Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics


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Williams College
Williamstown, MA 01267
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Company Description:
Established in 1793 with funds bequeathed by Colonel Ephraim Williams, the college is private, residential, and liberal arts, with graduate programs in the history of art and in development economics. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 2,000 students.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics
Full Time

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics
Williams College

Location: Williamstown, MA
Open Date: Apr 11, 2023

The laboratory of Professor Katharine Jensen in the Department of Physics at Williams College seeks a postdoctoral research associate for an NSF-funded position focused on investigating the effects of deformation on surface mechanical properties of polymer gels, especially in highly dynamic contexts. The position is primarily for experimental research but will also include complementary theory and simulation work. This project is part of an NSF collaborative research grant with Professor Chelsea Davis's laboratory at the Purdue University School of Materials Engineering. While this position is based at Williams College under the guidance of Prof. Jensen, the postdoctoral research associate will work directly with the research groups at both institutions.

The postdoctoral research associate will be responsible for conducting experimental and computational research on the deformation-dependent adhesion of stretched compliant networked polymer systems. This will involve the design and construction of novel apparatus, collecting and analyzing data, carefully documenting results and assaying relevant literature, and preparing manuscripts, reports, and research presentations. Additionally, the postdoctoral research associate will be expected to take an active role as a senior member of Prof. Jensen's research group, as well as an affiliated member of Prof. Davis's research group at Purdue. This includes participating in group meetings, assisting in mentoring and advising research students, training new group members in experimental and analytical methods, and coordinating lab maintenance activities. If desired, opportunities to gain experience in undergraduate teaching may be possible.

Williams College is a primarily undergraduate institution located in western Massachusetts with a highly research-active faculty. Williams is committed to building an inclusive community where members of all backgrounds can thrive. We strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented groups or who have experience working with a broadly diverse student population to apply.

Qualified applicants should have a Ph.D. in Physics, Polymer Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or a related discipline; have expertise and/or demonstrated research interest in soft matter physics and interface mechanics; and be highly motivated and able to work independently as well as part of a team. Prior experience in constructing experimental setups, mechanical testing, optical microscopy, high-speed imaging, quantitative analysis software (e.g. MATLAB, Python), working with polymers and gels, and/or performing numerical simulations is preferred. This position requires technical proficiency, scientific creativity, strong organizational skills, excellent communication and collaboration, and a strong command of spoken and written English. This is a one-year term staff position with the possibility of renewal for a second year based on performance.

Application Instructions
Interested individuals should submit a cover letter, CV, writing sample (e.g dissertation chapter or manuscript where you are the primary author), and two letters of recommendation.

Employment at Williams is contingent on the verification of background information submitted by the applicant, including the completion of a criminal record check, and education when applicable. A COVID-19 vaccine and booster or approved exemption and participation in our testing program are required as a condition of employment at Williams.

Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn and thrive. As part of this commitment, we will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process please feel free to contact us via phone at (413) 597-2681 or email at

Application review will begin on April 25 and will continue on a rolling basis until the position is filled. The pay range is from $55,000 to $55,000. We also offer generous benefits, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, our retirement plan, 22 days paid vacation time, unlimited paid sick time, holidays, rental housing, our mortgage program, tuition assistance, and more. Details can be found in our staff handbook:

For more information and to apply, visit

Williams College is a liberal arts institution located in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. The college has built its reputation on outstanding teaching and scholarship and on the academic excellence of its approximately 2,000 students. Please visit the Williams College website (

Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn, and thrive.

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