Staff Scientist

California, United States
13 Feb 2020
End of advertisement period
14 Mar 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

Applications are invited for a staff position at the California Institute of Technology to work on the Wide Area Linear Optical Polarimeter (WALOP) project. Two bespoke WALOP instruments are being built to carry out an optical linear polarimetric survey (PASIPHAE: Polar-Areas Stellar Imaging in Polarization High-Accuracy Experiment) simultaneously from a northern (Skinakas, Greece) and a southern (Sutherland, South Africa) site. The high sample density (>100 stars per sq. degree), sensitivity (R< 16.5), low polarization errors (~0.1%)  and large area coverage (~1000sq. degrees) of PASIPHAE measurements, augmented by stellar distance data from GAIA and dust cloud distributions from CO maps, will allow creation of a unique tomographic map of the magnetic field structure towards the high Galactic latitude survey regions. The unprecedented combination of depth, precision and breadth will produce a legacy data set over four years of the survey.

Job Duties

  • Work as part of the international WALOP/PASIPHAE team
  • Responsible for developing instrument models for the two WALOP instruments
  • Accurate instrument models are essential to understand and eliminate the instrument systematic effects to levels acceptable for the scientific aims of the survey
  • Participate in instrument assembly, testing and commissioning on the telescopes, executing the survey and carrying out early data analysis
  • Perform other related duties as assigned

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Science or Engineering
  • Experience working in mixed optical design environment; e.g. employment of optical design tools such as Zemax integrated with Python for data generation
  • Ability to augment the capabilities and overcome the limitations of standard optical design software through first principle ray tracing techniques

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Engineering, Astronomy or allied areas
  • Prior experience in complex instrument modeling especially for polarimetry
  • Familiarity with instrument assembly, integration and testing

Required Documents


  • Publication list  
  • CV
  • Cover Letter
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose