Nuclear Weapons Scientist (Scientist 2/3)

What You Will Do

This position will be filled at either the Scientist 2/Scientist 3 level, depending on the skills of the selected candidate. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if the candidate is hired at the higher level.

X-Theoretical Design (XTD) is a national resource for deterrence of existing or emerging threats. We are experts in the physics of nuclear weapons, tasked with designing nuclear explosives for the US stockpile, bolstering the nation's nuclear triad capability and assessing global nuclear threats. We use advanced theoretical, numerical and experimental methods to understand nuclear weapons design, performance and safety. XTD scientists are from diverse backgrounds and fields, including physics, engineering, mathematics, and other natural sciences. We prioritize learning, scholarship, and independent thinking. We collaborate across disciplines, divisions, academia, other laboratories and agencies.
As a scientist in XTD your skills from the unclassified world will be honed through one-on-one mentoring, formal coursework, and on-the-job training to create the skills required to be effective in the classified world of nuclear weapons design and assessment.

Scientist 2 ($101,700-$168,200)
You will develop a thorough capability to solve problems of national security interest with large multi-physics and/or radiation transport codes. Your role will be as unique as your skills, and you may contribute to experimental design, model development, data evaluation, and/or code validation.

Scientist 3 ($122,300-$206,300)
Beyond the Scientist 2 level, you will lead projects that rely on knowledge of nuclear weapons and mentor junior staff.

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

Scientist 2:
Technical Knowledge
Demonstrated experience with one or more of these related tasks: Developing, running, or validating complex multi-physics and/or radiation transport codes. Experimental design and analysis. Theoretical or analytic work that underpins computational physics models or experimental design.

Professional Skills
You must demonstrate the commitment to quality research, technical and scientific excellence, professional integrity, scientific communication, supporting diverse points of view, and personal initiative.

You must have a proven ability to work independently and in a team environment on multidisciplinary research problems.

Technical Contributions
A documented history of technical contributions to a scientific field in the form of publications, technical talks, patents, etc.

Additional requirements for Scientist 3:

Technical Leadership
You must demonstrate technical leadership along with supervisory and/or mentoring experience.

Education/Experience Scientist 2: Position requires a bachelor's degree in a STEM field from an accredited college or university and 4 years of related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience directly related to the occupation.
Education/Experience Scientist 3: Position requires a master's degree in a STEM field from an accredited college or university and 6 years of relevant experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience directly related to the occupation.

Desired Qualifications:

  • We include a broad range of experience, any of which we request be noted in the cover letter. There is no expectation that a candidate has all, or even more than one of these skills.
  • PhD preferred with postdoctoral work in Physics, Computational Science, Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Materials Science, Chemistry or a related field.
  • Active DOE Q Clearance
  • Experience with large-scale computing.
  • Familiarity with the design and analysis of nuclear weapons.
  • Knowledge and experience relative to uncertainty and/or risk analysis.
  • Relevant military and/or intelligence experience.

Work Environment:
Work Location: The work location for this position is onsite and located in Los Alamos, NM. All work locations are at the discretion of management.
Position commitment: Regular appointment employees are required to serve a period of continuous service in their current position in order to be eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the time required, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. The position commitment for this position is 1 year.

Note to Applicants:

Please attach a resume and a detailed cover letter addressing all required and desired skills with your application. Without a resume and cover letter, your application will not be considered.

Where You Will Work

Located in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. Our generous benefits package includes:

§ PPO or High Deductible medical insurance with the same large nationwide network

§ Dental and vision insurance

§ Free basic life and disability insurance

§ Paid childbirth and parental leave

§ Award-winning 401(k) (6% matching plus 3.5% annually)

§ Learning opportunities and tuition assistance

§ Flexible schedules and time off (PTO and holidays)

§ Onsite gyms and wellness programs

§ Extensive relocation packages (outside a 50 mile radius)
Additional Details

Directive 206.2 - Employment with Triad requires a favorable decision by NNSA indicating employee is suitable under NNSA Supplemental Directive 206.2. Please note that this requirement applies only to citizens of the United States. Foreign nationals are subject to a similar requirement under DOE Order 142.3A.

Clearance: Q (Position will be cleared to this level). Selected applicants will be subject to a background investigation conducted by or on behalf of the Federal Government, and must meet eligibility requirements* for access to classified matter. This position requires a Q clearance. and obtaining such clearance requires US Citizenship except in extremely rare circumstances. Dependent upon the position, additional authorization to access classified information may be required, which may or may not be available to dual citizens. Receipt of a Q clearance and additional access authorization ultimately is a decision of the Federal Government and not of Triad.

*Eligibility requirements: To obtain a clearance, an individual must be at least 18 years of age; U.S. citizenship is required except in very limited circumstances. See DOE Order 472.2 for additional information.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing. Although New Mexico and other states have legalized the use of marijuana, use and possession of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. A positive drug test for marijuana will result in termination of employment, even if the use was pre-offer.

Regular position: Term status Laboratory employees applying for regular-status positions are converted to regular status.

Internal Applicants: Regular appointment employees who have served the required period of continuous service in their current position are eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the required period of continuous service, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. Please refer to Policy Policy P701 for applicant eligibility requirements.
Equal Opportunity: Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to or call 505-664-6947 option 2.