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Experimental Research Scientist in Chemical Physics (Early Career)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, Washington State
Closing date
Oct 30, 2020

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Field of specialization
Work Function
Job Type
Full time
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Job Details

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to collaboration and work–life balance. We are seeking an early- to mid- career staff scientist to contribute to PNNL’s goals in our experimental Condensed Phase and Interfacial Molecular Science program.  Work in this area emphasizes basic research at the boundary of chemistry and physics, pursuing a molecular-level understanding of chemical, physical, and electron- and photon-driven processes in liquids and at interfaces. Our scientific goals are to extend the experimental characterization and description of chemical reactions to encompass the effects of condensed media and interfaces, develop a multidisciplinary capability for describing condensed phase and interfacial chemical processes relevant to improved energy technologies, and to create state-of-the-art research and analytical methods for characterizing complex materials. Much of our research involves detailed studies of reaction mechanisms in liquids and at liquid interfaces, of high-energy processes at interfaces, of models of the condensed phase, and of cluster spectroscopy and dynamics.

As a staff scientist in the Lab’s Physical Sciences Division (PSD) you will join a talented, multi-investigator team working in experimental Condensed Phase and Interfacial Molecular Science.  You will establish your own independent research area, collaborate with the other principle investigators, and contribute to the overall goals of the program. PNNL is committed to fostering a work environment that promotes inclusion, diversity, equity and accountability. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply; you do not need to meet all of the Preferred Qualifications to be considered.  Duties include:

  • Establish technical reputation in professional community including professional societies, other laboratories, academia, and industry.
  • Develop and conduct independent research and collaborate with other team members.
  • Mentor and train junior level researchers.

Level 2: Receives guidance on new assignments, making preliminary selections on technical alternatives; independently completes recurring assignments. Defines and leads project work at a small task/project level, reporting results on time and on budget. Contributes to proposals. Embraces expectations for quality, safety, and security. Communicates the importance within the work team.

Level 3: Selects and develops technical approaches on assignments with occasional oversight on complex problems. Principal investigator or co-PI on projects or tasks, while integrating capabilities of work team members. Supports scoping, scheduling, and budgeting at a project or major task level. Generates new ideas for proposals and business development opportunities while leading development of technical section of small to medium proposals. Demonstrates ability to acquire funding for self with programmatic impact at the sector and division level. Serves as a role model for quality, safety, and security.

Minimum Qualifications:

  •  BS/BA with 2 years of experience, MS/MA with 0-2 years of experience, or PhD.
  • Ability to work effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Preferred Qualifications:

  • BS/BA with 5 years of experience, MS/MA with 3 years of experience, or PhD with 1 year or experience.
  • Degree in Chemical Physics, Physical Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Materials Sciences or related field
  • Experience in writing and leading research proposals
  • Experience supervising and mentoring graduate students, postdocs, or junior scientists
  • Ability to lead an independent research area in experimental condensed phase and interfacial molecular science
  • Expertise in an area of experimental condensed phase chemical physics. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Ultrafast chemistry: Probe dynamics of electrons, understand energy flow, elucidate structural dynamics
    • Chemistry at complex interfaces: Uncover emergent chemical phenomena at dynamic interfaces with structural and functional heterogeneity
    • Charge transport and reactivity: Elucidate contributions of charge dynamics to energy flow and its coupling to reactions
    • Reaction pathways in diverse environments: Discover the influence of non-equilibrium, heterogeneous, nanoscale environments on complex reaction mechanisms
    • Chemistry in aqueous environments: Address unique properties of water in extreme environments and its role in chemical phenomena



PNNL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) ten national laboratories, managed by DOE's Office of Science. PNNL also performs research for other DOE offices as well as government agencies, universities, and industry to deliver breakthrough science and technology to meet today's key national needs. PNNL provides the facilities, unique scientific equipment, and world-renowned scientists/engineers to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation prevents and counters acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction increases U.S. energy capacity and reduces dependence on imported oil through research of hydrogen and biomass-based fuels reduces the effects of energy generation and use on the environment. PNNL currently has approximately 4,000 staff members and a business volume of $760 million. The William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science national scientific user facility, is located on PNNL's Richland campus.
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