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Electronics and Controls Engineer

The Observatories at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Pasadena, CA, United States
Employer Description

Founded in 1902 as a place for scientific discovery, Carnegie scientists are leaders in the fields of plant biology, developmental biology, Earth & planetary science, astronomy, and global ecology. They seek answers to questions about the structure of the universe; the formation of our Solar System and other planetary systems; the behavior and transformation of matter when subjected to extreme conditions; the origin of life; the effects of climate change on forests, oceans, and other habitats; the function of plant, animal, and microbial genomes; and the development of organisms from single-celled eggs to adults. 

We are headquartered in Washington, D.C. and have three scientific divisions split between the coasts, as well as observatories in Chile. We are an endowed, independent, nonprofit institution. Significant additional support comes from federal grants and private donations. A board of trustees oversees Carnegie’s operations. Each of division has its own scientific director who manages under the leadership of President Eric Isaacs.

Job Description

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 an experienced Electronics and Controls Engineer with experience relevant to the design, construction, and maintenance of electronics and control systems for scientific instruments that support state-of-the-art astronomical research. The individual will engage in engineering design, analysis, assembly, and testing of support electronics for astronomical telescopes, instrumentation, and focal plane assemblies, component research, engineering analysis and cost estimation for new instrumentation, and writing technical documentation for the use and maintenance of instruments and telescope operating systems. The successful applicant will be part of a small engineering team. The ability to contribute at all levels of projects from design through assembly and testing will be an important part of the applicant's responsibilities. 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.

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

Job Requirements


  • Bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering or a related field.
  • Experience with precision electro-mechanical actuators (motors and other motion devices) and data gathering.
  • Experience in analog and digital electronics design, component layout and assembly.
  • Experience in electronics chassis layout and wiring.
  • Effective written and verbal communications in English.
  • Comfort working both as part of a multidisciplinary team and independently with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to use common hand tools.
  • Ability to work at 8000 feet altitude.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally.

Desirable qualifications

  • Familiarity with Altium.
  • Familiarity with Solidworks.
  • Familiarity with implementation of computer interfaces to instrument control electronics.
  • Experience working with astronomical instrumentation and/or telescopes.
  • Experience with programmable logic controllers, EtherCAT, and/or other distributed I/O and control electronics.
  • Experience with focal plane assemblies and detectors.
  • Experience with surface-mount board assembly.
  • Verbal proficiency in Spanish.

Application Process

Only online 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.

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.

22 September 2022
22 October 2022
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors
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