see also: UT Austin Job Search

A full list of employment opportunities with both the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory can be found at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/hr/jobs/nlogon/search/0/. For openings at the Observatory, enter 'McDonald' as the Hiring Department. Listings will include both Austin and Fort Davis, TX.

Please also see Fellowships.


Scientific Instrument Maker II - Machinist

Hiring department McDonald Observatory 
Monthly salary $3,500+ depending on qualifications
Hours per week 40.00 Flexible from 700AM to 600PM
Posting number 17-08-14-01-4341
Job Status Open
FLSA status Non-exempt
Earliest Start Date 09/01/2017
Position Duration Funding expected to continue
Position open to all applicants
Location Austin (main campus)
Number of vacancies 1

General Notes

Applicants selected for interview are encouraged to bring samples of their work if available.

Required Application Materials

* A Resume is required in order to apply
* A Letter of Interest is required in order to apply.
* A List of 3 References is required in order to apply.

Additional Information


Fabricate precision parts from drawings and solid models using manual and CNC machine tools.

Essential Functions

Produce high-quality, precision parts in an efficient and timely manner  using manual and CNC machine tools, CAM software, and personal judgment  and initiative to match the machining process, layout, and setup to the  job, including designing and building fixtures and jigs when necessary.  Assemble, modify, repair, and maintain instruments and equipment for the  Observatory, the shop and the Astronomy department. Assist researchers  and design personnel in planning instrument design and construction with practical knowledge based on shop experience. Maintain general use  perishable tools, and instruct students and others using the machine  shop as needed. Remain current on new manufacturing methods, practices,  and tools.

Marginal/Incidental functions

Other related functions as assigned.

Licenses: Class "C" Operator's Driver's License. Applicant selected must provide a current three year Driving Record from the current state of residence. If not currently a Texas resident, must obtain a Texas Driver's License within 30 days after entering Texas as a new resident.

Required qualifications

High school graduation or GED supplemented by or including vocational machine shop and other technical courses such as mathematics, physics and blueprint reading. Three years of experience as an instrument maker or machinist beyond the apprentice level. Lathe, milling machines, shaper, planer, drill press, welding equipment, micrometers, and other  precision measuring devices. Experience programming CNC machines using  manual G-code entry and/or CAM software, setup and operate CNC machines,  and using PC computers to run programs and save files. Ability to work  independently, work under pressure, accept supervision, maintain a  professional demeanor, work as a team member without day-to-day  supervision, and effectively communicate with supervisors, co-workers,  and customers. Regular and punctual attendance. Equivalent combination  of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.
Preferred Qualifications

Five or more years of experience as a machinist, instrument maker, or tool and die maker. Five or more years of experience programming and  operating CNC mills, lathes, and wire EDM machines (specifically, Hurco,  HAAS, and Fanuc WEDM), and planning, laying out, and setting up tooling,  jigs, and fixtures to fabricate single-part or multi-part jobs. Three or  more years experience using MasterCAM software to program CNC machines.  Knowledge of solid modeling software (specifically, Inventor and  SolidWorks), MasterCAM post processors, and geometric dimensioning and  tolerancing. Technical courses such as machine tool programming and  blueprint reading.

Working conditions

May work around chemical fumes May work around chemicals May work around  electrical and mechanical hazards Repetitive use of a keyboard at a  workstation Use of manual dexterity Climbing of stairs Lifting and  moving Usual machine, scientific or engineering shop conditions, such as  sitting, walking, standing, squatting, stooping, and reaching. Exposure  to a variety of experimental laboratory shop conditions.  Deadlines/overlapping projects.

A criminal history background check will be required for finalist(s)  under consideration for this position.

The retirement plan for this position is Teacher Retirement System of  Texas (TRS), subject to the position being at least 20 hours per week  and at least 135 days in length.

The University of Texas at Austin, as an equal opportunity/affirmative  action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws  regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University is  committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not  discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital  status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression,  disability, religion, or veteran status in employment, educational  programs and activities, and admissions.

If hired, you will be required to complete the federal Employment  Eligibility Verification form, I-9. You will be required to present  acceptable, original documents - http://www.utexas.edu/hr/current/services/I9docs.html - to prove your 
identity and authorization to work in the United States. Information  from the documents will be submitted to the federal E-Verify system for  verification. Documents must be presented no later than the third day of  employment. Failure to do so will result in dismissal.



Research Associate - HET Data Scientist

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) Board wants data acquired by facility instruments accessible for science analysis with minimum impediments. The successful candidate will be resident at The University of Texas at Austin. The job includes travel to McDonald Observatory, West Texas (16 miles from Fort Davis, TX; 440 miles from Austin's main campus), and HET partner institutions. Selected candidates for interview will be asked to provide three letters of recommendations.


Develops and implements plan to produce Level 1 pipeline software for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) instruments including the Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS), Low-Resolution Spectrograph 2 (LRS2), High-Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) and Habitable-zone Planet Finder Spectrograph (HPF).

Essential Functions

Works with HET instrument principal investigators (PIs), their commissioning teams and resident astronomers to produce Level 1 data pipeline reduction software for all telescope instruments following high-level guidance from the HET Board. Develops code and documents, maintains, and enhances software and provides support for questions from the user community. Serves as an ex-officio member of the HET User Committee and solicits input from the user communities. Communicates the results and functionality of the resulting software through 1) Wikis, 2) regular periodic telecons, and 3) extended visits to partner institutions with appropriate discussion, and tutorials and demonstrations of software. Participates in the biweekly HET Operations telecon and gives regular reports at the HET board meetings. Conducts personal research using the HET.

Required qualifications

Ph.D. in Astrophysics. Three years postdoctoral experience in astronomical spectroscopy and related software techniques. Ability to work collaboratively in a team oriented environment. Strong demonstrated commitment to developing and maintaining collaborative relationships within the organization and the HET Board. Excellent written and verbal communication. Demonstrated ability to manage multiple assignments and projects. Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

Experience in independent and collaborative astronomical research and data pipeline software. Experience with or knowledge of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

Required Application Materials

  • A Resume is required in order to apply
  • A Letter of Interest is required in order to apply
  • A List of 3 References is required in order to apply.

Applications must be submitted to the University of Texas HR job site at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/hr/jobs/nlogon/170614010708

The job posting will remain open until filled, but application review will start on September 15, 2017.


11 October 2016
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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