Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Haverford, Pennsylvania (US)
competitive salary and benefits
November 01 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Haverford College invites applications to our available full time (at least 37.5 hour per week), exempt, benefit eligible Postdoctoral Research Fellow position.  This position is offered for a three (3 year) term, with the initial appointment offered as a one year appointment, with reappointment for a second and third year contingent on successful performance. An NSF-funded postdoctoral fellowship is available in the group of Professor Ted Brzinski in the department of Physics and Astronomy at Haverford College. The research project involves the use of photoelasticimetry to characterize the contact force networks in large, disordered packings and to develop and apply novel strategies for data analysis based in algebraic topology.

The qualified applicant will have or anticipate a PhD in physics or a related field (e.g chemical engineering, applied mathematics, material science).  Previous experience in experimental soft matter is preferred, especially experience with quantitative image analysis.

This is a 3-year position. The ideal start date would be January 10, 2022, with flexibility if necessary. The position will remain open until filled.

Haverford College is a highly selective residential liberal arts college located in suburban Philadelphia, enrolling approximately 1200 undergraduates. Haverford is part of the Quaker Consortium, along with Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges, and the University of Pennsylvania, comprising a tight-knit, supportive community of scholarship and easy access to a broad variety of expertise and facilities.

We at the College recognize that we live and work on Lenape land, and pay respect and honor to the caretakers of this land, from the time of its first human inhabitants until now, and into the future. We seek to maintain and build upon our current and ever-evolving connections with members of Lenape tribes and communities, in recognition of our intertwined histories and with a goal of moving toward right relationship between the Haverford of today and Lenape peoples. Haverford College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Women, non-binary people, people of color, indigenous people, and people with other or multiple historically excluded identities are especially encouraged to apply.

Essential Functions & Primary Responsibilities:

Working in collaboration with and under the direction of the PI, the postdoc will contribute to all aspects of the PI’s scholarly activities related to the project. The postdoc will provide scientific and technical expertise and insight, and collaborative input on scientific and educational goals within the scope of this project.

The postdoc will have responsibility for the design, planning, and execution of experimental research, the development of new experimental techniques and analytic tools and procedures, the collection and analysis of data, the presentation and dissemination of research results, including the writing of manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals, communication via scientific meetings and conferences, and participation in collaborative research partnerships. The postdoc will contribute to laboratory and equipment construction, maintenance and repair, including the ordering of research materials.

An important responsibility of the postdoc (in collaboration with the PI) will be the the mentorship and training of student researchers, consistent with the PI’s emphasis on the participation of undergraduate students in research.

The postdoc will also be expected to communicate with the PI about career and project goals, and the status of any professional and research efforts, in order to facilitate PI support of the postdoc’s professional development. The postdoc’s work schedule and job priorities will be defined in coordination with the PI.

If interested, the postdoc will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of course materials which make connections between the research program and the core undergraduate physics curriculum, and would have the opportunity to co-teach the new course materials produced. There also may be opportunities to teach in a full- or part-time visiting capacity at the college. If the postdoc is interested in such an opportunity, the PI will work to facilitate teaching experience by adjusting the timeline of the postdoctoral position.

Line of Report:

The postdoc will report to the principal investigator (Ted Brzinski). The postdoc will assist in the supervision of student researchers, but will have no independent supervisory roles.

Education, Training, & Experience:

A Ph.D. in Physics or a related field (e.g. Geophysics, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics) is required. ABD candidates, or those anticipating completion of a PhD before the start date are also encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will also demonstrate strong communication skills, creativity, curiosity, and the ability to work both independently and in diverse group settings.

Prior experience in experimental or Soft Matter-related research is preferred, as is experience with scientific computing (especially Labview and one or more of Matlab, Python, and C).

Special Requirements: All faculty and staff (including contract workers) who are employed or engaged by Haverford College, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and provide proof of vaccination, unless an exemption from this policy has been granted as an accommodation or otherwise.

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice. 

Physical Demands and Environmental Conditions Required of this Position:

  • Lifting (to exert strength to move objects from one place to another):
    • Sedentary Lifting: (0-10 pounds) Three to six hours
    • Light Lifting (10-20 pounds): Three to six hours
    • Moderate Lifting (20-50 pounds): Up to three hours
    • Heavy Lifting (50 to 100 pounds): Never
  • Pulling (to draw an object toward oneself to move or change its direction): Up to three hours
  • Pushing (to exert force upon an abject to move or change its direction): Up to three hours
  • Carrying (to hold objects while moving entire body): Up to three hours
  • Reaching or working above shoulder (to extend arms upward or outward away from body): Three to six hours
  • Walking (to move entire body in erect position): Up to three hours
  • Standing (to maintain body in erect posture in stationary position): Up to three hours
  • Sitting (to rest weight on buttocks and back of thighs with legs bent at knees): Three to six hours
  • Crouching/Stooping (to bend upper body forward while fully flexing knees): Up to three hours
  • Kneeling (to maintain upper body in erect position while resting knees on ground): Up to three hours
  • Climbing (to ascend or descent heights using ladders, scaffolding, stairs, poles, inclined surfaces): Up to three hours
  • Twisting (to rotate upper body while feet remain stationary): Up to three hours
  • Driving (operating a motor vehicle, crane, tractor, forklift, etc.): Never
  • Exposure Limitation (i.e., Dust, chemicals, lasers, crush and shock hazards, other typical lab hazards): Six to eight hours

To Apply: Interested applicants should complete an application, to include a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of three (3) references as a single Word document or pdf  by visiting The application deadline is Friday, November 26, 2021. Failure to provide the required documents may result in lack of consideration. Haverford College does not sponsor work visas.

Haverford College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and providing equal opportunities and access to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, disability, or veteran status. Women, non-binary and transgender individuals, people of color, Indigenous people, and those with other or multiple historically marginalized and/or underrepresented identities are especially encouraged to apply. Haverford College and our consortial partners are located on Lenape lands.