Fermilab, Scientific Computing Division

1787 21999
Application ID:FNAL-Scientific Computing Division-LSSTAP [#21999, 005716]
Application Title: Rubin Observatory/LSST Cosmological Survey - Applications Physicist I
Application Type:Other
Location:Batavia, Illinois 60510, United States [map]
Subject Areas: Astronomy
Computer Science / All areas
Appl Deadline:2022/07/22 11:59PMhelp popup (posted 2022/06/29, listed until 2022/07/22)

*** the listing date or deadline for this application has passed and new applications are no longer accepted. ***

We Are:

Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  We support discovery science experiments in Illinois and at locations around the world, including deep underground mines in South Dakota and Canada, mountaintops in Arizona and Chile, and the South Pole.

We are strategic risk takers, innovators, and collaborators. We are engineers, scientists, technicians, administrative professionals. We are 1,800 employees advancing knowledge for the benefit of humankind. Fermilab has been at the forefront of particle physics for more than 40 years. We build world-leading accelerators and detectors to conduct some of the most advanced particle physics experiments possible. We collect and analyze the data from those experiments with some of the most powerful computers in the world. We conduct this research on a 6,800-acre prairie, 35 miles outside Chicago, a treasure that has been designated a National Environmental Research Park.

Fermilab has internationally leading programs in high energy physics, neutrino physics, accelerator physics, quantum physics, and cosmological physics. We are seeking someone to work in cosmological physics. Fermilab is part of the operations team for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory currently under construction in Chile, consisting of an 8.4m telescope, a meter scale widefield CCD camera, and an international data reduction system and science platform, all aimed at carrying out the LSST imaging survey over the Southern Sky repeatedly over a 10 year period. The data will be unprecedented in scale and sensitivity to faint objects and the in the exploration of the time domain. Fermilab scientists are collaborators in the LSST/Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) which will use the LSST data to make the world’s most powerful cosmological analyses. 

This position is for an astronomer/physicist to play a critical role in the reduction of the data of LSST. The position entails working with the interim data facility on a Google Cloud platform and with the United States Data Facility (USDF) at SLAC National Laboratory, using workflows for the data reduction that span the USDF, the UK Data Facility and the France Data Facility. For the right candidate there are options to extend your responsibilities to survey strategy and progress metrics and/or to the DESC data production at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). If you come from a physics background, we want to hear about data processing across multiple sites, the grid, or the cloud, about getting databases connected to processing, about data movement, about how you managed large campaigns of simulations or processing. If you are from an astrophysical background, we want to hear about experience in large surveys, about how you dealt with data flow from the telescope to the scientist, about databases and reduction software, how you work in large, distributed teams, and how fast you learn unfamiliar software systems that perform the astronomy you do understand. The position comes with a 20% research fraction for the time spent on Rubin operations. 

You Will: 

  • Perform the 7-step processing flow of the Rubin LSST data reductions, grouped into campaigns and that run throughout the year. 
  • Work with the Rubin developed Butler metadata catalog, the Brookhaven National Laboratory supported PanDA workflow system, and the CERN developed Rucio data management engine to perform the campaigns. 
  • Develop relationships with the data production group at Fermilab, the USDF at SLAC, and the Rubin Operations team in Tuscon, University of Washington, and Princeton. 
  • Be part of the survey cosmology scientist community at Fermilab 

We Are Looking For:  

  • PhD in physics, astronomy, or computer science with 3 years of experience 
  • Experience in large scale data production, complex science workflows or rich data ecosystems 
  • Ability to bring scientific understanding to complex reduction problem
  • Ability to provide technical advice to software developers and scientific developers on the technical aspects of the LSST data production, including methods, troubleshooting, interpreting results and planning 
  • Extensive knowledge in Python or C++ and database experience

Applicable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Preferred: 

  • Expertise with GitHub ecosystem and methodologies 
  • Proficiency with container production development and management, e.g. Docker, Kubernetes 
  • Proficiency with infrastructure as code technologies, e.g., Puppet, Terraform 
  • Proficiency with observational spherical astronomy 
  • Proficiency with the NERSC development and computation environment


FRA encourages all employees to be fully vaccinated and boosted to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and to mitigate against severe illness from infection. Upon employment with FRA, all employees must state their vaccination status. Please note that all vaccination and testing requirements are subject to change. Testing of unvaccinated employees may be required for Fermilab site access, depending on community transmission levels.

Fermilab is an Equal Opportunity Employer and believes a diverse and inclusive environment based on mutual respect is essential to our mission. Fermilab is committed to recruiting and developing the most hardworking people and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, country of birth, geography/postal code, disability, marital status, parental or gestational status, or other non-merit factor.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the description.

Further Info:
Fermilab MS 116
P.O. Box 500
Batavia, IL 60510