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Physics of the Cosmos News

5 November 2021

PCOS Chief Scientist Opening

The Astrophysics Science Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center invites expressions of interest in a civil servant position as a Research Astrophysicist and the Chief Scientist for the Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS). PCOS is one of three Programs within Astrophysics at NASA, along with The Cosmic Origins (COR) and Exoplanet Exploration (EXEP). The PCOS Program Office is located at Goddard.

Duties as the Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) Chief Scientist include: supporting the PCOS Program Manager in the oversight of PCOS missions in development and implementation, such as Athena and LISA; informally monitoring missions in development that are relevant to PCOS science but not formally in the PCOS Program, including IXPE and XRISM; representing the Program at astronomical conferences; Program advocacy and outreach within NASA and the astronomical community, through scientific meetings, newsletters and web updates; providing scientific advice to the PCOS Program Manager; organizing and interacting with the Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG); serving on the PCOS Technology Management Board (TMB); providing scientific input into the PCOS Program budget development process; providing scientific input into the Astrophysics Biennial Technology Report and through it to the Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT) Program in ROSES. The PCOS Chief Scientist will guide, coordinate, and take responsibility for the PCOS Deputy Chief Scientist and will work closely with the COR Chief Scientist at Goddard, the EXEP Chief Scientist at JPL, and the Astrophysics Division at NASA HQ.

Desired qualifications include a PhD degree and a scientific publication record in an astronomy, astrophysics, or cosmology discipline relevant to the PCOS science themes. Interest in the full breadth of the PCOS portfolio is also desired. PCOS seeks to address some of the most fundamental questions regarding the physical forces and laws of the universe: the validity of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and the nature of spacetime, the behavior of matter and energy in extreme environments, the cosmological parameters governing inflation and the evolution of the universe, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy. The portfolio includes microwave, X-ray, gamma ray, astroparticle, and gravitational wave astronomy and technology. It is important that the Chief Scientist be a strong communicator, willing and able to give reports and make presentations, take, and distribute notes promptly, and communicate with a broad range of people including HQ program scientists and program executives, engineers, budgetary and management staff, and the wider astrophysical community. Interest at the mid-career (GS-14) or senior (GS-15) level is welcomed; the appointment will be made at a level commensurate with the successful applicant’s experience.

Interested candidates should respond by Tuesday 30 November 2021, by sending letters of interest — including a CV, list of publications and a statement of scientific interests, plus three (3) letters of reference — electronically to Alicia Jose at 301-286-5155 or alicia.r.jose@nasa.gov. In addition, a complete application must also be submitted through USAJobs; those responding to this advertisement will be given instructions. The selection will be made by Thursday 30 December 2021.

Inquiries about the position should be directed by email to Dr. Robert Petre, ASD Director, at robert.petre-1@nasa.gov, with Subject line “PCOS COR Inquiry.”

The successful candidate will be employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an agency of the U.S. Government, at a salary scale commensurate with education and experience. NASA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer, and a diversity of candidates is sought. U.S. citizenship is required for this position.

This U.S. government civil service position includes a generous package of benefits. Information on salary, health insurance and retirement benefits is available from the Office of Personnel Management website, and from the USAJobs website.

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