Head of Discovery Plasma Science

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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)
Princeton, New Jersey, US
20 Jul 2022
19 Aug 2022


The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a world-class plasma physics and fusion energy research laboratory managed by Princeton University for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. PPPL has a major mission to further the development of the scientific understanding of the plasma universe from laboratory to astrophysical scales. In support of this mission, unparalleled capability in plasma physics is being employed to gain a predictive understanding of fundamental plasma processes that underlie important problems in astrophysics and space physics.

The purpose of this job is to coordinate discovery plasma science at PPPL.


The Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) invites applications for a Head of Discovery Plasma Science (DPS). The Head of DPS will work closely with PPPL Research, Engineering, and Operations departments and scientific collaborators at Princeton University and the broader U.S. and international plasma physics community. An initial list of DPS responsibilities includes (not necessarily in priority order):  

  • Organize and direct experimental collaborative laboratory astrophysics research at PPPL including proposal development for, and operation of, the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiments (FLARE) and the Magnetorotational Instability Experiment (MRI), and possibly re-purposing the Magnetic Reconnection eXperiment (MRX).
  • Organize and direct proposals and research for High Energy Density Laboratory Plasma (HEDLP) physics at/from PPPL including the use of powerful lasers to probe the physics of laser-plasma interactions and the study of the structure of magnetized plasmas.
  • Develop and exploit advanced diagnostics enabling new measurement capability and understanding supporting discovery plasma science, fusion, and broader plasma physics.
  • Support and develop plasma-based thruster and propulsion programs and experiments.
  • Serve as an incubator for non-tokamak/stellarator confinement concepts and small experiments.
  • Assume line management responsibility for the upkeep and safety of DPS spaces and experiments working with Environmental Safety and Health subject matter experts.
  • Ensure adequate resources and staff are available to achieve DPS goals.

Core Duties:

  • Position is up to 50% management responsibility.
  • The remaining responsibility and coverage coming from research funded by grants and awards obtained by the DPS head.

Education and Experience:

  • Ph.D. in plasma physics, laser physics, HED science, fusion science, or closely related discipline.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of experimental plasma physics, laboratory astrophysics, diagnostics, and simulations.
  • Experience in scientific leadership, team development, proposal development, successful funding.
  • Ability to work effectively and efficiently across departments and organizations to achieve goals.
  • Ability to effectively negotiate and communicate with domestic and international stakeholders.
  • Ability to define, write, and communicate a compelling vision aligned with the missions and goals of PPPL and DOE.

Physical Requirements:

  • Periodic domestic and international travel may be required to execute the duties of this position.

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. All PPPL employees are required to disclose any participation in a foreign government talent recruitment program and may be required to withdraw from such programs to remain employed under the DOE Contract.