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Theoretical & Computational Plasma Physicist - R&D Associate

Date: Oct 22, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830-8050

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6609 


We are seeking a R&D Associate Staff Member in the Plasma Theory & Modeling Group in the Burning Plasma Foundations Section of the Fusion Energy Division, within the Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


ORNL’s Plasma Theory and Modeling Group carries out research in nearly all areas of magnetic fusion energy development and related technology development. The program is a strong and vital component of both the U.S. fusion program and the international fusion community. As part of our research team, you will work with a multidisciplinary team of theoretical, computational, and experimental physicists in one or more of the following disciplines: edge transport and turbulence, magnetohydrodynamics (including control and mitigation of transients), or integrated modeling, with applications to a range of devices, including the DIII-D (San Diego, CA), NSTX-U (Princeton, NJ), and various international tokamaks, as well as contributing to preconceptual design activities for a fusion pilot plant. The work assignment will be located at ORNL in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • You will be involved in both developing new and applying existing models and simulation tools to understand one or more of the following topics:
    • Edge plasma dynamics, with a focus on understanding the interaction between the pedestal, the boundary plasma, plasma-facing components and core performance. Of particular interest here will be the development and implementation of novel formulations and models to study the interaction of the pedestal and boundary plasma.
    • Magnetohydrodynamics, with a focus on and transient prediction and mitigation, engagement with the ORNL fueling and transient mitigation technology group to better prepare for ITER, and possible engagement with private fusion ventures.
    • Integrated modeling, with a focus on contributing to the suite of predictive tools to be used in preconceptual design of a fusion pilot plant.
  • You will be responsible for interaction with division staff and the external collaborators that work with the ORNL research group.
  • You will be expected to work independently, collaborate with experimentalists, fully document work in technical reports and publications, effectively interface with project sponsors, and participate in the development of research proposals.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD degree in Plasma Physics or a related discipline and minimum of 2 years of experience
  • Background in the physics of toroidal confinement devices and/or computational physics
  • Experience in the development and application of complex scientific codes for fusion devices


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in both analytical theory and computational physics is desirable, as are examples of successful collaboration with experimentalists
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.