NOAO < EDUCATION < Education & Public Outreach: Interview with an Astronomer: Jacques Sebag

Interview with an Astronomer: Jacques Sebag

What is your official job title?

My official job title is systems engineer

How did you first become involved with this kind of work?

I first became involved with this kind of work after receiving my PhD in Astronomy and being interested with building satellite, telescope and instruments.

What are some of the major tasks that you perform?

One of the Systems Engineer roles is to insure that the system being designed or built will achieve the science goals established for its mission. This task requires establishing requirements and interfaces along with their verification, and also leading the integration and tests of the system.

What jobs do you recommend as steps to get to this career? What training or education is required for this job?

I recommend to choose a scientific career and if you are curious about things in general and how they work that could be a good path for you

What do you like most about your job?

The privilege to work in astronomy on very unique systems that are changing the way we perceive the world around us

How does your job affect what you do or don’t do in your home or social life?

Working with optical telescopes, many times you have to work at night away from your home and being away in remote areas. Otherwise, the impact is relatively small.

If you could do it all over again, would you still select this kind of work?


What gives you the most satisfaction in the work you are doing?

I am currently working on the design of a new telescope that will be built in Chile. This is a challenging project and you get a lot of satisfaction by seeing the project becoming a reality.

What future career goals do you have?

Continuing in the same field working on new challenging astronomical project

What information about this kind of work would be important for a person if he or she is considering going into it?

If you are interested in getting a PhD in astronomy it is important to have perseverance because it requires many years of study.

What is a normal day like for you?

In my current job position, a normal work day is spent at the office writing documents, analyzing data, organizing meetings or reviews.

What kind of great discoveries would you like to make?

Find another type of life somewhere else in the universe

Do you have a favorite constellation?

I like to see the Scorpius Constellation when it rises

Are computers important in your field?

Yes most of my work is done on computers

Do you have much free time in your day?

I usually don’t