Our Mission

IPAC at Caltech partners with NASA, NSF, JPL and the world-wide research community to advance exploration of our Universe through science operations, data archiving, community support and engagement. Our expertise includes cosmology and galaxy evolution, exoplanets, asteroids and the solar system, IR astrophysics and TDAMM.

Beginning with the IRAS mission in 1985 and spanning through Herschel & Spitzer in recent years, and Roman and Euclid, planned to launch later this decade, we have enabled transformative research of the infrared sky.  

Over our history of three decades, we have provided a range of support for more than 20 missions, helping each to bring forth major advances in astrophysics and cosmology.

We provide science operations, user support, data services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. 

We seek to leverage our accumulated expertise to provide outstanding service for our current missions, and to optimally guide development of the next generation of observational facilities.   Through our historic pursuit to uncover the infrared Universe, we have gained special insight into all-sky surveys, observations of moving targets, time domain science, and data archive discovery.

We share these discoveries with the public through education outreach programs and award-winning media. 

We believe that public literacy and engagement in science is essential to its advancement, and the advancement of human civilization.  We leverage our integrated knowledge of science, communication, visualization, and education to capture the imagination of explorers and learners of all ages and backgrounds.

Our community of active researchers is dedicated and essential to fulfilling this mission.

The scientific expertise at IPAC combined with our technical knowledge of science operations and data science allow IPAC to drive scientific exploration and provide multifaceted support to the research community at-large.  IPAC scientific staff are engaged in forefront research spanning a broad range of fields in astrophysics and planetary sciences.  Areas of special focus include exoplanets; dark energy and cosmology; star formation and galaxy evolution; asteroids and the solar system; time-domain astronomy; and the area in which IPAC has provided leadership for over three decades -- exploration of the infrared and sub-mm universe.

We believe in a collaborative, inclusive, and diverse community, and a culture that supports all of our members.

In all of our work at IPAC, we strive to engage with all members of the astronomy community as well as the general public. This includes a goal of recruiting and maintaining a diverse team within IPAC, and welcoming people from all backgrounds.

People choose to work at IPAC for many reasons, and the collegial, employee-centric culture often leads to fulfilling, long-term careers and positive relationships. IPAC strives to be a safe and inclusive space for all. Our open and welcoming environment leads to fulfilled staff, and better results for our staff, our organization, our community and our science.

All of this work is ongoing, and there is always room to improve. We invite you to be part of our team, and contribute to our efforts to grow and excel in all that we do.

Opportunities at IPAC

As of today, about 150 people work at IPAC in a variety of roles:

  • Science staff (40%)
  • Applications developers (30%)
  • Operations and Administration (30%)

We also have a cohort of about 10 postdocs at most times, and a number of students participating in a variety of programs.

And … we are growing! We'd love to hear from you! Let's see if there may be a place for you at IPAC. Please see the following for our current opportunities and job openings.