California University of Technology
Richland, Washington State, United States
01 Mar 2017
End of advertisement period
29 Mar 2017
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled detector scientist to join its team, at the Richland, Washington LIGO Hanford Observatory. LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2015 LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first ever successful observation of the birth of a black hole. In addition to research and development (R&D) sites on the Caltech and MIT campuses, LIGO consists of two widely separated (3,002 km), 4 kilometer-long interferometers operated as a phased detector. One (LIGO Hanford Observatory) is located north of Richland, Washington and the other (LIGO Livingston Observatory) is in Livingston, Louisiana. The Laboratory maintains a vigorous R&D program, in parallel to running the observatories, to further enhance the capabilities of the LIGO detectors. For more information, visit the Laboratory website at

Job Duties

Duties and responsibilities of the Scientist position at LIGO Hanford Observatory include:
• Working as part of LIGO’s commissioning and detector characterization teams, contribute to the improvement of the 4km detector and prepare it for observation running conditions.
Activities include:
• Study, document and improve the detector’s sensing and control systems, including both servo-control stability and noise performance.
• Study, document and ameliorate coupling of environmental disturbance into the detector systems.
• Study, document and compare with physical models fundamental and technical noise sources in the detector.
• Serve as a resource and offer training and assistance to the detector engineering team before and during observation runs.
• Collaborate on, and contribute to, Instrument Science-based research with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
• Plan, prepare, and review scientific and technological publications based on LIGO work.
• Other duties as assigned.

Basic Qualifications

•A Ph.D. in laser interferometry, or related field
•Three years of experience in gravitational wave physics
•Experience working in a multi-disciplinary research environment
•Level-headed, team-oriented, and collegial, work and communications styles
•Occasionally lift 20 or more pounds, typically in the form of scientific apparatus such as spectrum analyzers.
•After-hours and weekend work is occasionally required to support commissioning efforts.
• Must be able to occasionally travel to collaboration meetings, conferences, visits to the LIGO Louisiana Observatory, and Caltech and MIT campuses.

Preferred Qualifications

•Knowledge and hands-on experience with the design or operation of interferometric gravitational-wave detectors.
•Knowledge and hands-on experience with precision electronic circuit design and/or characterization; with precision electro-mechanical system design and/or characterization; and with precision optical system design and/or characterization.
•Knowledge of, or experience with the astrophysics of gravitational-wave sources.
•Knowledge and experience with astrophysical analysis of gravitational-wave detector data.
•Knowledge and experience with calibration of gravitational-wave detectors.
•Knowledge and experience with the characterization of noise performance and environmental noise coupling to precision instrumentation and apparatus.
•Successful experience developing and executing data reduction pipelines for complex precision measurement systems.

Supervisory position? No

Posting Detail Information

Posting Open Date 02/28/2017
Posting Close Date
Open Until Filled

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.