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The Pennsylvania State University`s Department of Geosciences is seeking a Postdoctoral Scholar to study geological samples using state-of-the-art instrumentation with ultimate application to future planetary missions. The successful candidate will develop spatial maps of elemental chemistry of a suite of samples representing a range of mineralogies and fossilization potential, including hydrogenous material. The driving research question is to determine to what degree miniature instruments, based on novel detectors, produce data that can resolve elemental distributions in complex geological samples, and thus ultimately can be deployed on planetary surfaces beyond Earth.
The successful candidate will be joining a collaborative team at The Pennsylvania State University, including colleagues from Fisk University and Vanderbilt University, who are testing, evaluating, and improving a compact neutron spectrometer design for planetary lithochemistry. The funded postdoctoral scholar at Penn State will analyze a suite of geological samples to test the ability of the prototype neutron detectors to accurately reveal the bulk chemistry of the materials and its spatial distribution (through element imaging). By investigating the same samples with conventional instruments, as well as the prototype neutron detectors, the work is intended to provide a critical test in the design cycle of the proposed planetary instrument.
To carry out this project, the successful candidate primarily will use laboratory facilities and instruments at University Park, Pennsylvania, while conducting limited experiments at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The successful candidate will share in the institutions’ commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, help build a strong relationship across the team, and work directly with diverse student researchers as a part of this project.
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in Geosciences or related disciplines (including Astrobiology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Planetary Sciences, and Physics) completed by start date. Excellent oral and written communication skills are required. The initial term of this appointment will be for 12 months from the date of hire. An extension of the postdoctoral position is possible, depending on funding and performance.

Location: State College, PA
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Job Type: Other


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