Los Alamos National LaboratoryCenter for Space and Earth Science
Part of the National Security Education Center

Chick Keller Postdoctoral Fellowship

A prestigious named Los Alamos Postdoctoral Fellowship, for cutting-edge experimental, theoretical, computational, and engineering research covering one of the four CSES Science Disciplines - Astrophysics and Cosmology, Space Science, Solid Earth Geoscience and Climate Science


  • Director
  • Reiner Friedel
  • (505) 665-1936
  • Email
  • Professional Staff Assistant
  • Melissa Martinez
  • (505) 665-0391
  • Email

Science Discipline Leaders  

  • Astrophysics & Cosmology
  • Hui Li
  • (505) 665-3131
  • Email
  • Climate
  • Keeley Costigan
  • (505) 665-4788
  • Email
  • Geophysics
  • David Coblentz
  • (505) 667-2781
  • Email
  • Space Physics
  • Geoffrey Reeves
  • (505) 665-3877
  • Email


The Center for Space and Earth Science (CSES) introduces a new named Los Alamos Postdoctoral Fellowship for FY17 onwards – named after Chick Keller, Director of the LANL Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) from 1980 to 1990. IGPP was the predecessor of the current CSES. This named fellowship replaces the existing CSES Postdoctoral Fellow Program announced in the FY16 Call for Proposals in its entirety.

The Chick Keller Fellowship will be administered through the Los Alamos Postdoc Program in an analogous manner to the already existing named Postdoctoral Fellow programs (Director’s Agnew and Metropolis).

CSES anticipates appointing one or two Chick Keller Fellows in FY17, and then at least four Chick Keller Fellows (one in each of the CSES Science Disciplines) for FY18 onward, more if funding permits.


The Chick Keller Postdoctoral Fellowship seeks outstanding candidates in any of the four CSES Science Disciplines:

Astrophysics and Cosmology - with the goal of advancing theoretical, modeling, computational and experimental sciences to address fundamental questions in astrophysics and cosmology, and to map such capabilities to weapon physics (e.g., nuclear physics, radiation hydrodynamics, plasma physics, magneto-hydrodynamics, uncertainty quantification) and national security (e.g., nuclear detection, transients, sensing, imaging).

Space Science - with the goal of advancing our understanding of the space environment from the Sun to the Earth and beyond - with the particular goal of understanding how the space environment affects the systems in space that support security and quality of life in our increasingly technological society.

Solid Earth Geoscience - with the goal of advancing theoretical, experimental, modeling and simulation studies that address fundamental issues in basic earth processes, as well as promoting capabilities needed for a better understanding of applied problems including natural hazards, repository science, natural resources and nuclear monitoring. We include terrestrial planets and similar solar system objects under "solid earth geoscience."

Climate Science - with the goal of advancing and integrating theoretical, modeling and simulation with observational and experimental sciences that push the frontiers of predictability of weather/climate, its variability and its response to anthropogenic forcing, and to understand how to strengthen the resilience of interdependent infrastructure, both in today's and in future climate states.

This fellowship is open to all nationalities and the specific focused science topics in the four science disciplines supported by CSES. The focused science topics are established by CSES on a three-yearly cycle; the current focus topics are outlined in the FY16 CSES Call for Proposals (pdf) - see chapter 3.

Funding and timeline

The initial commitment to a postdoc is two years, with a possible extension to a third year. Chick Keller Postdoc Fellows are funded out of the CSES LDRD (Laboratory Directed Research and Development) portfolio, and may be funded for up to three years, consistent with the 36-month project limit of the DOE LDRD Order.

The allocation of funds will be as follows:

1st year 1/2 time Chick Keller Fellow Funding
2nd year 1/2 time Chick Keller Fellow Funding
3rd year 1/4 time Chick Keller Fellow Funding

This funding profile requires division commitment for additional funding. The mentor and division will need to identify projects that will support the remainder of the funding. The initial division commitment must include a plan for 1/2 non-Chick Keller Postdoc Fellow support in the 2nd year.

The additional funding may be drawn from other LDRD projects. In addition, the work supported by any non-LDRD funding sources must be clearly distinct from the LDRD work, to be consistent with the LDRD augmentation rule. Divisions will decide whether to commit to a third postdoc year; if they do, the 1/4 time Chick Keller Fellow support will be available.

Note: Current LANL postdocs are not eligible to receive 3rd year partial funding without an exception being granted.


Applications to this fellowship are open at any time, however initially selections will be considered at two of the Los Alamos Postdoctoral Quarterly reviews in 2017 (February and August):

  • February 14 review - deadline for applications is January 3
  • August 8 review - deadline for applications is June 28

Applications will be reviewed by the LANL Postdoctoral Committee and final selections will be made by the CSES Postdoctoral Committee.

Candidates may be considered for a Director's Fellowship and outstanding candidates may be considered for the prestigious Marie Curie, Richard P. Feynman, J. Robert Oppenheimer, or Frederick Reines Fellowships.

For general information, refer to the Postdoctoral Program page. Interested candidates should submit a letter describing their research interests, and a CV or resume, including list of publications in their application.

For further technical questions, email chick_keller@lanl.gov.

Notes to LANL mentors

Prospective LANL mentors for Chick Keller Fellows are required to submit a one-page justification on how the proposed research contributes to the focused science topics of CSES.

Submit this justification and any further technical questions by email to chick_keller@lanl.gov.

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