Maxwell Fellowship

We are now accepting applications for the new Sandia Maxwell Fellowship, named after James Clerk Maxwell, who formulated the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation that is core to the science of pulsed power, radiation, electrical and high energy density sciences. This is a prestigious postdoctoral research fellowship with funding from Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program.

As a Sandia Maxwell Fellow, you will:

  • Address complex problems in support of broad-ranging national security areas
  • Collaborate with highly motivated researchers on challenging research
    questions using state-of-the-art computational resources, and
  • Present your work at leading publication and conference venues

We seek exceptional and highly motivated new Ph.D. scientists and engineers with a background and interest in the broadly defined domains of pulsed power physics and engineering, along with radiation, electrical, and high energy density sciences. LDRD funding will be provided by the Assured Survivability and Agility with Pulsed Power (ASAP) Mission Campaign. The primary goal of ASAP is to develop pulsed power technologies that are needed for a next generation pulsed power facility with ten times the energy of Sandia’s Z Machine and enable new science capabilities for assessing survivability of electronics and other components in extreme radiation environments. Thus we are particularly interested in applicants excited by the prospect of developing models, simulations, components, diagnostics, novel system designs, or entirely new technologies that will be transformational for pulsed power.

Specific areas that are currently of interest to ASAP include, but are not limited to:

  • Pulsed Power Switches: Multi-MV triggered and self-breaking switches with lower jitter, better reliability, and don’t employ strong greenhouse gases such as SF6
  • Advanced diagnostics for extreme environments: Radiation, electrical, and optical diagnostics that are spatially and temporally resolved
  • Modeling and simulation: In the context of ultra-high current density electrical power delivery with melting conductors, we are interested in self-consistent multi-scale plasma physics modeling advances to bridge gaps between kinetic and fluid regimes. We are also particularly interested in validation of these physics models and other simulation approaches
  • Novel diagnostics, theory and integrated models for thermal desorption, melt, and plasma formation in conductors with terawatt scale heating
  • Advancement of our understanding in the engineering response of materials and electronics in harsh environments including neutrons, X-rays, kinetic debris, and electromagnetic fields
  • Novel concepts, material advances, and engineering approaches for line replaceable units in pulsed power systems to increase shot rate, flexibility & agility
  • Novel power flow designs and concepts for debris mitigation and increased target standoff in large scale fast pulsed power systems

The selected Fellow will receive a one-year appointment with the option for a second and possibly a third year, and includes a highly competitive salary, moving expenses and a generous professional travel allowance.

You will be expected to pursue a combination of both self-directed research in your topical area and integration with existing Sandia R&D projects, under the guidance of Sandia staff mentors. A proposal on your research plan will be requested as part of the application process.  You are expected to publish the results of your work in leading journals and present your work at top-tier conferences.

Sandia National Laboratories is committed to nurturing a culture compatible with a broad group of people and perspectives.  Consistent with this commitment, we seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and we foster an inclusive research community.

Required qualifications

  • You have, or are pursuing, a Ph.D. in a field relevant to pulsed power or to its use in radiation, electrical, and high energy density sciences, conferred within the past three years, or anticipated completion of Ph.D. requirements by commencement of appointment
  • Your background includes the appropriate research experience, as evidenced by a strong record of research publications and presentations
  • Development and submission of a compelling research proposal aligning with the objectives of the ASAP Mission Campaign described above
  • No previous postdoctoral appointments at a national laboratory
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a DOE security clearance, which requires US citizenship

Desired qualifications

Ideally, your background would also include:
(not all areas are expected of every candidate)

  • Proven ability to advance the state-of-the-art in pulsed power science and technology
  • Experience in pulsed power, radiation, electrical and/or high energy density sciences
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work in a dynamic environment and demonstrated interest and/or experience in service to the nation
  • Ability to conduct self-directed research
  • Ability to work in collaborative, interdisciplinary research environments on problems comprising diverse application domains
  • Proven research community leadership through activities such as participation in student or professional organizations, outreach activities, etc.
  • Related professional experience such as internships in industry or at other national labs, participation in visiting research programs, etc.
  • A commitment to fostering an inclusive culture, as demonstrated in your application materials
  • International recognition for your research with one or more high-impact publications
  • Ability to travel for business and research purposes

Application process

To apply for the Data Science Fellowship:

  • Search “Maxwell Fellowship” on Sandia’s Careers portal.
  • Submit a single PDF file containing your cover letter, CV, and a 3-5 page research proposal by April 30, 2021.
  • Have three letters of recommendation sent to with “2021 Maxwell Fellowship” as the subject line. 

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

Sandia invites you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law, EEO is the Law Poster Supplement, and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Sandia is a drug-free workplace. As a national laboratory funded by a U.S. government agency, we are subject to federal laws regarding illegal drug use. Illegal use of a controlled substance, including marijuana even in places where it does not violate state law, may impact your ability to obtain and/or maintain a Department of Energy security clearance, and may result in the withdrawal of an employment offer or termination of employment.

Sandia demonstrates its commitment to public safety in the national interest by requiring that all new hires attest to their vaccination status before commencing employment. The requirement also applies to those who are telecommuting and working virtually.
Any concerns about the ability to meet this requirement should be directed to HR Solutions at (505) 284-4700.