Applied Physicist/Engineer in the field of Thermodynamics (TE-CRG-CI-2020-82-LD)
European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
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Job Description

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Job Description


Are you looking for unprecedented challenges in the world’s largest and most amazing scientific instrument? Do you have experience in carrying out studies based on low-temperature physics? Then join CERN central cryogenic laboratory. Take Part!

You will join the Cryogenics Group, and the Cryolab & Instrumentation (CI) Section, that is responsible for the CERN central cryogenic laboratory. This lab is a research facility for systems working in a temperature range down to 50 mK, equipped with about ten test stands. The research program is based on demands specified by the CERN community and is varying from short duration experiments (several days) up to subjects covered by complete PhD programs. The diversity of people working in the laboratory, from CERN employees to students, makes it a lively environment and an attractive place to work.


As a thermodynamic engineer/applied physicist in the Cryolab & Instrumentation (CI) section, you will be in direct contact with the users of the laboratory. In collaboration with them you will study the physical properties they are interested in by analysing low-temperature thermal(-hydraulic) data obtained either from dedicated experiments performed in the laboratory, from large scale components test or from accelerator operation data.

The design/fabrication or modification of the laboratory test stands shall mostly be done in collaboration with the Cryolab colleagues, while information on large-scale components tests and accelerator operation shall be harvested in collaboration with sections from within as well as external to the group. Every project has to be documented, and the results to be presented to the users. The guiding of technical students, PhD students or fellows participating to your studies, will be part of your responsibility.

The modelling and numerical thermo-hydraulic simulations for superconducting devices used in CERN facilities such accelerators and detectors

Your functions will include:

  • Conceive and perform low-temperature experiments.
  • Analyze low-temperature thermal (-hydraulic) data ranging from dedicated lab-scale experiments to data from large-scale accelerator operation and component tests.
  • Act as an expert user and developer of relevant analysis tools and numerical methods for simulation of observed thermo (-hydraulic) phenomena. This comprehends both commercial as well as in-house software tools.
  • Develop models to guide the conception of future accelerator components, specifically but non-exclusively at the interface between cryogenics and superconducting magnet design.
  • Active exchange with various stakeholders from within the TE Department groups and beyond if necessary.
  • Represent the Organization at conferences, workshops, or in other research laboratories and institutions.

The candidate shall evolve to propose research and development projects and become subsequently responsible for the supervision of technical and academic collaborators.


Master's degree or PhD or equivalent relevant experience in applied physics, thermodynamics, mechanical engineering or a related field.


The experience required for this post:

  • Proven experience in the development of the conceptual design, in the construction follow-up and in the performance of low temperature experiments.
  • Proven experience in the analysis of the data collected through low temperature experiments.
  • Demonstrated experience in the field of thermodynamic modeling of complex cryogenic systems with numerical tools.

Technical competencies:

  • Design, analysis and optimization of thermal systems
  • Knowledge and application of numerical modelling in fluid mechanics and/or heat transfer
  • Knowledge and application of thermal and/or fluid measurement techniques
  • Knowledge and application of thermodynamics and energetics
  • Development of application software

Behavioural competencies:

  • Communicating Effectively: delivering presentations in a structured and clear way; adjusting style and content to the audience; responding calmly and confidently to questions Using effective negotiation techniques to achieve long-term results acceptable to all parties involved.
  • Learning and Sharing Knowledge: thinking "out of the box" and proposing fresh ideas, insights and methodologies Learning from own successes and failures Sharing knowledge and expertise freely and willingly with others; coaching others to ensure knowledge transfer.
  • Working in Teams: building and maintaining constructive and effective work relationships Cooperating constructively with others in the pursuit of team goals; balancing personal goals with team goals.
  • Demonstrating Flexibility: adapting quickly and resourcefully to shifting priorities and requirements.
  • Managing Self: taking initiative beyond regular tasks and making things happen Working well autonomously; taking on activities and tasks without prompting.

Language skills:

Spoken and written English: the ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports, and/or to make oral presentations. Basic knowledge of French language or an undertaking to acquire it rapidly.

Additional Information

Eligibility and closing date:

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States.

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 12.07.2020.

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

These functions require:

  • Work in Radiation Areas.
  • Interventions in underground installations.
  • A valid driving licence is required.
  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.
  • Stand-by duty, when required by the needs of the Organization.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: TE-CRG-CI-2020-82-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Applied Physicist.

About CERN

At an intergovernmental meeting of UNESCO in Paris in December 1951, the first resolution concerning the establishment of a European Council for Nuclear Research (in French Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) was adopted.Two months later, an agreement was signed establishing the provisional Council – the acronym CERN was born.Today, our understanding of matter goes much deeper than the nucleus, and CERN's main area of research is particle physics. Because of this, the laboratory operated by CERN is often referred to as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.

Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles. Subatomic particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives us clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. We want to advance the boundaries of human knowledge by delving into the smallest building blocks of our universe.

The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 23 member states.