Postdoctoral Research Associate

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, February 5, 2021
Archive Date: 
Friday, March 5, 2021
To event remaining 1 day
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
Green Bank Observatory
Department Name: 
Green Bank Scientific Division
Street Line 1: 
155 Observatory Rd
Green Bank
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Position Description

The Green Bank Observatory is looking for an energetic scientist to join the Observatory staff as a postdoctoral research associate.  The successful applicant will have 50% of their time available to carry out their own independent research program and 50% allocated to Observatory support (explained in more detail below).  The appointment will be for two years, with an optional one-year extension upon mutual agreement.  The starting date is flexible with a preference for September 2021.

The Green Bank Observatory oversees the development and operation of the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the world’s largest fully steerable telescope, as well as numerous smaller telescopes which are used for a variety of scientific and educational purposes.   With a wavelength coverage of 1.5-m through 2.6-mm, the GBT is used for a diverse range of scientific research, including fundamental physics, gravitational wave astronomy, pulsars and fast radio transients, star formation, Galactic and extragalactic structure, astrochemistry, cosmology, planetary science, and SETI.  Additionally, the GBT has ongoing instrumental research and development projects that keep the telescope at the forefront of science and technology.   Current development projects include: the construction and commissioning of a 0.7–4 GHz ultra-wideband receiver optimized for high-precision pulsar timing, as well as observations of fast radio bursts and spectroscopic surveys; implementing a terrestrial laser scanner system to measure the GBT’s active surface and increase the telescope’s throughput at frequencies > 30 GHz; and the investigation of novel wide-bandwidth digital technologies and techniques for radio frequency interference mitigation.  GBO is also seeking funding to expand the radio camera program for the GBT. The next instrument the Observatory is pursuing is Argus-144, a successor to the current Argus-16 camera. Argus-144 will dramatically improve mapping speeds for dense gas tracers from 74--116 GHz.

The position is located in Green Bank, West Virginia, a beautiful and remote site bordering the Monongahela and George Washington National forests. Located 4 hours from Washington, DC, the Green Bank Observatory offers an academic atmosphere in a rural setting that features a wide variety of activities, from skiing, mountain and road biking, hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting, all within a tight-knit community.

Postdoctoral research associates are expected to carry out a program of independent scientific research in an area of their choice.  Applicants are encouraged to incorporate the GBT into their research program.  Opportunities are available to mentor students through a variety of summer and academic year student programs.  The appointment includes an annual budget of $10,000 that can be used for travel and other research expenses.

As noted above, the successful applicant will also be assigned duties related to Observatory support.  These duties can range from acting as the on-duty scientist during GBT observations; assisting GBT observers with all stages of their projects, from proposals through data analysis and publication; reviewing GBT proposals for technical feasibility; collaborating with scientists and engineers to improve the overall performance of the telescope; helping test or commission new and refurbished instruments on the GBT; and engaging in the Observatory’s many education and public outreach programs.  New staff receive extensive training in the use of the GBT and in all aspects of Observatory support duties.

Vacation accrual, health insurance, a retirement plan, and a moving allowance are provided.

Further information on the job can be found at or through contacting the GBO postdoctoral supervisor, Ryan Lynch ( Additional information about Green Bank Observatory can be found at the following webpages. – Main webpage – Scientific staff – Current and future scientific programs – Current and future instrument development programs


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The successful applicant will have 50% of their time available for independent research, while 50% of their time will be devoted to support of the GBT and GBT observers. The support duties will vary according to the skill set and interests of the successful applicant.


Work Environment

Work hours are flexible but do require working some evenings and weekends monthly as part of telescope and observer support.


Position Requirements

The successful applicant must have strong knowledge of radio and/or millimeter astronomy, as well as a strong independent research program. Knowledge and/or experience with radio telescope hardware and software is appreciated but not necessary.

The position will be at the postdoctoral level.  Applicants must hold a PhD in astronomy, physics, or a related field, or expect to have earned a PhD by the starting date of the appointment.

Preferred Experience
All areas of astronomical research are welcome, but we especially encourage applications from those with expertise in the main scientific programs of the GBT, including but not limited to pulsars and fast radio transients, fundamental physics, gravitational wave astronomy, star formation, Galactic and extragalactic structure, astrochemistry, cosmology, planetary science, and SETI.  We also encourage applications from those with a background in radio astronomy instrumentation, data analysis, and signal processing.


Application Instructions

Apply online at the Green Bank Observatory Careers page;

Please upload CV, statement of research plans, and letter of application.


Top of Form

Combine the following items into a single PDF file; upload by selecting the "Attach Resume/CV" link during the online application process:
- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitae
- Publications list
- A summary of previous, current, and planned research (a maximum of 3 pages of text, including figures and references; 12 pt font);

Each applicant should arrange for letters of reference to be submitted by three individuals (“referees”) familiar with her or his scientific abilities directly to the GB Scientific Search Committee. These letters MUST be received by the application deadline of March 5, 2021.

Letters should be submitted to Tracy Samples, Green Bank Site Human Resources Manager, via email at using the file name “ApplicantNameGBPostDoc.pdf .” Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of reference have been sent by their referees.

Included Benefits: 

Vacation accrual, health insurance, a retirement plan, and a moving allowance are provided.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 5, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
GB Scientific Search Committee
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ryan Lynch