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High Pressure Physics and Materials - Research Associate

Entry Level | Full-time
Physical Life Sciences | livermore, CA | 05/12/2023

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Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is important for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Pay Range

$103,290.00  - $132,612.00  Annually for the SES.1 level
$123,960.00  - $159,168.00  Annually for the SES.2 level

Please note that the pay range information is a general guideline only. Many factors are taken into consideration when setting starting pay including education, experience, the external labor market, and internal equity.

Job Description

We have multiple openings for Research Assistants interested in the dynamic response of materials at high rates and pressures. This position includes the opportunities to study high-temperature and high-pressure physics, shock produced ejecta, heterogenous materials, and high-pressure chemistry.

You will work with a team of experienced physicists and engineers to design, build, execute, and analyze experiments using gas guns, x-ray facilities, and computational/numerical simulations. In this role you will also publish research results in peer-reviewed journals, and present results at external conferences, seminars, and/or technical meetings. This position is in the Materials Physics at Extremes group, within the Physics Division (PHYS), in the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

This position will be filled at either level based on knowledge and related experience as assessed by the hiring team. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if hired at the higher level.

You will 

  • Contribute to fabrication, execution, and analysis of studies of material properties under extreme pressure and strain rate conditions. Potential research areas include, but are not limited to, the following topics: high-pressure thermal transport, unloading processes, shock produced jetting, heterogeneous materials, high-pressure chemistry and spectroscopy.
  • Contribute to fabrication, metrology, documentation, and data reduction of experimental assemblies. Assist in experimental calibration (including analyzing calibration data) and execution.
  • Improve and operate existing experimental platforms and diagnostics. This may include work at off-site facilities.
  • Document findings and solutions. Organize, analyze, and present results for an interdisciplinary team.
  • Work closely with a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, and technicians both at LLNL as well as outside of LLNL, to complete project goals.
  • Prepare reports and participate in publishing research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Present results at external conferences.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.2 level

  • Develop, calibrate, and operate new experimental platforms, hardware, and diagnostics. This may include work at off-site facilities.
  • Design and develop new experimental packages in conjunction with senior staff.
  • Track experimental progress and assist in advancing project goals.
  • Analyze data from calibration across multiple diagnostics, and analyze experimental data.


  • Ability to secure and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Data Science, Physics, or related field, or the equivalent combination of education and relevant experience.
  • Experience with one or more of the following areas: high-rate or single shot experiments, high-pressure research, mechanics of materials, spectroscopy, fluid dynamics.
  • Experience with comprehensive data analysis and statistical methods.
  • Experience in and ability to apply a broad range of experimental design, methods, and analysis.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication skills, such as would be needed to write reports, peer-reviewed publications, and proposals.
  • Initiative, eagerness to learn and apply new techniques, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work in a collaborative, multidisciplinary team environment.
  • Familiarity with data acquisition and/or data analysis software (e.g., excel, Matlab, Python, Mathematica, Comsol, Labview, C/C++, R, etc.).

Additional qualifications at the SES.2 level

  • Expertise with data acquisition and/or data analysis software (e.g., excel, Matlab, Python, Mathematica, Comsol, Labview, C/C++, R, etc.) or design software (e.g., CAD).
  • Previous experience preparing documents and publishing results.

Qualifications We Desire

  • Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Data Science, Physics, or related field, or the equivalent combination of education and relevant experience.
  • Experience using gas guns, explosives, or lasers to study materials under dynamic pressure; experience working at beamlines/large facilities; or other high-risk, preparation intensive, experimental settings.
  • Expertise using (multi)physics simulation codes to model experiments or analyze scientfic data, for example, COMSOL, MATLAB, CTH, Mathematica, Igor Pro, or ALE3D.
  • Experience with fabrication methods, CAD, and fielding experiments in complex environments.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Position Information

This is a Career Indefinite position, open to Lab employees and external candidates.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. Also, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship. 

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position must pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

Beware of Fraudulent Job Postings. LLNL’s hiring practices:

  • Never requires job applicants to pay an application/training fee or submit personal documents like bank account details, passport number, Social Security number, tax forms or credit card information as part of the application process. 
  • For interviews and to be granted access to a Federal facility, a LLNL employee will contact you directly to collect visa, passport number, and/or Social Security number.  To vet the authenticity of the employee please have them provide you their name and phone number and verify at
  • Involves at least one interview (virtual or in-person) and never interviews job applicants through chat platforms such as Google Hangouts, or via correspondence through text and instant messaging systems.
  • Only sends email communications to job applicants from domain “” or via their applicant tracking system, [email protected]. Occasionally LLNL uses third-party vendors that will contact you about job opportunities.  If a recruiter contacts you to apply, you will always be directed to our career page to apply through our career site.
  • Encourages all applicants to visit LLNL’s careers page at if they saw the job posting on another site prior to applying to ensure the job posting is accurate and valid.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We are an equal opportunity employer that is committed to providing all with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

We invite you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Reasonable Accommodation

Our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive experience for all candidates applying and interviewing at the Laboratory.  If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please use our online form to submit a request. 

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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