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Human Resources

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 p.m. Central Daylight Time (U.S.) on October 1, 2022. Incomplete applications will not be considered for review.

The Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellowship aims to attract early career researchers who are eager to develop their careers in Argonne’s mission-driven, high-impact research environment. 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 interested in a research career in a Department of Energy national laboratory are encouraged to apply.

Fellowship details

  • Proposals must align with one of the following strategic initiatives. Candidates should review the descriptions of the initiatives in the applicant instructions before applying.
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Science
    • Autonomous Discovery
    • Climate Action
    • Clean Energy and Sustainability
    • Hard X-ray Science
    • Microelectronics
    • Quantum Information Science
    • Detection of Imaging Signatures (For the national security portion of this initiative only, the selected candidate will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance and must be a U.S. citizen. Please go to the U.S. Department of State’s website for more information about requirements for obtaining a security clearance process.)
  • The following funding model allows Fellows to advance independent research as outlined in their fellowship proposal, while making significant contributions to Argonne initiatives:
    • 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 the host division.
  • Fellows will receive a competitive salary, full employment benefits, 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 if of mutual interest to the fellow and Argonne.

Candidates are encouraged to review Argonne’s scientific and engineering research areas and the following resources to identify Argonne divisions aligning with your research proposal. Detailed descriptions of initiatives relevant to this fellowship are provided in the applicant instructions.


  • Ph.D. conferred within three years at the time of application or completion of Ph.D. requirements by commencement of appointment
  • Evidence of academic achievement with potential for technical and research leadership
  • Research in areas that align with Argonne’s mission
  • Interest in leadership as evidenced through collaborations, service on committees, outreach, professional society engagement, etc.
  • Creativity and motivation
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Alignment with Argonne’s Core Values: Impact, Safety, Respect, Integrity, and Teamwork

Application Instructions

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

  • Instructions for Applicants
  • Briefly, complete application packages will include:
    • Research proposal, biosketch and project plan submitted using the research template. See the Applicant Instructions for detailed guidance for your proposal. 
    • 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

Questions about eligibility, qualifications, application materials and proposals may be directed to fellowships@​anl.​gov.

Review Process and Tentative Timeline

  • Initial review of proposals for strategic alignment (October)
  • Lab-wide committee reviews applications and provides initial ranking (October-November)
  • Top candidates matched and connected with Argonne sponsors (November-December)
  • Top candidates interviewed virtually (December-January)
  • Sponsors of top candidates interviewed by committee (December-January)
  • 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.