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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Materials Modeling

Requisition Id 7998 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.
We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Detonation Forensics and Response Group, Nuclear Nonproliferation Division (NND), National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  We are looking for individuals with a strong background in materials modeling, including molecular dynamics and ab initio techniques, to support the development of multi-scale descriptions of nuclear debris formation for forensic applications.
NND performs research and development to detect, characterize, and monitor nuclear fuel cycle activities and nuclear explosions; develops concepts, approaches, and technologies to strengthen global security for nuclear and radiological material; and engages with federal agencies to enhance international nonproliferation regimes.
The DFR Group focuses on nuclear detonation fallout prediction for support of improved capabilities in detonation characterization and forensics and provides enhanced tools to support incident response and consequence management. 
Major Duties/Responsibilities: 
  • Perform atomistic simulations to analyze the mechanistic details of phase transitions phenomena in high temperature, multi-component systems
  • Use ab-initio quantum methods, molecular dynamics, and/or Monte Carlo techniques to determine thermodynamic functions relevant to nucleation and condensation process
  • Support the development of computational tools for the description of the formation and transport of nuclear debris
  • Publish research results in external peer-reviewed scientific journals and present them at seminars, technical meetings, national and international conferences
  • Engage programmatically and technically across the division, directorate, and laboratory to help sustain and grow ORNL impact on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security missions
  • Support senior staff in the development and execution of projects that provide valued and timely deliverables supporting NSSD and nonproliferation customers
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of the institution values and ethics
  • Abide by all environmental, safety, health and quality requirements and implement practices per ORNL’s Standards-Based Management System (SBMS)
Basic Qualifications:
  • A PhD in Physics, Material Science, Chemistry, Nuclear Engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Demonstrated expertise with first-principles electronic-structure, molecular dynamics, or Monte Carlo methods
  • Working knowledge of classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics
  • Proficiency in one or more programming languages such as C++ and FORTRAN
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills, a willingness to apply those skills to a variety of problems, and the ability to determine and understand the broader context of his or her research
  • Experience with the modeling of nuclear fireball physics and chemistry
  • Experience with the thermodynamic description of phase transitions
  • Experience with multi-scale materials modeling
  • Ability to develop and contribute to complex scientific codes, experience with parallelization techniques
  • Familiarity with nuclear nonproliferation, forensics, or consequence management
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs
Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.
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Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.
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Special Requirements
This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.
This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.
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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply. UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.