This job has expired

Experimental Gravitational Wave Scientist

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California, USA
Salary and benefits provided by Caltech
Closing date
7 Aug 2022
You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Job Details

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.


Caltech is more than a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, it is a community—a community of curious and passionate individuals who collaborate to understand and solve complex scientific and societal challenges. We seek the best and brightest talent to join our workforce and become members of our community. We look for talented individuals who possess a diverse set of skills and experience to match the vast career opportunities available on campus, including researchers, finance specialists, fundraisers, food service workers, administrative associates, and information technology professionals, just to name a few.

Beyond the campus in Pasadena, California, Caltech manages NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the leading U.S. center for the robotic exploration of the solar system, and together we are Pasadena's largest employer. Caltech's reach extends globally with locations outside Pasadena in Louisiana, Washington, Hawaii, and Switzerland. We offer a collaborative and dynamic work environment, exceptional career development opportunities, competitive pay programs, great benefits, and an inclusive culture where you will have the opportunity to participate in many campus programs and activities.

If you're ready to put your unique skills and knowledge to use in an environment that fosters and values professional and personal growth, we invite you to discover the many exciting careers and benefits available here at Caltech.

Find Us
1200 E California Bld
United States
You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalised job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert