Skip to Main Content

Visiting Scientists in Astrophysics Needed


NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) seeks one or more experienced scientists to fill visiting scientist positions within the Astrophysics Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. These are two-year positions, extendible to six years, filled by scientists who take leave from their home institution. Positions are available in the following science areas: physics of the cosmos (exploring the fundamental physics of the universe and the extremes of space-time); cosmic origins (the origins and evolution of stars, galaxies, and cosmic structure); exoplanet exploration (the search for and characterization of extra-solar planetary systems and potentially habitable environments around other stars); and in astrophysics research and technology programs that cut across these science areas. At this time there is particular interest in expertise in high energy astrophysics; in science, instrumentation and technology for the far-infrared, and for ultraviolet/visible/near-infrared wavebands; and in the science of the WFIRST mission.

Visiting scientists participate primarily in the management of the Astrophysics grants programs, and also the planning, development, and management of NASA missions. They serve as Discipline Scientists to develop research solicitations, conduct scientific peer reviews, and recommend highly rated proposals for selection, and serve as Program Scientists for NASA space missions. Visiting scientists play a leadership role in developing budgets and program plans, in designing and participating in E/PO activities, and in long-range strategic plans to define the future NASA astrophysics program. They can make a difference in the execution of the overall SMD science mission, and are expected to demonstrate a high degree of initiative in doing so.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in astronomy or physics, plus relevant experience in instrumental, observational, or theoretical research. They should be familiar with NASA grants programs, and be able to communicate effectively with the scientific community, educators, and the media. Visiting scientists are normally funded via an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement with their home institution, which requires current employment with a US institution for at least 90 days.

Positions are available beginning in April 2013, though the starting date is negotiable. Interested scientists should send a curriculum vitae and cover letter by January 31, 2013 to Sheila Gorham, preferably by e-mail at, or at Mail Stop 3Y28, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 300 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20546. Please contact Sheila Gorham at 202-358-0032 for answers to questions.