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Human Resources Division

Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellowship

The Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellowship is awarded internationally to outstanding doctoral scientists and engineers who are at early points in promising careers. That it bears the name of Goeppert Mayer underscores the prestige of this fellowship. 

All application materials must be submitted by 7:00 PM Central Standard Time (U.S.) on October 1, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be considered for review.

Candidates for the fellowships must display superb ability in scientific or engineering research and must show definite promise of becoming outstanding leaders in the research they pursue. Fellows work closely with an Argonne sponsor to pursue their research interests. Fellows are hired as an Argonne Scholar with full benefits, a highly competitive salary and a stipend for research support. Fellows may renew their appointments on an annual basis for up to 3 years, with the possibility of retention. Candidates must be within three years of having received the PhD at the time of application or be in the process of completing their degree requirements. All PhD requirements must be met at the commencement of the appointment.

To qualify for the Argonne National Laboratory Fellowships, you should display superb ability in scientific or engineering research and promise of becoming a global leader in the research you pursue. Proposals from all STEM disciplines are accepted and should align with Argonne or DOE missions. Candidates should consult with their sponsors to determine the strategic alignment of proposals. A successful candidate must have the ability to model Argonne’s Core Values: Impact, Safety, Respect, Integrity, and Teamwork.

The first two years of the fellowship are funded 100% by Argonne’s Laboratory Directed Research Development (LDRD) Program. The third year is funded 50% by LDRD and 50% by other programs identified by the fellow and sponsor. This model allows fellows to advance independent research as outlined in their fellowship proposal, while making significant contributions to other Laboratory initiatives.

Candidates are encouraged to review Argonne’s scientific and engineering research areas. For more information, consult the following resources:

Application Instructions

To be considered for the Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellowship, candidates must apply through Requisition 408303. Applicants must read the detailed applicant instructions before applying.

    Briefly, complete application packages will include:

    • Sponsor nomination form completed and submitted by your Argonne sponsor. Sponsors should read the detailed guidance for completing the nomination form.
    • Research proposal and project plan submitted using the research template: Review the guidance for using the template.
    • Three letters of recommendation: Refer to applicant instructions for guidance
    • CV uploaded through the application link
    • Graduate transcripts: Refer to applicant instructions for acceptable format

    Review Process and Tentative Timeline

    • Lab-wide committee reviews applications and provides initial ranking (October-November)
    • Top candidates interviewed via Skype (November-December)
    • Sponsors of top candidates interviewed by committee (November-December)
    • Committee advises Laboratory Director on final rankings (December-January)
    • Finalists notified by late December or early January


    About Maria Goeppert Mayer

    Maria Goeppert Mayer was a theoretical physicist and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus — work she conducted while here at Argonne as a senior physicist. It was during her time at Chicago and Argonne that she developed a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells, the work for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, shared with J. Hans D. Jensen and Eugene Paul Wigner. Goeppert-Mayer’s model explained why certain numbers of nucleons in the nucleus of an atom cause an atom to be extremely stable”. This had been baffling scientists for some time. These numbers are called magic numbers”. She postulated, against the received wisdom of the time, that the nucleus is like a series of closed shells and pairs of neutrons and protons like to couple together in what is called spin orbit coupling.