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Postdoctoral Fellowship for Rubin Research

Las Cumbres Observatory’s global, robotic telescope network was custom-built specifically for time-domain astronomy. Our 25 robotic telescopes provide instant access to the sky in both hemispheres. Postdoctoral Fellows at LCO join a unique environment that is a public/private partnership conceived from some of the best ideas at companies like Google and Apple, but in an academic setting consisting of in-house scientists and engineers. Our staff scientists lead a diverse range of research into microlensing by exoplanets and compact objects (Rachel Street); the characterization of explosive transients, tidal disruption events, and gravitational waves (Andy Howell); and Solar System astronomy, particularly Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and comets (Tim Lister). They have established multi-national networks of collaborators where the successful applicant would be welcomed as a partner.

LCO scientists are active contributors to preparations for Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time, LSST, which promises to be transformative for all areas of astrophysics, particularly time domain astronomy. Several staff members are leading contributors in the Rubin Science Collaborations, and Rachel Street co-chairs the Transient and Variable Stars Science Collaboration. She has also been involved in preparations for the Nancy G. Roman Space Mission’s Galactic Bulge Time Domain Survey.

LCO seeks to recruit a scientist interested in advancing a research program centered around microlensing discoveries by LSST. The LCO Network is ideally suited to respond to alerts of new discoveries, and has formed partnerships with larger-aperture telescopes through the AEON network in readiness for LSST.

LCO postdoctoral scholars have the opportunity to gain experience and familiarity with all aspects of these surveys, and will be well positioned to explore the scientific results from LSST as it becomes operational in the near future. LCO postdocs also benefit greatly from interactions with the Astro group at UC Santa Barbara. LCO participates in an active outreach program, co-sponsoring Astronomy on Tap in Santa Barbara with UCSB. Fellows can also look to Wayne Rosing, the LCO founder and a former Vice President at Google, for both his technical expertise and life experience in management at Apple, Sun, and Google.

LCO leads astronomy in enabling responsive, real-time observing programs for a wide range of science, and in making our advanced observing software tools available to the wider community. For example, LCO’s TOM Toolkit package is designed to make it easy for anyone to take advantage of these tools, and customize a powerful observing database system to their own science goals. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to enhance their software skills in partnership with our professional software engineers.

Applicants should submit the following to lcojobs@lco.global by November 16, 2022.

  • cover letter
  • curriculum vitae
  • research statement of no more than 3 pages
  • names and contact information for three referees that can provide letters of reference

All documents should be in a single PDF file. Applications received by November 16, 2022 will receive full consideration. A Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline is required by the start of employment.

The postdoctoral appointment will be for a three-year term starting in September 2023 or earlier. The successful applicant will be an employee of LCO and the position comes with an employee benefits package and support for travel, page charges, and computing. The starting salary is $70,000. LCO is a private, non-profit corporation, based in Santa Barbara, California.

LCO is an Equal Opportunity employer. Our mission is to advance our understanding of the universe through science and education with our unique global telescope network. Our culture is global by nature and inclusive by design. Our people come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, providing the fuel that powers innovation and the success of our mission. We are actively engaged in building and nurturing a culture that is welcoming and inclusive of people from diverse backgrounds with regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability and veteran status.

COVID-19 Policy Update: COVID-19 vaccination is required for office-based staff.