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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Career Options

Explore the multiple dimensions of a career at Los Alamos Lab: work with the best minds on the planet in an inclusive environment that is rich in intellectual vitality and opportunities for growth.
Super Cam and Chem Cam photographed to scale.

Super Cam and Chem Cam photographed to scale.

Curious about a career in R&D mechanical engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory?

Our R&D mechanical engineers engage in a moment-to-moment, project-to-project kind of career. Read what some of them are saying about their exciting work.

Lee says: "In our group, mechanical engineers are responsible for customer deliverables. We provide mechanical engineering analysis and design support to other organizations and projects. This includes CAD modeling, analytical analysis, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), rapid prototyping, and experimental testing, taking a product from cradle to grave. We design a component (or system), conduct analysis using both analytical and FEA models to validate the design, fabricate/procure the component, and perform testing to evaluate the true effectiveness of the design. Our group really strives to provide a complete and thorough deliverable so that our customer is confident and satisfied with our work."

Steve says: "I work in the Space Instrumentation Realization Group. The projects our group supports are numerous, varied, often have tight schedules, and many are composed of small teams. As a result, the engineers have to wear many hats. This includes a significant amount of CAD work including 3D modeling, along with creating or checking detailed fabrication drawings. We perform much of the thermal and structural analysis using finite element software. We participate in the assembly of the hardware. We oversee environmental testing and develop test plans for tests including vibration, shock, and thermal vacuum. If there is a failure, we conduct forensic analysis to determine the cause and quickly find a solution. We also give presentations at formal design reviews and other meetings, and contribute to published papers."

Seung Jun says: "In our group, we conduct numerical modeling analyses on various engineering problems (i.e., thermal fluid dynamic, fluid-structure interaction, and topology optimization for additive manufacturing applications). We also design and build the thermal fluid experimental loop for solar and nuclear system applications."

John says: "In my group, I work on mechanical design, analysis, fabrication, testing, and deployment of mechanical structures, mechanisms, thermal control systems, and robotics. Engineers use state-of-the-art CAD modeling and analysis software packages to design hardware for science experiments (such as accelerator cooling and vacuum systems, neutron detectors at LANSCE, high power electromagnets, material test stations, chemistry gas and liquid handling systems), spacecraft instruments, environmental test equipment, and more. We provide manufacturing oversight, assemble and test hardware, and operate experimental equipment to study the performance of mechanical systems. Our engineers also write data analysis codes; set up complex thermal, flow, and dynamic experiments; and use high tech diagnostic tools such as high speed cameras, hot wire anemometry, digital image correlation, and particle image velocimetry."

Key mechanical engineering projects and accomplishments

Our mechanical engineers make significant contributions across the Lab. Their work can be seen in the design and fabrication of space-based custom instrumentation, and the development of new, innovative solutions for the nation’s nuclear security problems, such as

  • Trident, a short pulse laser that delivers 150 Terawatts of power focused on a 7-micrometer spot to test novel methods of producing intense laser-driven ion beams.
  • ChemCam, CheMin and MMRTG, three instruments aboard NASA’s Curiosity Rover. Curiosity is making historic discoveries about whether Mars has ever had conditions that could support life.
  • Nuclear deterrence by proper management of the nuclear stockpile. Our mechanical engineers play a key role in U.S. national security. They work with the B61 gravity bomb, the W78 thermonuclear warheads carried by the U.S Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the W76 and W88 warheads carried by the U.S. Navy’s Trident missile submarines.

Follow our mechanical engineering career opportunities

We will have exciting opportunities for R&D mechanical engineers in Engineering Sciences, Plutonium Science and Manufacturing, and Intelligence and Space Research.

In the weeks to come, watch this page for more detailed information about mechanical engineering careers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Next time

  • Lab mechanical engineers describe what they love about their jobs!

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