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Postdoctoral Research Associate for Rubin Observatory Data Analysis

Job ID 2651 Date posted 05/26/2021

Brookhaven National Laboratory ( delivers discovery science and transformative technology to power and secure the nation’s future. Brookhaven Lab is a multidisciplinary laboratory with seven Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, 37 R&D 100 Awards, and more than 70 years of pioneering research. The Lab is primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) operates and manages the Laboratory for DOE. BSA is a partnership between Battelle and The Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of Stony Brook University.

Organizational Overview

The mission of the Instrumentation Division is to develop state-of-the-art instrumentation required for experimental research programs at Brookhaven Lab and to maintain the expertise and facilities in specialized high technology areas essential for this work. Development of facilities is motivated by present Brookhaven research programs and anticipated future directions of research. Our work has a significant impact on programs throughout the world that rely on state-of-the-art radiation detectors and readout electronics.

Position Description

Brookhaven National Laboratory provided the focal plane components for the 3.2 Gpixel Camera of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, previously referred to as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Rubin Observatory is an astronomical observatory currently under construction in Chile which will conduct a novel decade-long cosmic survey, photographing the entire available sky every few nights with unprecedented sensitivity and wavelength coverage. Rubin Observatory seeks to enable science in four main areas: the nature of Dark Matter and understanding Dark Energy, cataloging the Solar System, exploring the changing sky, and Milky Way structure and formation.

As a member of the Rubin Observatory science verification and validation team, you will work with CCD images produced by the LSST Camera (both simulated and actual) to ensure that project data quality requirements are met, and to identify improvements to the operating parameters and instrument signature removal pipeline to adjust for observed deviations. Currently, the Camera is undergoing final assembly and integration, which will be followed by a commissioning period prior to the start of full science operations. During the integration period a large set of laboratory imaging data is being acquired and will be used to optimize the operating conditions for the CCDs. In addition, a 1/25-scale Commissioning Camera will soon begin image taking including on-sky data from the full telescope. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Become familiar with Rubin Observatory data quality metrics
  • Prepare and execute analysis scripts to process image data sets and verify compliance with requirements
  • Store data and codes on a shared repository that can be accessed by the research team
  • Produce technical reports with image data summaries in appropriate tabular and graphic formats
  • Interact with team members to discuss analysis issues and results
  • Communicate results and methods through presentations and publications.

Position Requirements

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

You are qualified for this position if you have:

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy, Data Science, or related field within the past five years or will complete this degree prior to starting the position
  • 2+ years’ experience working with large scientific data sets
  • Familiarity with astronomical telescopes and cameras
  • Basic knowledge of the principles of operation of CCD sensors
  • In-depth knowledge of scientific computing using Python advanced data structures
  • Ability to summarize and organize data for publication and presentations
  • Willingness to work in a project-structured environment with defined tasks and milestones
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with technical and scientific staff

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

You are well-matched to this position if you have:

  • Cosmology background
  • Experience working with astronomical CCD images
  • Detailed understanding of CCD construction, operation, and standard characterizations
  • Good understanding of analog and digital readout electronics

Other Information:

  • Domestic and international travel will be required
  • BNL policy requires that research associate appointments be made to individuals who have received their doctorate within the past five years
  • Initial two-year term appointment subject to renewal contingent on performance and funding 

At Brookhaven National Laboratory, we believe that a comprehensive employee benefits program is an important and meaningful part of the compensation employees receive. Our benefits program includes, but is not limited to:

  • Medical, Dental, and Vision Care Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Paid Time-off and Leave Programs (vacation, holidays, sick leave, paid parental leave)
  • 401(k) Plan
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Tuition Assistance, Training and Professional Development Programs
  • Employee Fitness/Wellness & Recreation:  Gym/Basketball Courts, Weight Room, Fitness Classes, Indoor Pool, Tennis Courts, Sports Clubs/Activities (Basketball, Table Tennis, Softball, Tennis)

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is an equal opportunity employer that values inclusion and diversity at our Lab.We are committed to ensuring that all qualified applicants receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, status as a veteran, disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

BNL takes affirmative action in support of its policy and to advance in employment individuals who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.We ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment.Please contact us to request accommodation.

*VEVRAA Federal Contractor

Brookhaven employees are subject to restrictions related to participation in Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, as defined and detailed in United States Department of Energy Order 486.1A. You will be asked to disclose any such participation at the time of hire for review by Brookhaven. The full text of the Order may be found at:

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