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Postdoctoral Appointee: Reduced-order Modeling and Simulation of Hypersonic Reentry Vehicles

Livermore, CA

Job ID: 691448

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Bidder Eligibility:

This postdoctoral position is a temporary position for up to one year, which may be renewed at Sandia's discretion up to five additional years. The PhD must have been conferred within five years prior to employment. Individuals in postdoctoral positions may bid on regular Sandia positions as internal candidates, and in some cases may be converted to regular career positions during their term if warranted by ongoing operational needs, continuing availability of funds, and satisfactory job performance.

Employees must remain in their current position for one year before applying for a new position, with the exception of student interns. Application of this requirement will not supersede collective bargaining agreements. See collective bargaining labor agreements for represented bidder eligibility requirements for represented employees.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide

  • Extraordinary co-workers

  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world

  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities

  • Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)

  • Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:*These benefits vary by job classification.

What Your Job Will Be Like:

Are you passionate about computational science and dream of utilizing state-of-the-art facilities to explore solutions? Do you want to join a collaborative team that solves significant national security challenges?

You might be the perfect postdoctoral appointee to join our interdisciplinary team performing modeling and simulation research to develop thermal protection systems (TPS) for hypersonic reentry vehicles. Your theoretical, algorithm development, computational modeling and simulation, or analysis contributions will help predict the performance of composite heat shield materials in hypersonic flight environments and inform flight testing. Your research will span disciplines including heat transport, composite materials, chemistry, and high-speed compressible fluid dynamics. You will develop and implement end-to-end modeling and simulation workflows using innovative multi-physics simulation codes on Sandia’s high-performance computers. You will integrate projection-based reduced-order modeling to preserve key physics, while drastically reducing time to solution, and enabling many-query analyses.

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • Develop, execute, and analyze novel aero/thermal simulations of hypersonic flight using cutting-edge computational engineering codes

  • Perform large-scale computational analyses and trade studies to answer scientific and engineering questions supporting hypersonic heat shield development

  • Develop and implement data-driven reduced-order models for hypersonic flight dynamics, e.g., physics-preserving projection-based ROMs

  • Work efficiently and independently under the supervision of a senior Sandia technical staff member

  • Interact within a dynamic team of experimental and computational scientists and engineers, ranging from code developers to design engineers, to develop this mission critical TPS technology

  • Publish outstanding new developments in peer-reviewed scientific journals and internal technical reports

  • Contribute to the development of robust simulation workflows and in-house/open source software

  • Present work to team members, customers including design engineers, and the larger scientific community

This job is based in Livermore, CA, or Albuquerque, NM, however virtual workers located in any U.S. State or District of Columbia may be considered. Regular or periodic travel to your assigned work location and other sites may be required. Candidates may be interviewed for this position by multiple departments.

Qualifications We Require:

  • Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computational Science & Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or other related engineering or physical science field conferred within five years prior to start of employment

  • Experience in computational modeling and simulation of compressible high-speed flows and/or data-driven reduced-order modeling

  • Experience with high-level programming or scripting languages, such as Python or C++ and the Linux operating system

  • Proven track record of publications and innovation, e.g., articles in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences

  • Ability to acquire and maintain a DOE Q security clearance

Qualifications We Desire:

Ideally, your background could also include:

  • Experience with end-to-end computational fluid dynamics simulation from geometry through meshing, analysis, and visualization; ideally on both workstations and high-performance computing clusters

  • Background in theory and practical modeling of hypersonic flight, including coupled thermal/fluid, turbulence, and gas phase / ablation chemistry phenomena

  • Experience developing and/or applying data-driven reduced-order modeling techniques, e.g., projection-based ROMs or other surrogates

  • Excellent written and oral communication and interpersonal skills demonstrated in an interdisciplinary team environment

  • Collaborative software and workflow development following modern software quality practices

  • Proven research community leadership through activities such as participation in student or professional organizations, outreach activities, mentoring, etc.

  • Related professional experience such as internships in industry or at other national labs, participation in visiting research programs, etc.

About Our Team:

The Computational Data Science Department (8738) conducts fundamental research, develops, and applies algorithms at the nexus of machine learning and computational science and engineering models. Team members develop foundational theory, algorithms, and tools, and partner to enable data-guided decision support for science and engineering mission applications. The department emphasizes fundamental, open research in new methods, notably Bayesian inference, machine learning, reduced-order modeling, and V&V/UQ. As part of the Center for Computation & Analysis for National Security (8700), we’re dedicated to anticipating and reducing national security risks through cross-domain computational and analytical capabilities with an inclusive and hybrid workforce.

The Aerosciences Department (1515) offers challenging and important work relating to national security in R&D and technology applications in aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, compressible fluid mechanics, and flight dynamics. Our primary mission supports U.S. Department of Energy Defense Programs, and aerosciences projects funded through the U.S. Department of Defense, DARPA, NASA, and industry. Our projects span the Mach number range from subsonic through hypersonic and involve systems ranging from aircraft released ordinance to reentry systems and rocket systems. Technical activities include experimental, analytical, and computational efforts plus support of flight test activities, both pre-flight/post-flight analyses and field test operations. The Aerosciences Department maintains a strong balance of research and development activities and works synergistically with other organizations at Sandia to meet current and future customer needs.

Posting Duration:

This posting will be open for application submissions for a minimum of seven (7) calendar days, including the ‘posting date’. Sandia reserves the right to extend the posting date at any time.

Security Clearance:

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment need to be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

NNSA Requirements for MedPEDs:

If you have a Medical Portable Electronic Device (MedPED), such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, drug-releasing pump, hearing aids, or diagnostic equipment and other equipment for measuring, monitoring, and recording body functions such as heartbeat and brain waves, if employed by Sandia National Laboratories you may be required to comply with NNSA security requirements for MedPEDs.

If you have a MedPED and you are selected for an on-site interview at Sandia National Laboratories, there may be additional steps necessary to ensure compliance with NNSA security requirements prior to the interview date.

Job ID: 691448

Apply Now


  • Worklife Balance
  • Flexible Work Schedules
  • Generous Paid Time Off
  • Exceptional 401K Savings Plan
  • Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance
  • Wellness Programs
  • On-site Amenities
  • Vacation Buy Plan
  • Telecommuting Arrangements*

*with management approval

Life in California

  • Close proximity to first-tier universities, Silicon Valley companies, and other top research laboratories and facilitiesM
  • Access to California’s finest public and private schoolsM
  • VineyardsM
  • BeachesM
  • State ParksM
  • Sports – Nearby major league franchisesM
  • Art havenM
  • Proximity to SF Bay AreaM

Learn more about Life in Livermore, California