HED/MHD Computational Physicist

Albuquerque, New Mexico
February 08 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

HED/MHD Computational Physicist

We are seeking a Physicist to be responsible for the design and theoretical interpretation of experiments on Sandia’s Z machine and other experimental platforms. The conditions span pressures up to 1000 GPa, phases from solids to dense plasmas, and the corresponding wide range in temperature. You will work in a tightly integrated team with theoreticians and experimentalists as well as experts on diagnostics, target fabrication, facility operations, and supercomputing to advance our knowledge of high energy density (HED) physics.

Department Description:

Research within the High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) Theory Department 1641 spans a broad range of topics with a common theme of gaining an improved understanding of physical processes at normal as well as extreme conditions of high densities and/or temperatures, pressures, magnetic fields, and rapidly changing states. Major efforts of the department include developing simulations codes and high-fidelity material models with predictive capabilities together with designing dynamic material and plasma physics experiments for Sandia's Z Machine. Our research has both applied and fundamental dimensions – for example in the areas of electronic structure, shock physics, material science, planetary science and astrophysics.

More specifically, work at the department involves fundamental research in materials- and plasma physics: i) using multi-physics codes to design, analyze, and optimize experiments on Sandia’s Z-machine; ii) developing two-fluid and magnetohydrodynamics simulation codes; and iii) developing and applying methods based on quantum mechanics, primarily Density Functional Theory and Quantum Monte Carlo, for developing both an improved understanding and quantitative models for materials properties.

The department has active collaborations with research groups at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory as well as with academic institutions in the US and in Europe, including University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, University of Rochester, Washington State University, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Harvard University, University of Rostock in Germany, Princeton University, Cornell University, University of California Davis, and University of Texas at Austin.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Apply radiation magneto hydrodynamics simulation codes to design experiments and analyze experimental results to achieve breakthroughs or insights into material and/or plasma behavior at extreme conditions
  • Evolve existing experimental platforms and develop entirely new experimental concepts and analysis techniques
  • Publish results in peer-reviewed journals and present at national and international conferences

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
  • Extraordinary co-workers
  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
  • Flexible schedules, generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at: http://www.sandia.gov

*These benefits vary by job classification.

EEO Statement:

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.


  • Advanced degree in the physical sciences or engineering plus a bachelor's in science, technology, engineering or engineering (STEM), or equivalent science and/or engineering education and experience
  • Experience working in the fields of material science, material physics, or plasma physics; including shock physics, high energy-density physics, equations of state, or constitutive properties
  • Experience with multi-physics simulations codes like ALEGRA, CTH, KULL, HYDRA, RAGE, Ares, USim, Mach3D, FLASH, Perseus, Athena, or other similar codes
  • Able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance


  • PhD in the physical sciences or engineering
  • Experience with multi-physics radiation magneto-hydrodynamic codes
  • Experience with particle-based plasma simulation methods
  • Experience in working with experimental research and/or analyzing experimental data in the area of high energy density (HED) physics: materials at high pressure and/or plasma physics
  • Experience with computational physics and mathematical software development
  • Experience of analyzing simulations and/or experimental data using optimization and statistical methods like Bayesian analysis or machine learning
  • Self-motivation to work independently or as part of a diverse team, including project members from other NNSA labs and academic collaborators
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills as demonstrated in technical publications and reports, and in technical and project presentations
  • Ability to think innovatively

Security Clearance:

Position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level security clearance.

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment must be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.