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Postdoctoral Fellow – Upper Atmospheric RF Remote Sensing

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 “touch” 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 nation’s 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 Sun’s influence on the near-Earth environment through IMAP and other research and technology endeavors.  To learn about these APL’s mission and projects, https://civspace.jhuapl.edu/ and https://www.jhuapl.edu/OurWork/NationalSecuritySpace.


The Geospace & Earth Science Group (SRG) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow to conduct remote sensing scientific investigations of planetary atmospheres and significantly contribute to the development of innovative future RF remote sensing instrumentation.


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 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. In addition to building remote and in-situ sensing instrument capabilities, 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 Postdoctoral Fellow will conduct fundamental research in Upper Atmospheric and Ionospheric Physics, including analysis of ground- and/or space-based RF remote sensing datasets; design, development, and testing of novel future RF remote sensing instrumentation; presenting and publishing 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 and instrument opportunities.


Required Qualifications:

The successful candidate is expected to have:

  • A PhD in Physics, Atmospheric Science, Electrical Engineering or in a related technical field, or the demonstrated equivalent experience.
  • In-depth knowledge of ionosphere-thermosphere-mesosphere (ITM) science.
  • Experience in analysis and scientific interpretation of space physics data and demonstrated understanding of the workings of RF remote sensing instrumentation.
  • A record of published first author scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
  • 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. 
  • Expertise in the development and writing of proposals for spaceflight instruments and/or missions.
  • Previous experience in the design, 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. APL’s campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at http://www.jhuapl.edu/careers.

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 Accommodations@jhuapl.edu. Only by ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard are we empowered to be bold, do great things, and make the world a better place.

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