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Instrument scientist for the Solar-C and Solar Orbiter missions

100%, fixed-term

The Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich, hosts a solar astrophysics group. The lead, Louise Harra, is also director at PMOD/WRC in Davos. The position is based at PMOD/WRC in Davos Dorf, Switzerland. Founded in 1907, PMOD/WRC is concerned with the study of solar radiation and its effect on the Earth's climate. PMOD/WRC has been involved in space instrumentation since the 1980s, including the spectrometer SPICE and the EUV Imager EUI onboard the ESA Solar Orbiter mission, and the future Solar Spectral Irradiance Monitor onboard the JAXA Solar-C mission. 

Project background

This position is based around two space missions - one that has started it science phase (Solar Orbiter) and the other (Solar-C) is in the build phase due to be launched in 2027. The missions are focussing on understanding solar activity and its impact. PMOD/WRC were involved in the design and build of two instruments onboard Solar Orbiter (SPICE and EUI), and are actively engaged in the data analysis focussing on the sources of the solar wind and solar flares. PMOD/WRC are PI of the Solar Spectral Irradiance monitor (SoSPIM) on the JAXA Solar-C mission. The instrument is designed to study two wavebands of irradiance, which impact different layers of the Earth's atmosphere. 

Job description

The instrument scientist will take part in the following four workpackages (WP). These are all carried out within international teams, requiring good teamwork and communication. 

  1. Solar Orbiter Operations: develop clear observing plans for the instruments that coordinate together and take into consideration current constraints of the spacecraft and instruments.  Develop observing plans with other institutes and facilities (e.g. Hinode, IRIS, DKIST), and plan these well in advance. 
  2. Solar Orbiter EUI/SPICE instrument calibration:  assessing the data quality, and determining corrections where needed. 
  3. Solar-C Solar Spectral Irradiance Monitor scientific requirements:  coordinate with the instrument and science team to ensure that the instrument design is optimised to the science requirements. This will include involvement in calibration at different stages. 
  4. Solar-C Solar Spectral Irradiance Monitor: work with the PI to develop the science cases and preparatory work for the science return of the instrument, engaging the international community. 

Your profile

It is expected that you will have a PhD or MSc in a relevant field with a strong background in physics. Experience in solar space data is desirable. The solar data analysis and calibration software packages are in IDL and python, so experience in one of these is desirable. 

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV
  • Summary of how your experience fits with the four workpackages for the job

The job will be funded 50% at ETH and 50% at PMOD/WRC.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about PMOD/WRC can be found on our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Louise Harra, email: (no applications).

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

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