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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Physicist
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  13-21

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$75,222.00 to $97,787.00 / Per Year
Friday, June 21, 2013 to Friday, July 05, 2013
Full Time - Indefinite Trust Appointment. This is not a Federal position.
1 vacancy - Cambridge, MA, US  View Map
This position is open to all qualified candidates


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is part of the largest and most diverse astrophysical institutions in the world, where the staff carries out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics and earth and space sciences. If you would like to join this exciting organization, apply today!

This is the position of Physicist in the Atomic and Molecular Physics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The employee will perform research on atmospheric composition measurements from Earth satellites. The employee will be part of a research group working to design, develop and implement software for atmospheric measurements and to perform scientific research using such measurements. The software will include advanced algorithms for production of data products for gases, aerosols, and clouds. Research includes Earth science process studies using satellite measurements, including studies of pollution sources, sinks, and transformations.


  • Pre and Post background investigation.
  • May be required to serve a one-year probationary period.
  • Direct Deposit/Elect Funds Transfer required for salary payment


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Duties of the position may include but are not limited to: 

  1. Defining scientific and system requirements to develop and evaluate advanced scientific and numerical algorithms. This will involve implementing retrieval algorithms for satellite-based nadir remote sensing of tropospheric constituents. Obtain necessary data to verify requirements and test software.
  2. Assisting other scientists and/or programmers in developing programs for and in use of the satellite measurements.
  3. Performing scientific studies involving satellite measurements, global chemical transport modeling, radiative transfer, tropospheric chemistry, and spectroscopy.
  4. Preparing refereed publications and present talks at professional meetings.


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All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements: A. Degree: physics; or related degree that included at least 24 semester hours in physics; OR B. Combination of education and experience -- courses equivalent to a major in physics totaling at least 24 semester hours, plus appropriate experience or additional education. In either A or B above, the courses must have included a fundamental course in general physics and, in addition, courses in any two of the following: electricity and magnetism, heat, light, mechanics, modern physics, and sound.

In addition to Basic Requirements above, you must have: a) One year of specialized experience that is equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to grade 11 level work in the Federal government. The experience would have included defining scientific and system requirements to develop and evaluate advanced scientific and numerical algorithms; performing scientific studies involving satellite measurements; preparing publications and presenting talks at professional meetings. 


Education for Grade 12: Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree. 


Combinations of successfully completed graduate level education and specialized experience may be used to meet total experience requirements.

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date. For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at


Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above.The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  •  knowledge of Fortran 90/95, IDL, Linux shell scripting, and Linux operating systems. 
  •  knowledge of databases and data access via standard protocols
  •  knowledge of web technologies, image handling, and graphics
  •  knowledge of scientific software development
  • Knowledge of mathematics and physics of satellite remote sensing observations
  • Expertise in concepts, principles and practices in the field of atmospheric science or a related field, as may be evidenced by a PhD
  • Skill in developing new software, modifying existing programs, and designing, coding, testing, and maintaining programs that may present complex problems
  • Ability to present findings in a publishable format
  • Skill in oral and written communication as evidenced by refereed journal publications in atmospheric measurements and their applications

To preview questions please click here.


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Benefits: The Smithsonian offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, vacation and sick leave, holidays, health/life insurance, and accidental insurance. Please see more information concerning benefits at:


Relocations expenses are not authorized.


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Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button.
  • Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
  • Clicking the "DONE" tab does not submit your application. The "DONE" tab allows you to exit the system and save your information for completion at a later time. To submit your application, click the "FINISH" tab.
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
  • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the Contact Person listed below.


You may be required to fax supplemental documents as part of your application package. Refer to the "How to Apply" section for specific fax instructions. Please read the items below to determine which documents to fax. Each fax cover sheet is specially coded to correspond with the type of document you are submitting. Use a separate fax cover sheet for each type of document. Fax your documents to 571-258-4052. 1. A complete Curriculum Vitae (CV) and bibliography 2. Statement of research interests 3. Names and addresses of three (3) professional references who may be contacted on your behalf 3. Documentation of your education (transcripts or certificate). You may be rated INELIGIBLE if appropriate documents (including reference contact information) are not submitted by the deadline.


Mary Hebert
Phone: 617-496-7816
Fax: 617-495-7263
Agency Information:
Human Resources
60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Mail Stop 17
Cambridge, MA
Fax: 617-495-7263


What to Expect Next: After you apply, you will receive an automated acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. The staffing process to identify highly qualified candidates may take up to four weeks or more to complete. After the announcement closes and application reviews are done, you may be contacted by the hiring office if further evaluation or interviews are required. All applicants will receive written notification on the final outcome of the position.

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