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Position Detail

Postdoctoral Researcher Physics Department (#1008)

Date Posted:
Staff in Physics
Search Status:
Search Is Open - Accepting Applications
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Department Summary & Job Purpose

A postdoctoral grant funded position is available in the research group of Prof. Kerstin Nordstrom, in the Physics Department at Mount Holyoke College. The project is to use photoelastic particles to better understand interparticle forces in fast granular flows, and to use network analysis methods to characterize these flows.

The qualified applicant will have a PhD in physics or a related field (or anticipated PhD in near future).  Previous experience in soft matter physics is preferred, especially particle tracking experience using MATLAB or Python scripts. Mentored teaching opportunities are available for applicants seeking teaching experience in a liberal arts college environment, and interested applicants should indicate this. However, teaching is not mandatory for the successful candidate.

This is a three year appointment. The ideal start date is June 1, 2021, with flexibility for a later date if necessary. An initial review of applications will begin on March 1, 2021, but the position will remain open until filled.   

Mount Holyoke College is a selective liberal arts college for undergraduate women in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, under two hours by car from Boston. Mount Holyoke is a member of the 5-College Consortium along with Smith, Hampshire, and Amherst Colleges and the University of Massachusetts, providing a vibrant community of scholars and scientists and local access to advanced instrumentation and facilities. Mount Holyoke is committed to fostering multicultural diversity and awareness in its faculty, staff, and student body and is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.  Women and people of color are especially encouraged to apply. 


Duties and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will contribute to all aspects of the lab’s activities, including but not limited to: student mentoring, coordinating/collaborating with undergraduate research students, presenting at group meetings, presenting at conferences, preparing and editing manuscripts, troubleshooting equipment issues, and communicating their career goals, project goals, progress, and work schedule with the principal investigator.


PhD in physics or a related field such as mechanical engineering or materials science. Candidates who anticipate earning a PhD before June 1, 2021 will also be considered.

The successful candidate will also demonstrate strong communication skills (oral and written), attention to detail, initiative, curiosity, and ability to work effectively as an individual and with others.


Preferred Qualifications

Previous experience working in soft matter physics, broadly defined. It is preferred that a candidate has some basic experience with working in a wet lab, and familiarity with setting up camera optics. It is also preferred that the candidate have experience using MATLAB and/or Python for particle tracking.

Background Checks/Compliance Requirements

Mount Holyoke College is committed to providing a safe and secure environment, supported by qualified employees that will allow all of its students, faculty, staff and those associated with them to successfully carry out the mission of the college. As a condition of employment, the College will conduct appropriate background checks for all new hires.    Mount Holyoke has designated the Office of Human Resources as the office responsible for ensuring that background checks (CORI, SORI, Credit History, & Driver Credential)  are completed and utilized in the hiring process and Five College Office of Compliance and Risk Management as the office responsible for facilitating background checks as articulated in this policy.  



None.  Required safety training will be completed after hire.


Working Conditions

Lab work may include physical labor (e.g. constructing apparatus, moving equipment) as well as work with some chemicals. The job will also require substantial office work: planning, preparing manuscripts, reading, data analysis, meetings.


Physical Demands

Because of lab work, ability to lift 40 pounds is recommended. Accommodations will be made if this cannot be met. The postdoc must have familiarity with lab hazards and must know their limits (e.g. evaluating when working late to complete an experiment is productive or counterproductive/hazardous).


Direct reports

As described in duties and responsibilities, this position will contribute to the training and mentoring of undergraduate student researchers during both the summer and academic year.

Special Instructions for Applicants

Applications must be made on-line at by submitting a CV and a cover letter with a brief description of your research interests and career goals. Please also include the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of three references. The position will remain open until filled, though applications will be reviewed starting March 1, 2021.

Mount Holyoke College is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Mount Holyoke College is a women's college that is gender diverse. The College is committed to providing equal access and opportunity in employment and education to all employees and students. In compliance with state and federal law, Mount Holyoke College does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, genetic information, sex, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, ancestry, veteran or military status, or any other legally protected status under federal, state or local law. The College does not discriminate on the basis of gender in the recruitment and admission of students to its graduate program.