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Postdoctoral Scholar in Very High-Energy Gamma-Ray Astrophysics

Position overview

Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar in Very High-Energy Gamma-Ray Astrophysics
Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience. The posted UCSC salary scales set the minimum pay based on the individual’s Experience Level, which is determined by the number of months of postdoctoral service at any institution. See the salary scale titled, Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee /Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow / Postdoctoral Scholar-Paid Direct -Fiscal Year. A reasonable estimate for this position is $64,480-77,327.
Percent time: Full-time (100%)
Anticipated start: As soon as possible after the initial review of applications. Ph.D. must be in hand at the time of initial appointment (rather than at the time of application).
Position duration: Maximum Duration of Service in a Postdoctoral Title: Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time and the initial appointment is for a minimum of two years, with the possibility of reappointment. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at any institution.

Application Window

Open date: September 1, 2023

Most recent review date: Monday, Oct 16, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Sunday, Jun 30, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

Adjunct Professor David Williams in the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for the position Postdoctoral Scholar in Very High-Energy Gamma-Ray Astrophysics. The successful candidate will be expected to take a lead role in the development of optics alignment systems for the medium-sized gamma-ray telescopes of the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO). They will also have the opportunity to participate in science studies using data from the VERITAS gamma-ray telescopes and CTAO.

UCSC is a founding member of the U.S. group participating in a worldwide effort to develop CTAO, the next generation arrays of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes to study very high-energy gamma-ray sources. The postdoctoral scholar will join a new effort by the SCIPP group, in collaboration with both U.S. and international partners, to develop optics alignment systems for the two designs of medium-sized gamma-ray telescopes that are being developed for CTAO, covering the core energy region of 100 GeV - 10 TeV. The scholar will be expected to lead laboratory work, assisted by students, to optimize the alignment system design and verify its performance. The scholar will also be expected to interface with potential vendors who will fabricate components and ultimately assist with installation on the telescopes. The SCIPP group is also working on simulating aspects of the telescope performance and array performance for CTAO and on-going studies with the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope at the Whipple Observatory, adjacent to VERITAS.

Members of the SCIPP group are active in the VERITAS Collaboration, particularly in the study of extragalactic (active galaxies and gamma-ray bursts) and multi-messenger (e.g. gravitational wave events) sources. The postdoctoral scholar will be expected to contribute to these activities or similar studies with early CTAO data.

Applicants with expertise or a strong interest in instrumentation for optics or detecting high-energy particles and/or astrophysics of gamma-ray sources are encouraged to apply.



Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

Ph.D. (or equivalent foreign degree) in experimental astrophysics, physics, astronomy, or a related field. Ph.D. must be in hand at the time of initial appointment (rather than at the time of application).

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V., which must include a list of publications.

  • Cover Letter - Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications, interest in the position, and future research directions.

Reference requirements
  • 2-3 letters of reference required

Applications must include confidential letters of recommendation*. Note that your references, or dossier service, will submit their confidential letters directly to the UC Recruit System.

*All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. For any reference letter provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service, career center), direct the author to UCSC’s confidentiality statement at

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About UC Santa Cruz

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686.

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Job location

Santa Cruz, Ca