Position Description

Research Scientist
Job Category Fulltime Regular
ExemptOvertimeEligible Exempt
Benefits Eligible Benefit Based
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Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Research Scientist to join its team working at modeling, design, R&D, construction and operation of world-leading gravitational-wave interferometric detectors.

This position is located in Pasadena, California.

LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to observing the newly discovered gravitational-wave universe. Jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the LIGO Laboratory operates world-leading observatories near Richland, WA and Baton Rouge, LA as well as R&D centers on the Caltech and MIT campuses. The LIGO Laboratory’s mission spans a broad and vibrant array of activities related to gravitational-wave physics and astronomy, including detector operations, R&D toward detector improvements, gravitational-wave astrophysics, observatory operations, and education and public outreach.

For more information, please visit the Laboratory website: www.ligo.caltech.edu 

Essential Job Duties

As a Research Scientist in the LIGO Laboratory, you will have the opportunity to apply your skills to the design and implementation of technologies that increase the LIGO detector sensitivity and astrophysical reach, and to the development of the future interferometric detectors of the next decades. This is a highly multidisciplinary activity and your interests and passions will play a role in defining which research aspect you will focus primarily on. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge to many different parts and aspects of the current and future LIGO detectors, and there will be many opportunities to develop new skills and expertise.

  • Develop and maintain accurate optical models and simulations of the LIGO detectors, to support the operation and commissioning of the LIGO detectors.
  • Coordinate the LIGO laboratory interferometer modeling efforts, including by mentoring and training staff on simulations.
  • Support the current and future upgrades to the LIGO detectors, by providing guidance and support to the design, installation and commissioning activities, both remotely and by traveling to the observatories.
  • Collaborate in the design of the future medium and long term upgrades to gravitational-wave detectors, with a focus on the optical system.
  • Collaborate in R&D for current and future gravitational-wave detector technologies.
  • Initiate or collaborate in writing research papers and technical presentations for national and international conferences.
  • This position requires occasional travel to other LIGO installations and collaborating institutions in Livingston Louisiana, Hanford Washington, Cambridge Massachusetts, and possibly internationally. 
  • Other duties as assigned.

 Basic Qualifications

  • A PhD in Physics, Engineering, Optics, or related experimental field.
  • A minimum of 3 years of experience as an experimental physicist or equivalent laboratory setting, working on modeling, simulation and construction of optical systems.
  • Experience using and developing optical simulation of interferometers.
  • Experience in the commissioning and troubleshooting of complex experimental systems.
  • Experience with scientific computations and modeling using MATLAB, python or similar tools.
  • Possess good verbal and written communication skills, a team attitude, and a high degree of professional discipline.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with the design and characterization of optical systems for gravitational-wave interferometric detectors.
  • Experience with the modeling of complex physics systems and comparing them with measurement data.
  • Experience with the commissioning of gravitational-wave interferometers.

Required Documents 

  • Cover Letter and Resume
  • Please also provide up to 5 recent publications that highlight your contribution to research topics that are relevant for this position.

Hiring Range

$66,600 - $103,300 Per Year

The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.

As one of the largest employers in Pasadena, CA, Caltech is committed to providing comprehensive benefits to eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Our benefits package includes competitive compensation, health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement savings plans, generous paid time off (vacation, holidays, sick time, parental leave, bereavement, etc.), tuition reimbursement, and more. Non-benefit eligible employees will have access to some benefits such as onsite counseling and sick time. Learn more about our benefits and staff perks

EEO Statement

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

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at employment@caltech.edu

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