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SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Associate Scientist - Particle Physicist for Accelerator-based Dark Sector Searches in Menlo Park, California

Associate Scientist - Particle Physicist for Accelerator-based Dark Sector Searches

Job ID



SLAC - Menlo Park, CA



SLAC Job Postings

Position Overview:

The Fundamental Physics Directorate (FPD) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory seeks candidates at the Associate Scientist level (Tier 2 in scientific staff career path) with a proven track record of scientific achievement in experimental particle physics to support and develop SLAC’s program of accelerator-based Dark Sectors searches. SLAC is one of the world’s premier research institutions in particle physics and astrophysics, with leadership in a number of high-impact efforts. SLAC scientists developed much of the underlying theory and phenomenology describing Dark Sectors and sub-GeV particle Dark Matter and has led the worldwide effort to search for this physics in fixed-target accelerator experiments.

The program currently consists of two SLAC-led experiments, the ongoing Heavy Photon Search (HPS) at the JLab CEBAF which searches for new light mediators necessitated by sub-GeV thermal relics and the Light Dark Matter eXperiment (LDMX), planned for operation at SLAC, which searches generically for sub-GeV thermal relics using the LCLS-II electron drive beam. SLAC’s role in both experiments includes the design, construction, and operation of silicon tracking detectors, high-rate data acquisition, charged particle track reconstruction, and the analysis of data with unique potential to discover the fundamental nature of Dark Matter. In addition, as the host laboratory for LDMX, SLAC will be responsible for coordination and integration of the beamline and detector subsystems, storage and processing of the raw data, and oversight of operations in End Station A. The successful candidate will help direct these projects, lead their science missions with hands-on work and mentorship, and grow the program by identifying future opportunities in small experiments that search for dark sectors and new, light, weakly coupled physics with accelerators.

Inclusiveness and diversity are integral to SLAC’s commitment to excellence in research, engagement, and education. We therefore encourage applications from candidates identifying with groups that are historically underrepresented in physics.

Given the nature of this position, SLAC will require onsite work.

Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Analysis of physics data to search for sub-GeV Dark Matter and other dark sector particles.

  • Support of ongoing operations for HPS, including the maintenance and operation of the HPS Silicon Vertex Tracker (SVT) and the SVT data acquisition system.

  • Development of the LDMX detector design, construction of the detector, and operation of the detector at SLAC, with a focus on silicon tracking and high-rate data acquisition.

  • Development of new accelerator-based searches for Dark Sectors and sub-GeV Dark Matter at SLAC or other laboratories.

  • Mentorship of postdoctoral research associates and graduate students and oversight of engineering and technical staff.

Note: This position is at the Associate Scientist (Tier 2) level. The Associate Scientist is a 3 to 5 year fixed term research staff position. The Associate position is assessed after the 3 to 5 year period with the possibility of appointment to the Staff Scientist level. Appointment to the Associate Scientist level requires a review and evaluation of documented scientific achievement.

Applicants should include a cover letter, a statement of research including brief summary of accomplishments, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and three reference letters with the application. Materials should be submitted to AJO:


To be successful in this position you will bring:

  • Ph.D. in experimental particle physics.

  • 2 years of relevant experience in accelerator-based experimental particle physics.

  • Demonstrated knowledge with the standard tools used in the simulation, reconstruction, and analysis of data from accelerator-based particle physics experiments.

  • Effective communication and writing skills to prepare and present technical and scientific documentation.

  • Demonstrated record of scientific productivity through publications.

  • Demonstrated ability to work and communicate effectively with a diverse population.

  • Demonstrated ability to carry out independent research and collaborate in a team environment.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience building and/or operating detector systems for particle physics experiments.

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in silicon tracking and track reconstruction.

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with high-rate data acquisition systems.

  • Demonstrated excellence analyzing data from particle physics experiments to search for new phenomena.

  • Experience in the calibration of detector systems for particle physics experiments.

  • Familiarity with DOE-funded national laboratory research.

Deadline: Processing of applications for this position will begin on March 1, 2024 but the position will be open until filled. This position is based at SLAC/Stanford with an expected start time of Summer 2024. For further information about this position, please contact Dr. Timothy Nelson ( tknelson@slac.stanford.edu ).

SLAC Competencies:

Effective Decisions: Uses job knowledge and solid judgment to make quality decisions in a timely manner.

Self-Development: Pursues a variety of venues and opportunities to continue learning and developing.

Dependability: Can be counted on to deliver results with a sense of personal responsibility for expected outcomes.

Initiative: Pursues work and interactions proactively with optimism, positive energy, and motivation to move things forward.

Adaptability: Flexes as needed when change occurs, maintains an open outlook while adjusting and accommodating changes.

Communication: Ensures effective information flow to various audiences and creates and delivers clear, appropriate written, spoken, presented messages.

Relationships: Builds relationships to foster trust, collaboration, and a positive climate to achieve common goals.


Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.

Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for environment, safety and security; communicates related concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned. Meets the applicable roles and responsibilities as described in the ESH Manual, Chapter 1—General Policy and Responsibilities: http://www-group.slac.stanford.edu/esh/eshmanual/pdfs/ESHch01.pdf

Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University's Administrative Guide, http://adminguide.stanford.edu.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.

Classification Title: Associate Scientist

Duration: Fixed Term

Job code: 1092

The expected pay range for this position is $115,000 to $171,000 per annum. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Stanford University provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the university reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location and external market pay for comparable jobs.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All staff at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. SLAC is an E-Verify employer.