Part of the STFC, the UKATC is the UK's national laboratory for the design and development of astronomical instrumentation. The UKATC has a rich heritage of instrumentation development for ground-based observatories as well as space facilities. It employs a broad spectrum of engineers and scientists across the full range of disciplines required for contemporary astronomy (optical design, mechanical engineering, electronics, software, systems engineering, project management). It also has an extensive track record of successfully applying techniques and technologies developed for astronomy to other sectors (e.g. earth observation/remote sensing, environmental monitoring). The UKATC develops instruments for world leading organisations, such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Space Agency (ESA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The Applied Optics Group contributes to all stages of projects at the UKATC, from working with astronomers to define requirements, generating conceptual designs for new instrumentation, through to aligning and testing optical systems in the laboratory or even commissioning instruments at a telescope site. The Applied Optics Group is actively involved in many high-profile projects including MIRI (for the James Webb Space Telescope, JWST), MOONS (for ESO’s Very Large Telescope, VLT), HARMONI and METIS (for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, ELT) and LISA (space interferometer for gravitational wave detection for ESA). We also have an ongoing programme to develop technology for CubeSats to maximise the imaging capability of these small satellites.
Within the Applied Optics Group at UKATC you will work on a number of different projects, mostly related to ground based astronomical instrumentation or space technology. These will range from small scale design studies through to large scale multinational instrumentation projects.
As part of the graduate programme, it is expected that you will be enrolled with the Institute of Physics (or equivalent professional organisation) with the view of becoming a Chartered Physicist, which is a peer reviewed recognition of your competency as a physicist.
You will work in close interaction with the other groups within UKATC including scientists, other engineering disciplines and project management. More broadly you will be part of international teams and therefore some national and international travel is expected.
You will be responsible for managing your own time across a number of projects.
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