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 - duties will vary according to the skill set and interests of the successful applicant. 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 late August or early September, 2023.
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: commissioning and early science operations 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 cyclic spectroscopy observing modes to provide ultra-high spectral resolution of pulsars, which will facilitate studies of the interstellar medium; designing and developing a transmitting radar system for the GBT; and expanding the GBO data archive and enabling archival science. GBO is also exploring new data analysis tools, techniques to mitigate the impact of radio frequency interference, and is exploring possibilities for an expanded the radio camera program.
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 $10,400 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 range from acting as the on-call 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.
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.
The successful applicant will be expected to work in the office full-time during an initial training period. A partial teleworking arrangement may be possible after this time for individuals that demonstrate an ability to work independently while remaining engaged in the GBO science division and Observatory more broadly.
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.
We welcome applications from all areas of astronomical research, including instrumentation, data analysis, and signal processing, with an emphasis on those that can make use of the capabilities of the GBT. We especially encourage applications from those with a background in pulsars and fast transients, radar, and very long baseline interferometry, and who will make use of existing and new instruments in these areas.
For further information about the position and application instructions, please visit the careers page.