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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, 2021. 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.

Fellowship details

  • Proposals must align with Argonne or DOE missions
  • Proposals from all areas of STEM that align with Argonne and DOE missions will be considered, including proposals in the areas of:
    • Autonomous Discovery
    • Climate and Energy Action; Clean Energy; Energy Storage
    • Hard X-ray Science
    • Quantum Information
    • Radioisotope Discovery
    • Science for a Circular Economy
    • Universe as our Laboratory
    • Accelerator Science and Technology
    • Measurement, Signature Science, and Data Fusion
    • Microelectronics
  • Candidates should consult with their sponsors to determine the strategic alignment of proposals
  • 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 suggest Argonne divisions aligning with your research proposal.


  • 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
  • Leadership skills as evidenced through service, community outreach, activities to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, 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 Requisition 411040. 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. Please 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.