time appointment for a scientist. The ideal candidate should have experience in X-ray optics and/or related areas toward the advancement of reflective optics for space-borne x-ray telescopes.  

This position will work closely with personnel in the X-Ray Astronomy Group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop new techniques for fabricating and optimizing x-ray optics
  • Generate computer models and simulations of new and existing x-ray missions and potential payload elements for spaceflight, as well as developing similar models for spin-off applications outside the field of x-ray astronomy 
  • Assist in the design, manufacture, calibration, testing and assembly of prototypes, flight hardware and other x-ray optics via metrology measurements and methods, as well as other commonly used tools and methods in the field
  • Assist with coating studies and optimizing their performance
  • Contribute to peer-reviewed journal publications, proposals, and/or conference presentations
  • Other job-related duties as assigned

Required Qualifications: 

  • US Citizenship required


  • PhD in Physics, Astronomy, Optics, Optical Engineering, Material Science, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, or a closely related discipline.                  


  • > 3 years of post-graduate experience

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • X-ray Astronomy
  • Grazing Incidence X-ray Optics
  • Electroforming
  • Thin Films (sub-nanometer thickness)
  • Computer modeling 
  • X-ray generating systems
  • Vacuum Deposition Systems
  • Mechanical and Optical Properties of Various Materials
  • Excellent Oral, Written, and Presentation Skills (both technical and non-technical)
  • Able to lead independent research


  • Communication
  • Technologically Competent
  • Desire to keep learning
  • Organized
  • Reliable
  • Punctual
  • Flexible
  • Ethical
  • Patient
  • Focused
  • Courteous
  • Professional


  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), its applications and image processing software.
  • Proficient in the use of COMSOL or other modeling programs (Zemax, CodeV, etc.)
  • Knowledge of LabView, IDL, or Python considered a plus.
  • Knowledge of electronic equipment, computer hardware and software, including applications.
  • Knowledge of x-ray equipment and handling radioisotopes
  • Proficient in the use of standard office equipment.

Working Conditions: 

This job operates in a professional office and laboratory environments. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. This is largely a sedentary role.  However, the employee may need to lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.  This role also involves adhering to safety standards and practices for operating in the laboratory environment.


Position is not eligible for telecommuting.


Up to 10% travel.

Applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita. Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity.


Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis
Talent Acquisition
Universities Space Research Association
Street Line 1: 
7178 Columbia Gateway Dr Columbia MD 21046
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis