Staff Scientist

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) invites applications for a Staff Scientist. LCO is a private, non-profit corporation, based in Santa Barbara, California.

LCO has built and operates a global network of telescopes with apertures from 40-cm to 2-m for time domain astronomy research and education.  The distribution of sites allows 24-hour monitoring of a given target and its unique robotic scheduler enables observations to be made rapidly and with great flexibility. In addition to NRES, the instrumentation includes optical imagers and low-dispersion optical spectrographs.  The LCO network is used by an in-house science staff as well as by collaborators at about a dozen partner institutions around the world, and the national communities of China, Chile, and the United States.  LCO is actively engaged in collaboration with other observatories and projects to further develop the existing network into a time-domain follow-up system for the LSST era.

We seek a scientist who will carry out a strong scientific program with our new NRES instruments, high-precision radial velocity spectrographs, in areas such as exoplanets or stellar astrophysics.  Exceptional candidates in other fields of study are also encouraged to apply.  We expect the new hire to spearhead the scientific support of the NRES instrument, as well as play a leading role in its scientific applications and advocate for it, both internally and externally.

Current research by the LCO staff includes studies of supernovae and exotic transients; exoplanets, including transits and microlensing; solar system objects; stellar astrophysics; and AGN variability.  In addition to their personal research programs, scientists are expected to spend a portion of their time helping to support the operation and improvement of the observatory, including supporting external users.  Additional information about our organization, our global observatory, and our science can be found at our website ( or by contacting Sarah Rettinger, HR Manager, at [email protected]

Requirements include a PhD in physics or astronomy.  Experience in an academic or observatory position is required.  In addition, we are looking for a scientist with the ability to develop and manage a research program and to produce significant publications.  Hands-on experience with instrumentation, particularly high-dispersion spectroscopy, would be valuable.

The new hire will benefit from LCO’s close working relationship with the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Application Details
Applications complete by December 14, 2018 will receive full consideration.  Applicants should submit a single PDF to [email protected] which includes:
1. Cover letter stating why the candidate is interested in this position and how the candidate matches the position (maximum 2 pages)
2. Curriculum vitae including publication list
3. Brief description of research interests and past research (maximum 3 pages)
4. Three letters of recommendation emailed to [email protected]

LCO is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. LCO is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity of our organization and the academic community.

Compensation and Benefits

Included Benefits

LCO offers an excellent compensation package; a competitive salary, great vacation time, and generous benefits. 

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2018 Sep 28
Application Deadline
2018 Dec 14


Human Resources