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Support Scientist in The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Guest Observer Facility (GOF)

at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

Ms. Katherine McKee (

Event Details:

Friday, September 2, 2022

Applications are now being accepted for a support scientist position in The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Guest Observer Facility (GOF) at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The position consists of an appointment in the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s (UMBC) Center for Space Sciences and Technology (CSST), funded by NASA through the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology II (CRESST II).

IXPE exploits the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources to provide insight into our understanding of X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes in other galaxies. Led by a Team at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) with international participation, IXPE was launched December 9, 2021, and has already viewed the Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. IXPE data are archived at the HEASARC at GSFC.

The support scientist is expected to become an expert user of IXPE, with a high level of knowledge of the instrument as well as the analysis software. The support scientist will assist the user community in making the best use of IXPE by testing the pipeline-processed data and software for scientific accuracy, by contributing to the creation and maintenance of documents working with the IXPE Team at MSFC, and by answering individual questions from the astronomical community. The support scientist will be responsible for acquiring community proposals and organizing and managing the IXPE Peer Review once a year. This is a full-time position, with approximately 75% of time devoted to the IXPE GOF responsibilities described above. The remainder is available for self-driven original research projects, ideally in high energy astrophysics or other science areas. All duties related to IXPE, and independent research are fully funded through this position.

Candidates applying for the position should have a Ph.D. in physics, astronomy, or a related field by the date of the appointment as well as a proven record of scientific research in X-ray astrophysics or related discipline. Candidates with proven inclination and ability to provide thorough, readable, and user-friendly documentation, and with proven management skills are particularly welcome, as well as candidates from under-represented communities. All faculty, students, and staff who are employed by UMBC through CRESST II are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of full vaccination will be required before the start of employment.

The position will remain available until filled. Applications received by Wednesday, June 15, 2022 will receive full consideration. Candidates should provide a cover letter, CV including a complete publications list, a 2-3-page statement of research interests, and contact information for three references via email to Ms. Katherine McKee (

Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. For more information about IXPE, contact Dr. Rita Sambruna ( For information on CRESST II or UMBC, contact Dr. Don Engel ( UMBC is committed to inclusive excellence and innovation and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. UMBC is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all to apply.

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