Shop & Observatory Technician, Physics & Astronomy

Apply now Job no: 496798
Position type: full-time
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Categories: Other, Academic Affairs

The Physics & Astronomy Shop and Observatory Technician provides technical support for the teaching and research of faculty members in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. As time permits, this position also provides technical assistance to other campus departments, when requested. The person hired into this position works in collaboration with a second Shop Technician and reports to the Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. We seek a candidate whose experience, expertise, and outlook will contribute to Bucknell’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.

Department Overview:
The Department of Physics & Astronomy comprises 14 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with support provided by two technical staff, one lab coordinator and one administrative assistant. The Department operates a small observatory which houses a historic Clark refractor and a suite of more modern telescopes for use in both introductory and advanced courses. Our introductory courses are taken by students majoring in all math and science disciplines, all of the students in the College of Engineering, and by students from all majors in a liberal arts environment. The Department typically offers approximately 30 laboratory sections per year in introductory-level physics and astronomy. The lab activities are developed, and are delivered, by the faculty and lab coordinator, with valued support from our two shop technicians.

The Department is committed to broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields. Our labs are one demonstration of this commitment. Well-designed, topical labs engage students in collaborative endeavors, promote meaningful interactions between students and faculty, and provide a learning environment that is potentially closer to the practice of professional science. The Physics & Astronomy Shop & Observatory Technician and Shop Technician play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of departmental laboratory activities: they help ensure that lab activities have complete and operational equipment and that lab activities run smoothly throughout each week. They also provide support and feedback for faculty and students developing and maintaining experiments in research labs, and assist individual students with preparations for independent projects as part of departmental course offerings, for both majors and non-majors.

Job Duties:
Shop & Observatory Technician in the Department of Physics & Astronomy:
● Sets up and tests equipment routinely in use for instructional labs and course demonstrations in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, wherever they are needed on campus.
● Maintains telescopes,cameras, and related equipment at the Bucknell Observatory.
● Maintains, repairs, modifies, designs, builds, and purchases scientific equipment, per departmental needs.
● Designs and machines devices for use in research labs.
● Manages and organizes the Physics & Astronomy shop and laboratory stockrooms.
● Collaborates with department faculty and staff to prioritize regular duties and work on developing projects.
● Interacts with and assists faculty and students in the design and construction of classroom and research projects.
● Assists in maintaining the Department of Physics & Astronomy laboratory and chemical safety program requirements, and promotes safe use of shop and experimental equipment.

Minimum Qualifications:
● A minimum of two years technical training beyond high school, or the equivalent training obtained from on-the-job experience
● Promise for good troubleshooting skills and willingness to be trained in the maintenance and use of existing and future scientific equipment in department teaching and research environments
● With suitable on-site training, ability to maintain, repair, design, build, or purchase scientific equipment as necessary
● Willingness to work some evening hours for maintaining the night observing capabilities of the Bucknell Observatory
● Ability to work collaboratively with faculty and staff to prioritize assignments, develop and support apparatus and equipment needed in instructional labs and classroom demonstrations, and facilitate the distribution of equipment to appropriate locations on campus
● Ability to interact with and offer assistance to faculty and students in the design and construction of course and research projects

Preferred Qualifications:
● Experience with equipment and testing procedures used in Physics, Astronomy, and/or Chemistry
● Familiarity with telescopes and an interest in astronomy and astronomical equipment (telescopes, CCD cameras, and related equipment)
● A year or more of experience with the operations and maintenance of machine shop equipment and hand tools, including a subset of the following: hand and power tools, lathes and milling machines, general machine shop equipment, and laboratory/testing
● The ability to work with a variety of materials including wood, plastic, metal, glass, and chemicals
● Demonstrated ability to maintain, repair, design, and build mechanical components for scientific equipment
● Experience with computers for communication, research, record-keeping, project documentation, and hardware/software interfacing

Physical Demands:
Physical demands for the Physics & Astronomy Shop & Observatory Technician include occasional to frequent exertion in lifting and carrying materials and equipment (occasionally individual items as heavy as 40-60 lbs need to be moved and installed, but this can be
coordinated with other University staff), and occasionally requires frequent periods of prolonged standing, bending, and similar activities. The Technicians will occasionally be asked to transport equipment between various sites on campus, including classrooms and other spaces in Olin Science, Academic West, and the Bucknell Observatory.

Work Type: 

Review of applications will begin on August 23 and continue until the position is filled.

About Bucknell

Founded in 1846 and located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in historic Lewisburg, Pa., Bucknell University is an undergraduate-focused institution that stands uniquely at the intersection of top-ranked liberal arts, engineering and management programs. Our students choose from more than 60 majors and 70 minors in the arts, engineering, humanities, management, and natural and social sciences, as well as extensive global study, service-learning and research opportunities. Bucknell’s 3,700 undergraduate and 30 graduate students enjoy a low 9:1 student-faculty ratio and exceptional opportunities to collaborate with faculty mentors on scholarly and artistic projects.

Bucknell’s beautiful 450-acre campus includes first-rate facilities and is home to more than 90 percent of its undergraduate students. Student life is vibrant with about 200 student-run organizations, 27 NCAA Division I athletics teams, a robust arts culture, and a commitment among many of the students to community and global service work.

Bucknell is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and we seek candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports the growth and development of a diverse campus community. The University provides equal opportunity without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, veteran status or disability in admissions, employment and in all of its educational programs and activities. We encourage individuals from historically underrepresented groups to apply.

The Community

Lewisburg (pop. 5,700) is located in central Pennsylvania and features beautiful Victorian homes, the restored art deco Campus Theatre (owned by the University), a variety of restaurants, shops and boutiques, and the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University Bookstore. It is the seat of Union County, which has about 44,000 residents.

The city of Williamsport is about a 30-minute drive from campus, and Penn State University’s main campus is about an hour away, as is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital. Bucknell is within a three-hour drive of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The cost of living is low compared to that of major U.S. cities and suburbs. Bucknell’s surroundings yield fresh produce, cultural activities and events, and outstanding opportunities for outdoor activity on the Susquehanna River and in the nearby state parks and forests. The Lewisburg Area School District receives excellent reviews for its schools at all grade levels. Lewisburg Area High School consistently ranks among the top 50 high schools in Pennsylvania for SAT scores and statewide exams.

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COVID-19 Information

Bucknell University is committed to the health and well-being of our community. As such, we have implemented many strategies to keep our community healthy. Students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to vaccinate and provide documentation of vaccination to Human Resources. Employees who do not provide evidence of vaccination are required to participate in the University’s COVID-19 sequential testing program. All members of the Bucknell community and campus visitors are required to wear masks inside public and academic buildings, regardless of social distancing or vaccination status. Click here for more information.

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