Professor (Experimental Physics) and Director, Institute for Shock Physics | Institute for Shock Physics – Washington State University


Posted: 03-Mar-23

Location: Pullman, Washington

Salary: $160,000 – $200,000


Physics: Condensed Matter

Physics: Physics



Work Function:

Faculty 4-Year College/University

Salary Details:

[Academic basis (9 month)]

Required Education:


Washington State University (WSU) seeks a visionary leader for the next Director of the Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) to continue its legacy of excellence. The Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) is a multidisciplinary, multi-location research organization, within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Washington State University (WSU), with an emphasis on a fundamental understanding of condensed matter response at extreme conditions. The WSU shock physics effort, widely recognized as the academic leader in the field, has a long and distinguished history of research innovations and excellence, and rigorous hands-on training in studying physical and chemical phenomena under extreme dynamic compression.

We invite applicants for a permanent, full-time, academic position in the Institute for Shock Physics at the rank of professor with eligibility for tenure in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The successful candidate will serve as the Director in the Institute for Shock Physics, located on the WSU Pullman campus. The initial administrative appointment as director will be for five (5) years and is renewable upon successful performance. The person hired will be an outstanding experimentalist and proven leader with a strong record of scientific accomplishments in dynamic compression science, as well as the demonstrated ability to lead complex, multidisciplinary research projects. The Director will be expected to define and lead new research initiatives, lead the work of advanced scientists and staff, and instruct and mentor graduate students. The appointment distribution for the position is 30% leadership, 60% research, and 10% teaching.

Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide scientific and administrative leadership for the Institute for Shock Physics.
  • Develop/sustain an externally supported, innovative and forward looking research program, including scientific enhancements to the Institute’s unique capabilities and facilities, including the Dynamic Compression Sector.
  • Mentor graduate students and post-doctoral research associates.
  • Publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including high-impact journals.
  • Teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Physics.
  • Disseminate results and findings at national and international venues (conferences, meetings, or colloquia) – invited and contributed presentations.
  • Engage in activities, both internal and external to WSU, to enhance the scientific impact and stature of the ISP, specifically by conducting state-of-the-art research and by fostering collaborations within and outside WSU.


Required Qualifications

  • PhD in Physics or closely related field and 12-15 years of post-PhD research experience by the appointment start-date.  
  • A record of accomplishments in research, teaching, and service commensurate with department, college, and university standards for tenure at the level of full professor:
  • Strong research credentials in condensed matter response under shock compression, particularly as demonstrated by significant peer reviewed publications.
  • Expertise in conducting/guiding in situ, time-resolved, x-ray and optical measurements to understand fundamental mechanisms governing a broad range of time-dependent, condensed matter phenomena under dynamic compression.
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and strong record of research accomplishments and program development, including ability to define and lead new research initiatives and/or multidisciplinary research projects.
  • A strong interest in teaching and the ability and expertise to guide and successfully supervise the research activities of graduate students and postdoctoral research associates.

Salary Range and Benefits: $160,000-200,000 [Academic basis (9-month)]

The above salary reflects the full salary range for this position. Individual placement within the range is based on the candidate’s current experience, education, skills, assigned rank and abilities related to the position. While serving as the ISP Director, this position will be eligible for an administrative stipend for the duration of the Director appointment.

WSU offers a comprehensive benefits package which includes paid sick leave; paid holidays; medical, dental, life and disability insurance package for employees and dependents; retirement; deferred compensation and optional supplemental retirement accounts. For a more detailed summary of benefits offered by WSU for Faculty visit:

Find total compensation information here:


To Apply: Visit, select your appropriate employment status, and search for R-8954. Please upload the following documents: 

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research Statement describing both individual interests and leadership of larger-scale research initiatives (limit 3 pages)
  • Leadership and Mentoring statement describing approach to leading personnel and operations of a multi-location scientific organization and contributing to diversity, equity, and inclusion (limit 2 pages)
  • Contact information for 5 professional references. References will not be contacted without advance notice to the candidate.

Please contact Ms. Sheila Heyns with inquiries regarding this position ([email protected], 509-335-1861).

Screening Begin Date

Formal screening of applications will begin March 30, 2023 and will remain ongoing until a successful applicant has been identified.

About WSU, Pullman, CAS, and Institute for Shock Physics:

The Institute for Shock Physics Overview

Spanning more than 65 years, many pioneering developments in shock wave experiments and theory have been carried out at WSU.  The Institute has ongoing research activities at the following three locations:

  • Institute for Shock Physics – Pullman, WA: Combining research innovations and rigorous education (
  • Dynamic Compression Sector – Argonne, IL: Frontier of dynamic compression science (first-of-a-kind worldwide user facility) located at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory (
  • Applied Sciences Laboratory – Spokane, WA: Transforming science into practical solutions (

One of WSU’s most notable achievements in this field has been the development of an outstanding group of scientists who have been educated and trained as graduate students and postdoctoral research associates.  These individuals have gone on to become leaders in the field, with WSU graduates and/or faculty members securing to date seven of the nineteen George E. Duvall Shock Compression Science Awards from the American Physical Society. Additionally, there exist excellent opportunities for collaborations with faculty at partner universities (Princeton and the California Institute of Technology), and scientists at the DOE/NNSA and DoD Laboratories.

Washington State University is a land grant, multiple-campus Research 1 institution founded in 1890. Due to its strong emphasis on excellence in research and education, the Carnegie Classification™ has designated WSU as R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity. This position will serve on the Pullman campus, which has an enrollment of around 20,000 students and is located in Southeastern Washington on the homelands of the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) Tribe and Palus people. For more information about WSU, please visit

Encompassing more than 30 departments, schools, and research institutes on five campuses statewide, the College of Arts & Sciences is the heart of WSU. Together our 730+ faculty and staff deliver more than 50% of WSU’s total undergraduate and graduate instruction, including the vast majority of WSU’s core curriculum. We also drive significant annual research expenditures, with wide interdisciplinary strengths in public and community health, environmental change, equity and social justice, and data and technology at the boundaries. As Arts & Sciences begins its 10th anniversary as a unified college, we seek to lead a reimagining of WSU’s land-grant mission for the 21st century, expanding the boundaries of creativity and discovery while simultaneously recognizing more completely our obligations to Native and Indigenous peoples.  For more about the College of Arts & Sciences at WSU, please see

Located 80 miles south of metropolitan Spokane, Pullman is also a quick drive away from the scenic Idaho panhandle and Moscow Mountain. The rolling hills of the Palouse offer a wide range of activities and a true four-season climate. The area provides ample opportunity to enjoy the cultural and academic hub of both Washington State University and the University of Idaho, in the neighboring town of Moscow, Idaho. For more information about the region, please see

WSU acknowledges that its locations statewide are on the homelands of Native American peoples, who have lived in this region and have been caretakers of the land from time immemorial. The Morrill Act of 1862 established our land-grant institution by providing public and federal lands that are traced back to the disposition of Indigenous lands, often taken by coercive and violent acts, and the disregard of treaties. For that, we extend our deepest apologies. We owe our deepest gratitude to the Native peoples of this region and maintain our commitment towards reconciliation. And as a land-grant institution, WSU is deeply committed to the land-grant mission, its Memorandums of Understanding with Native tribes in the region, and a tradition of service to society. To read the full WSU land acknowledgement, please see

Washington State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Educator and Employer. Members of ethnic minorities, women, protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply. WSU has faculty friendly policies including a partner accommodation program, & a NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant (see


WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521 (v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or [email protected].

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About Institute for Shock Physics – Washington State University

The Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) at Washington State University (WSU) is a multi-disciplinary research organization with a strong focus on understanding condensed matter response at extreme conditions. WSU (as the lead institution) and three outstanding academic partners – Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, and Stanford University – conduct substantive research leading to advances/innovations in the field of Dynamic Compression Science. Multidisciplinary research activities, involving students, postdocs, and faculty members from different academic disciplines at the four participating institutions, comprehensively address the exciting scientific challenges. In addition, meaningful and mutually beneficial collaborations with scientists are undertaken at the NNSA Laboratories: Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia. WSU is a leader in shock wave and high pressure research. The research activities, supported by the DOE/NNSA and other federal agencies, involve examining and understanding physical and chemical changes in solids and liquids under very rapid and large compressions. Using state-of-the-art experimental and computational capabilities, world-class faculty at the ISP conduct interdisciplinary research spanning the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, solid mechanics, planetary sciences, and applied mathematics. Graduate students and faculty from various academic departments participate in the research activities.

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