12 days old

LIGO Operations Specialist

California Institute of Technology
Livingston, Louisiana 70754
  • Job Type

LIGO Operations Specialist


Job Category: Fulltime Regular
Exempt Overtime Eligible: Exempt
Benefits Eligible: Benefit Based

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.

Job Summary
LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Operations Specialist to join its team. LIGO is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The current generation of advanced interferometers came on line in 2015 and shortly afterwards LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first observation of the birth of a black hole; this achievement led to the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics to its founders. LIGO consists of two widely separated (3,002 km), 4 kilometer-long interferometers operating as a single, phased detector. One (LIGO Hanford Observatory) is located north of Richland, Washington and the other (LIGO Livingston Observatory) is in Livingston, Louisiana. Concurrent to observatory operations, the Laboratory maintains a vigorous R&D program, primarily centered at the Caltech and MIT campuses, to further enhance the capabilities of the LIGO detectors. For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at http:\\\www.ligo.caltech.edu.

The successful candidate will join the existing LIGO operations specialist team and share responsibility for the optimization, operation and maintenance of the interferometers and associated infrastructure at the LIGO Livingston Observatory, a component of the worldwide network to detect and study gravitational waves from astrophysical sources.

The work location is at the LIGO Livingston Observatory, near Livingston, Louisiana.

Job Duties
- Report to LLO Operations Specialist Team leader
- Assist the Detector Engineering Group with continuous improvement of operation and maintenance processes
- Implement detector system upgrades and improvements
- Carry out work as an operator of the LIGO Livingston Observatory; this work will include 24-hour monitoring and adjustment of interferometer systems and associated observatory equipment and facilities to deliver optimal performance and data integrity during Engineering and Science observations
- Complete detailed pass down report in electronic log for all operational issues during shift
- Complete Core and Advanced Operators training and certification and in so doing develop a working knowledge of how to operate and maintain the interferometers and support systems i.e. Advanced LIGO optics, electro-mechanical components, electronic controls, data acquisition and control hardware and software through on-the-job experience, training and interaction with LIGO staff and visitors
- Execute daily system performance checking, calibration, maintenance and upgrade of instrumentation at the Observatory
- Escalate operational fault issues to Detector Engineering Group using fault report system
- Support upgrade and maintenance program established with the Detector team leader, including the interferometers, infrastructure, support equipment and other apparatus as required
- Assist with preventive maintenance program, including the procurement and storage of detector spares and regular physical inventory audits of detector spares
- Participate in physical characterization of instrumental signatures in the interferometer data and assist with the development of operational techniques and analysis methods to discriminate these signatures
- Maintain all general and job specific safety certifications and carry out specific safety inspections. Report to site safety manager for all safety issues
- Participate in scientific and educational activities of the observatory, including detector science and astrophysical investigations and outreach
- Assist in development of new technologies, protocols and methods to support the observatory's continuing mission
- These efforts may require occasional travel to other LIGO installations and collaborating institutions
- Lift equipment and/or instruments weighing 20 or more pounds
- Other duties as assigned

Basic Qualifications
- BS in physical science or engineering or equivalent experience
- 2 years of experience developing, testing or operating scientific or other precision instrumentation, or equivalent coursework and laboratory experience
- Proficiency with standard office computing applications (e.g., Word, Excel, and web applications)
- Excellent English language written and oral communication skills
- Ability to evaluate, describe and act on quantitative information, which normally involves mathematical calculations
- Strong teamwork skills and an ability to collaborate with coworkers having diverse skills and backgrounds
- An aptitude and enthusiasm to learn new skills, and to assist and train others
- Ability to follow complex procedures in timely manner
- Proactive approach to work quality and completion
- Safety oriented
- Must have a valid driver's license at the start of employment and maintain it throughout the course of employment
- Must be able to lift equipment and/or instruments weighing 20 or more pounds
- Must be able to travel occasionally, via airplane to other installations and collaborating institutions
- Must be able to work a varied schedule during observing runs including evenings, overnights, weekends, and holidays

Preferred Qualifications
- Technical experience with lasers, optics, analog or digital electronics, cleanroom protocols, or high vacuum technology will be advantageous
- Experience working in an observatory or other production laboratory environment
- Experience in laser engineering or opto-mechanical systems design
- Familiarity with some scientific modeling and analysis applications, such as MATLAB, Mathematica, SPICE; the C programming language; the UNIX operating system
- Proficiency with 2D and 3D CAD software (such as ACAD and SolidWorks)
- Finite element analysis experience
- Electronics assembly, testing or troubleshooting experience
- Experience with EPICS databases, scripts for automating tasks, and the ability to develop and create GUIs
- Experience in software development or testing
- Familiarity with some scientific modeling and analysis applications, such as MATLAB, Mathematica, SPICE; the C programming language; the UNIX operating system
- Proficiency with 2D and 3D CAD software (such as ACAD and SolidWorks)

Required Documents
- Resume
- Cover Letter

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link: https://hr.caltech.edu/work/job_openings

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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  • Lasers and Electro-Optics
  • Management

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LIGO Operations Specialist

California Institute of Technology
Livingston, Louisiana 70754

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California Institute of Technology
Livingston, Louisiana

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