Instrumentation Engineer

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science is a world-class astronomical research organization headquartered in Pasadena, California and operating telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Our scientists study extrasolar planets, nearby stars, the Milky Way and its neighbors, distant galaxies, and the cosmological structure and formation of the universe. To support these efforts, we operate an instrument development laboratory to produce research tools including optical and infrared imagers and spectrographs, detector systems, and telescopes at all scales. Current projects include instrumentation for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey V, our 1-meter, 2.5-meter and 6.5-meter telescopes, and the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope.

We seek a full-time individual with technical education and/or experience relevant to the design, construction, and maintenance of scientific instruments that support state-of-the-art astronomical research. The successful applicant will work with staff engineers and scientists to produce and maintain the current and next generations of astronomical instruments and telescopes, with opportunities to contribute at all levels including design, fabrication, assembly, and testing. The ideal candidate will begin with a demonstrated background of proficiency in a relevant technical field, but should be enthusiastic about expanding the breadth of their focus into new areas in order to maximally complement the skills of our collaborative and multidisciplinary team. An exciting and satisfying aspect of this work is the opportunity to learn and contribute broadly to the development of complex systems that support a grand scientific mission.

The position is based in Pasadena, California, but will occasionally require both domestic and international travel.


  • A strong interest in personal growth to expand knowledge of the theory and practice of physics and astronomy instrumentation that includes optics assembly, vacuum systems, mechanical mechanisms, low noise electronics, logistics, and more
  • Bachelor’s degree, or Associate degree in an engineering or technical field
  • Strong manual and visual skills to support instrument assembly
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally
  • Ability to work at 8000 feet elevation
Desired skills and qualifications
  • Experience with electronic circuit design and analysis, surface-mount board assembly, and electronics chassis layout and wiring
  • Experience with solid modeling software and common machine shop practices

Application Process

At Carnegie, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We believe academic environments should be places where diverse groups of people with a variety of viewpoints and ideas can thrive and work together. As such, we encourage applicants from under-represented groups and backgrounds to apply. The Carnegie Institution is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of gender, race/ethnicity, protected veteran status, disability, or other protected group status. Only electronic applications submitted through our website will be considered.

Application acceptance will continue until the position is filled. No phone calls please. Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted, and only online applications submitted through our website will be considered.


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