Research Scientist II, Planetary and Exoplanetary Atmospheres

Job Details

Job ID: 12485

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology invites applications for a staff Scientist in the Planetary and Exoplanetary Atmospheres group in the Planetary Science Section at JPL. In this position, you will perform observational studies of giant planet atmospheres from ground-based and airborne facilities and pursue research into the temporal and spatial structure of cloud and gas abundance distributions in the upper atmospheres of both the Gas and Ice Giants. It is expected that the successful candidate will develop an independently funded research program and will pursue new lines of research focusing on the chemistry and dynamics of the atmospheres of planets in the solar system.


This position requires the following qualifications:

  • Ph.D. degree in planetary science, planetary physics, astronomy, atmospheric chemistry or related field.
  • Demonstrated experience with telescopic observations of planetary atmospheres, including those of the Outer Planets (Ice Giants and Gas Giants), particularly as it relates to support of active missions and missions in development. Familiarity with operating procedures and principles of large ground-based and/or airborne telescopes, and success in obtaining telescopic observing time
  • Peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals in the aforementioned fields.
  • Demonstrated professional reputation as a productive researcher with a track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national and/or international conferences.

The following qualifications are preferred:

  • 3+ years’ minimum experience following the Ph.D. in research in planetary science, planetary physics, astronomy, atmospheric chemistry or related field.
  • Experience using numerical methods to retrieve temperature, cloud and gas abundance distributions in the atmosphere of the Ice Giants (Uranus/Neptune) and Gas Giants (Jupiter/Saturn).
  • Familiarity with existing software packages for retrieval of temperature profiles, cloud properties and gaseous abundance distribution
  • History of writing successful external research funding proposals
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to a broad scientific community and the public.
  • Prior involvement in activities of service to the community, including, but not limited to, review boards, telescope time allocation panels, proposal and manuscript review.

Complete applications will include a cover letter describing the applicant’s vision for their role at JPL as a leader and contributor in planetary science research, a curriculum vita including a bibliography of refereed and other work, a statement on research experience and research objectives, and contact information for at least three professional references.

Applications received by November 23, 2020 will receive full consideration.

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JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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