Astronomy – Research Associate Professor (AA16404)

Position Overview

Organization: College of Arts and Sciences, Astronomy

Title : Research Associate Professor

Search Number : AA16404

Position Details

Research Assistant or Research Associate Professor of Astronomy, University of Washington

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a planned, large-aperture, wide-field, ground-based telescope that will survey half the sky every few nights in six optical bands. It will create the world’s first high-definition movie of the universe, detect hazardous asteroids, help uncover the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, and more. With an 8-meter class telescope, a 3.2 gigapixel camera with a 2-second readout, and a state-of-the-art petascale data management system, the LSST will process, archive, and distribute over 15 TB of data produced every night. Once completed, the LSST will be the largest and most modern optical survey project ever built.

The LSST Data Management system will be constructed by a team of about 50 members residing at partner institutions across the United States and Chile. It will include a data processing system spanning two continents, new state-of-the-art image processing algorithms, petascale computing clusters with tens of thousands of cores, large distributed databases, and next-generation analysis toolkits, among others. All LSST DM code is free software (GPL v3), written in modern Python and C++.

The University of Washington (UW) LSST team is responsible for the development of the algorithms and software that will analyze this nightly data stream (including the detection and characterization of transients, variables, and moving sources). To support this work at UW, we are soliciting applications for the position of Research Assistant or Research Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy. University of Washington faculty engage in teaching, research and service. The successful candidate will lead the LSST data management group at UW, and is expected to play a leading role in the development of the software for the nightly processing of the LSST data (including, but not limited to, the development of algorithms for image subtraction, the detection of transient and variable sources, and the characterization of transient and variable sources) and the application of the LSST Data Management system to simulated and precursor survey data. Pending appointment renewal, external funding to support this position is anticipated to be available for up to the duration of LSST construction (8 years), with the potential opportunity for continuation into Survey Operations (10 years).

The ideal candidate is an astronomer with strong interest in large surveys, hands-on experience with development of astronomical software, and the potential to lead a highly skilled team. A PhD in physics, astronomy, computer science or foreign equivalent in a related field is required. Strong C++ and Python skills, and experience with the development and application of image subtraction techniques to large astronomical surveys are preferred.

Please send a statement of professional interests, CV, bibliography, and the names of at least three people who may be contacted for letters of reference. Application reviews will begin immediately, and continue through March 1, 2016 or until the position is filled. Documents will be accepted electronically in a single pdf file sent to the attention of Mario Juric, search committee chair, at, with subject line “research faculty application (your name)”.

The University of Washington is proud to be one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research, and community service. Our faculty not only enjoy outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty.

The University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.