Experimental Gravitational Wave Scientist

Pasadena, California, USA
Salary and benefits provided by Caltech
08 Jul 2022
07 Aug 2022

Job Summary

The success of the LIGO observatories relies on a continuous R&D effort to characterize and improve the detectors sensitivity.

The successful candidate will collaborate with the Caltech Instrument Science team, as well with the teams at the LIGO Hanford and Livingston Observatories and at MIT.

As a Research Scientist, you will have the opportunity to apply your skills to the development, design and implementation of technologies that increase the Advanced LIGO detector sensitivity and robustness. This is a highly multidisciplinary activity. Your interests and passions will play a role in defining on which research aspect you will focus primarily: design and implement technologies and algorithms to reduce the noise sources that limit the current detector sensitivity; carry out R&D projects for future gravitational wave detectors; laboratory work; optical and mechanical design; high precision metrology; advanced signal processing and feedback control design and implementation, are among the many topics that are involved in the duties of a Research Scientist at the LIGO laboratory. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge to many different parts and aspects of the Advanced LIGO detectors, and there will be many opportunities to develop new skills and expertise.

Essential Job Duties

  • Support the cutting edge R&D and commissioning program at the LIGO laboratory aimed at improving the detector sensitivity and duty cycle, in collaboration with scientists and engineers in the LIGO Laboratory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
  • Develop techniques and algorithms to characterize and remove noise sources.
  • Design, construct and operate table-top experiments to test new technologies and ideas for current and future gravitational-wave instruments.
  • Develop optical and mechanical models of the Advanced LIGO detectors.
  • Initiate or collaborate in writing research papers and technical presentations. 
  • Present research results and highlights at 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 field; or a Bachelor’s degree or above with 10 years equivalent experience.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in working with optical systems, and/or scientific data analysis, and/or feedback control systems, and/or signal processing.
  • Experience with the design and/or operation of optical and laser systems, interferometry and high-precision metrology.
  • Possess good verbal and written communication skills, a team attitude, and a high degree of professional discipline.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Proficiency with scientific computation, simulation and data analysis in python or equivalent language.
  • Experience working with gravitational wave interferometers
  • Familiarity with Machine Learning techniques
  • Experience with simulation software of optical and mechanical systems
  • Familiarity with good practices for software development

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.