South Pole Machinist

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
University of Chicago
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Job Description

Job Summary 
The South Pole Machinist operates and maintains the MAPO machine shop, located in the Dark Sector Laboratory of the NSF Amundsen-Scott research station at the South Pole in Antarctica. The Machinist works as part of a team to provide on-site machinist services to scientists and engineers from several universities. A continuous stay at the South Pole, lasting approximately eleven months, is required. The position begins 1/15/25 and ends 11/30/25. 


  • Maintain and operate the MAPO machine shop. 
  • Provide machining support for all science projects and the NSF Station. 
  • Assist with the assembly and set-up of scientific equipment. 
  • Assist with the testing, integration, and maintenance of electrical and mechanical assemblies, including the power, computer, and electronic components. 
  • Climb, operate machines and power tools outside of MAPO machine shop. 
  • Other fieldwork for instrument deployment and maintenance. 
  • Provides technical and administrative support for a research project. 
  • Assists with the installation, sets up and performs experiments, interacting with students and other laboratory staff under the direction of the principal investigator. 
  • Performs other related work as needed. 

Minimum Qualifications 

  • Minimum requirements include vocational training, apprenticeships, or the equivalent experience in related field (not typically required to have a four-year degree). 

Work Experience: 

  • Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline. 

Preferred Qualifications 


  • Experience with machining and working with complex instruments. 
  • In addition, preference will be given to candidates with experience with telescopes and mechanical systems, including electrical systems, servo systems and cryogenic systems, as well as radio, analog, and digital electronics 

Preferred Competencies 

  • Good problem-solving, organization, and communication skills.  
  • Must be able to work independently and within a team environment. 
  • Planning; attention to detail; analytic and quantitative skills; reading; self-motivation; math; reasoning; ability to manage time pressures.  

Working Conditions   

  • A continuous stay at the South Pole, lasting approximately eleven months, is required.  
  • Due to the job site, good physical health is required.  
  • Must be able to work in a cold, harsh environment.  
  • Must pass physical and mental qualifying exams before employment.  
  • Must be able to Climb on the telescope, bend, reach, lift and use machines and power tools. 

 Application Documents 

  • Resume (required) 
  • Cover letter (required) 
  • References (required) 

The successful candidate will attend the NSF contractor orientation program and will be expected to pass physical and psychological evaluations required by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs. 

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.  Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-1032 or email [email protected] with their request. 

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Mar 07
Application Deadline
2024 Apr 04


Bradford Benson