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Staff Scientist - Upper Atmospheric and Ionospheric Physics

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Job Description


Over the past 25 years, the Space Exploration Sector at APL, has pushed the boundaries of what is possible; delivering game-changing impacts to sponsors like NASA and the Department of Defense. This includes historic, science space firsts like New Horizons reaching Pluto, Parker Solar Probe being the first to ďtouchĒ the sun, and the DART mission that redirected an asteroid for planetary defense. As a not-for-profit university affiliated research center, APL also delivered solutions to our nationís national security challenges, as proven with the recent Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) Tech Demo, and acts as a trusted partner with the US Space Force in space domain awareness and space-integrated warfare.

APL teams are currently developing missions that will advance the search for life in the Solar System through programs such as Europa Clipper and Dragonfly, exploring the lunar and cislunar domains, and providing fundamental knowledge of our Sunís influence on the near-Earth environment through IMAP and other research and technology endeavors.† To learn about these APLís mission and projects, and

The Geospace & Earth Science Group (SRG) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) is seeking a Staff Scientist to conduct basic scientific research in Upper Atmospheric and Ionospheric Physics.

The APL Geospace & Earth Science Group (SRG) has a broad and active basic research program that primarily focuses on data analysis studies of Earth's ionosphere and thermosphere, with specific expertise in data assimilation and working with sponsors to transition from research-to-operations. It also has significant development programs in space instrumentation and mission design. Active Civil Space missions and projects in the group include TIMED, AMPERE, SuperDARN, SuperMAG, MMS, and Lunar Vertex; missions currently in development include EZIE and IMAP. In addition, the Group is involved in multiple suborbital geospace and technology demonstration missions as well as multiple programs funded by National Security Space sponsors. The Group seeks to apply advances in modeling, simulation, and analysis capabilities afforded by increased computational power to augment and maximize the scientific understanding obtained from new and existing atmospheric and ionospheric datasets, both observational and simulated.

Job Summary:

The Staff Scientist will conduct fundamental research in Upper Atmospheric and Ionospheric Physics, including modeling, either numerical or empirical, and/or analysis of ground- and/or space-based datasets (including the potential use of machine learning techniques), presenting and publishing the research findings in peer-reviewed journals and at national and international conferences, and leading and participating in NASA and NSF grant proposals. The successful candidate will participate in the formulation and development of novel concepts for future Heliophysics mission opportunities.


Required Qualifications:

The successful candidate is expected to have:

  • A Ph.D. in physics or a related field with at least five (5) years of additional experience after Ph.D.
  • In-depth knowledge of plasma physics with expertise in modeling, data analysis, and/or scientific interpretation of space plasma physics data.
  • Demonstrated ability to obtain external funding for space-based instrumentation and/or research and analysis projects.
  • Demonstrated effective communication skills.
  • The ability to demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To ensure the safety and well-being of the community, APL has established a policy requiring that all staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. All staff members must provide proof of full vaccination or have an approved medical or religious accommodation by their start date.

Desired Qualifications:

A highly competitive candidate would benefit from having:

  • Demonstrated effective leadership and management skills and community recognition.†
  • Expertise in developing and writing proposals for spaceflight instruments and/or missions.
  • Experience in designing, building, modeling, and laboratory testing of space instrumentation.

Special Working Conditions: Travel to scientific meetings is required.

Why work at APL?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) brings world-class expertise to our nation's most critical defense, security, space and science challenges. While we are dedicated to solving complex challenges and pioneering new technologies, what makes us truly outstanding is our culture. We offer a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere where you can bring your authentic self to work, continue to grow, and build strong connections with inspiring teammates.

At APL, we celebrate our differences and encourage creativity and bold, new ideas. Our employees enjoy generous benefits, including a robust education assistance program, unparalleled retirement contributions, and a healthy work/life balance. APL's campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at

About Us

APL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, occupation, marital or familial status, political opinion, personal appearance, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

APL is committed to promoting an innovative environment that embraces diversity, encourages creativity, and supports inclusion of new ideas. In doing so, we are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals of all abilities, including those with disabilities. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate in any part of the hiring process, please contact Only by ensuring that everyoneís voice is heard are we empowered to be bold, do great things, and make the world a better place.

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