Associate Research Physicist - Computational Science

Job description


The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a world-class fusion energy research laboratory managed by Princeton University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. PPPL is dedicated to developing the scientific and technological knowledge base for fusion energy. The Laboratory advances the fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research to develop the scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion as an energy source for the world.


The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) at Princeton University is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral research position in multiscale, computational plasma physics. Appointments are for one year, renewable annually based on satisfactory performance, for a total of up to three years.


The successful candidate will develop novel plasma simulation methods and codes, with applications to problems in one or more of the following areas: the plasma astrophysics of black holes and neutron stars; whole-device modeling of experiments such as tokamaks or stellarators; or interactions of low-temperature plasmas with materials in the context of plasma-based nanofabrication. A strong background in plasma physics, computational science and parallel computing is preferred. The successful candidate will have access to outstanding computational facilities and opportunities for collaboration. The expected starting date is June 15, 2021, but earlier or later is possible.


The Computational Science Group at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory seeks to build a strong team focused on building exascale algorithms for the simulation of kinetic processes in plasmas. The challenges can be both familiar and exotic. For example, astrophysical plasmas near massive, compact objects like neutron stars and black holes cannot be described without including special and general relativity, radiation reaction forces, and QED physics such as matter/anti-matter creation in the presence of strong electromagnetic fields. It is thought that the microscopic physics of electron-positron plasmas and magnetic reconnection are important to some observable properties of compact objects. To understand these exotic phenomena will require the development of multiscale algorithms for plasma physics that can run efficiently on exascale computers. While the range of critical scales in astrophysical systems is extraordinary, fusion power reactors and plasma-based nanofabrication tools used for semiconductor chip and quantum device manufacturing are also multi-physics and multiscale plasma systems of primary interest for PPPL and the computational science team. In these cases, current reactor performance is limited by essentially kinetic electromagnetic interactions that cannot be fully understood or modeled with present algorithms and supercomputers.


The successful applicant will design and test new algorithms for simulations of plasmas in systems like these, and implement them in a modern, publicly available software package.


Core Duties: 

  • For one of the application areas:
  • 75% - Design a code framework; test (and invent, if needed) algorithms for that application area
  • 25% - Demonstrate and document the use and performance of the new code, including the presentation of results to experts working in the application area

Education and Experience: 

  • A completed PhD in Physics, Applied Mathematics, Astronomy, or a related field is required.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Expertise with plasma simulation techniques, code development and parallel computing.
  • Experience and knowledge in one of the three application areas is optional.


Along with uploading your resume or CV to the online application, please be sure to include a cover letter with references listed as an additional supporting document to your profile.




Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. All PPPL employees are required to disclose any participation in a foreign government talent recruitment program and may be required to withdraw from such programs to remain employed under the DOE Contract.

Standard Weekly Hours40.00Eligible for OvertimeNoBenefits EligibleYesEssential Services Personnel (see policy for detail)NoEstimated Appointment End Date6/14/2022Physical Capacity Exam RequiredNoValid Driver's License RequiredNo #LI-CL1




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Job No:
Posted: 1/6/2021
Application Due: 1/4/2022
Work Type: Full Time