The Research Scientist will take a leading role in participating in and supporting one or more of the scientific experiments being performed at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The Research Scientist will support experiments at SURF by serving as a liaison between the science experiments and SURF operations to ensure the SURF research program is of the highest quality. The Research Scientist’s responsibilities will include work on the surface as well as underground at one of the main laboratory campuses. The Research Scientist may also supervise other Laboratory support staff or students as required. The position reports to the Science Director and will be based in Lead, SD.
Functional Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)
Serve as a formal collaborator in at least one of the SURF experiments with significant responsibilities.
Gain and apply expert knowledge of detector systems.
Provide guidance and take leadership role in matters of safety, including operating and emergency procedures. Initiate system modifications.
Direct work of others.
Participate in scientific, technical and safety reviews of experiments.
Provide technical expertise in major areas.
Develop and review detailed procedures including during installation and commissioning, operations and decommissioning.
Diagnose complex operational problems and implement resolutions.
Assist with the installation and commissioning of scientific equipment as needed.
Perform analyses of scientific data.
Advanced degree (e.g., PhD or equivalent) in experimental particle or nuclear physics.
A minimum of 3 years experience in underground experiments required.
Experimental physics, including complex instrumentation and systems.
Demonstrated ability through publications and experience to design, build and operate apparatus for underground experiments.
Customer Service – Ability to interact courteously and demonstrate sensitivity to and respect for a diverse population.
Attention to Detail – Ability to pay careful attention to details and complete tasks in an accurate, complete, and timely manner.
Organization – Ability to prioritize tasks, manage time, keep order, and coordinate a variety of activities.
Adaptability – Ability to effectively adjust to changing priorities and demands.
Communications—Communicates effectively and clearly with a wide range of audiences in both written and oral form. Communicates complex and highly technical topics for all to understand.
Decision Making – Ability to assess situations, evaluate options, and choose most appropriate course of action.
Initiative – Ability to assess situations and conditions and make suggestions for improvements.
Safety – Ability to learn and comply with the Sanford Laboratory's safety programs.
Successful incumbent will be required to:
Occasionally manipulate heavy items.
Work in all types of conditions (heat, humidity, wet, cold).
Occasionally work from ladders, scaffolding, and in confined places.
Operate heavy equipment (e.g., material handling and transportation devices).
Operate hand and power tools.
Work shifts, weekends, holidays and callouts as scheduled.
Provide proof of a valid driver’s license.
The South Dakota Science & Technology Authority (SDSTA) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to the development of a diverse workforce. Applicants are invited to self-identify as an individual with a disability or as a protected veteran. Forms are available on the website www.sanfordlab.org/careers or upon request from Human Resources.
About South Dakota Science & Technology Authority
The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.
Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committe...d more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.
In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.
In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.
The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis's experiment in the 1960s. In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.
Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.
The Sanford Underground Research Facility currently employs 124 full time employees and 24 temporary employees.
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