Research Physicist (Direct Hire)

Hampton, Virginia
Sep 13, 2021
Sep 15, 2021
Analyst, Research
Full Time


You will serve as a Research Physicist in the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch of the Research Directorate at the Langley Research Center (LaRC). In this role, you will contribute to the development of advanced nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technologies, experimental and computational research methods for NDE, material state awareness technologies, intelligent measurement and sensor systems, and the related advanced data analysis.
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  • Duties described below are at the full-performance level. Duties assigned at a lower grade level will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity; duties will be commensurate with the grade of selected employee.
  • Performs research to advance state-of-art nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques to quantitatively characterize materials and structures (e.g., metals, additive manufactured components, or built-up composites) and related defects/damage.
  • Develops, tests, and assesses prototype inspection systems that include novel NDE methods (e.g., ultrasound, thermography, or electromagnetic method), sensors, or distributed sensing systems for detection of defects and material degradation.
  • Works to create new methods or enhance existing methods for application to solve novel aerospace inspection and structural health monitoring challenges.
  • Develops and applies mathematical and computational data processing algorithms to aid interpretation of NDE data and automated data processing.
  • Employs mathematical and physics based theories and models to inform understanding of underlying physics and/or engineering concepts for development of nondestructive methods.
  • Works on teams with other researchers to develop, test, assess, and report on novel NDE methods.
  • Reports results to project stakeholders and disseminates research results through publication in scientific journals, conference proceedings, presentations, etc.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • This position is open to U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S
  • Position subject to pre-employment background investigation
  • You must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement
  • If selected, you will be required to complete a financial disclosure statement
  • You must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement. For GS-12 ONLY, if qualifying based on Education alone, we are accepting applications from candidates who will meet education requirements by December 31, 2021.


In addition to the basic education requirement (shown below), you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade, which has equipped you with the particular competencies needed to successfully perform the duties of the position described above.

Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected. A review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee. Please keep this in mind when indicating the lowest grade you will accept.

To qualify for GS-12, you must have:
a) One year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level that includes knowledge of physics and material phenomena; experience applying physics based concepts/theories to experimental and/or computational investigation of physics/engineering/scientific methods; and developing and implementing innovative approaches to solve research problems.
b) Completed all requirements for a doctoral degree (i.e., Ph.D. or equivalent) in an appropriate field.

To qualify for GS-13, you must have one year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 level that includes experience applying physics and engineering based principles to perform research of energy interaction with materials for material characterization and nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technologies, including (but not limited to) methods such as ultrasound, terahertz, thermography, or electromagnetic based inspection; and analyzing and interpreting multidimensional experimental data and/or multidimensional modeling data using computational and mathematical methods.

Your resume must include a clear and detailed narrative description, in your own words, of how you meet the required specialized experience. Experience statements copied from a position description, vacancy announcement or other reference material constitutes plagiarism and may result in disqualification and losing consideration for the job.

Required college majors for applicants qualifying on the basis of undergraduate or graduate education only (GS-12 research):

If qualifying based on education alone at the GS-12, applications will be accepted from candidates who meet the education requirements by December 31, 2021.

Code 715 Materials: Aeronautical Engineering, Aeronautics, Aerospace Engineering, Astronautical Engineering, Astronautics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Engineering, Materials Science, Applied Mechanics, Engineering Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering Physics, Physics, Applied Physics, Engineering Physics, Structural Engineering, Welding Engineering.
Other majors will qualify if the major includes or is supplemented as follows: Ceramics or Ceramics Engineering (with 12 semester hours in refractory ceramics, cermets or protective coatings); Civil Engineering, Computer Science, or Geology (with 12 semester hours in strength of materials, structures, thermodynamics, and/or basic static and dynamics); Metallurgy or Metallurgical Engineering (with 12 semester hours in physical or adaptive metallurgy, high temperature metals and alloys, cermets); Mathematics or Nuclear Engineering (with nine semester hours in physics, structures, materials or other appropriate courses). Other appropriate physical science or engineering fields may qualify with appropriate supplemental courses.


You must have successfully completed a bachelor's or graduate degree with a major in either a) engineering from a college or university that has ABET accredited engineering programs or b) Physical Science, Mathematics, Life Science, Computer Science*, or other field of physical science.*Note: Curriculum must include 30 semester hours of course work in a combination of mathematics, statistics and computer science. Of the 30 semester hours, 15 must be in any combination of statistics and mathematics which includes differential and integral calculus.

Degrees in engineering technology are not considered qualifying for this position.

To find out if a school has an ABET accreditation, go to must have been received in the year of, or any year subsequent to the original date of accreditation.

To find out if a school has an ABET accreditation, go to

Degrees must have been received in the year of, or any year subsequent to the original date of accreditation.

Engineering degrees earned outside the United States: Engineering degrees earned outside the Unites States must be recognized by a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), often known as accords. These are non-governmental agreements among organizations that accredit academic degree programs. MRAs recognize the substantial equivalence of mature accreditation systems and programs accredited by signatory organizations within their jurisdictions. For a listing of Signatories, please visit,

Science and other related degrees earned within the United States: Science and other related degrees must have been awarded from colleges or universities that are accredited by recognized accrediting organizations. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, go to .

Science and other related degrees earned outside the United States: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs. These education credentials must be deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit: .

Additional information

Additional selections may be made for similar positions across NASA within the local commuting area(s) of the location(s) identified in this announcement. By applying, you agree to have your application shared with interested selecting official(s) within NASA. CTAP/ICTAP will be cleared for any additional selection from this announcement.

This position is announced under Direct Hire authority.

If you have special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP), you must:

- Indicate your eligibility when applying for a position. The questionnaire asks you to identify your ICTAP/CTAP eligibility.
- Meet the minimum qualifications requirements for the position
- Submit proof that you meet the requirements for CTAP/ICTAP as indicated in 'Required Documents'

For additional information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, click here - https://

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated for this position based on how well you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements listed in this vacancy announcement. To determine your qualifications and referral status, we may review your resume and supporting documentation and compare it against your responses to the vacancy questionnaire. Overstating your qualifications and/or experience in your application materials or application questionnaire may result in your removal from consideration.

You will be assessed on the following competencies:
Fundamental Physics
Non-destructive Evaluation Sciences

NASA considers paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Moderate Risk (MR)

Trust determination process

Required Documents

A complete application package includes a resume, required documents and completion of the vacancy announcement questionnaire. Please see this guidance: What to include in your resume . Your resume should describe your specialized experience and support your answers to the vacancy announcement questionnaire.

The following documents are required:
  • Resume
  • Transcript

While a transcript is the preferred proof of qualifying education, you may submit any of the following items:
  • An unofficial transcript
  • A copy of an official transcript
  • A copy of a degree (i.e. a picture or scan)
  • A list of completed/credited courses that includes, the title, course code, and number of semester, quarter or classroom hours for each course (i.e., BUAD- 101-Introduction to Business, 3 Semester hours)
You will lose consideration if you do not submit proof of your education. Documents must fully support the education requirements listed above. Incomplete documents or documents that do not show completion of required degree program or coursework may result in disqualification.

There may be other supporting documents (licenses, certification, veterans preference, etc.), depending on your answers to the questionnaire and job announcement description, that you may need to submit.

If you are a surplus or displaced employee (CTAP and ICTAP), submit proof that you meet the requirements for CTAP/ICTAP. This includes copies of your agency notice, most recent Performance Rating and most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) noting current position, grade level, and duty location.

Official documents are required at the time of appointment for verification of eligibility and qualifications.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.