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Research Physicist - Mid to Experienced Level

National Security Agency , Fort Meade, MD, United States
Employer Description

The National Security Agency (NSA) leads the U.S. government in cryptology that encompasses both signals intelligence (SIGINT) insights and cybersecurity products and services and enables computer network operations to gain a decisive advantage for the nation and our allies.

There is a Place for You at NSA Whatever expertise you bring to our team at the National Security Agency, your unique skills will play a role in protecting our families, friends, communities, service members, and ultimately, the nation.

All Roles are Mission Critical NSA’s SIGINT mission collects intelligence about our foreign adversaries. Our cybersecurity mission safeguards critical U.S. information. Both of these duties demand a team of technical experts as well as business and HR professionals, linguists, intelligence analysts, communications specialists and more. We have career opportunities in 17 different fields, so there is truly something for everyone.

When You Take Care of the Nation, The Nation Takes Care of You NSA supports its diverse workforce through benefits and opportunities that foster both work-life balance and career development. Along with a fantastic federal benefits package and a generous amount of paid time off, we also offer flexible schedules, relocation assistance, robust well-being services and countless opportunities to advance your career through training and mentorship.

There is Job Security in Protecting National Security NSA’s work isn’t subject to market volatility or economic downturns. The threats to our nation never stop – and neither do we.

Challenging, rewarding, life-changing, history-making—there's no single way to describe a career at NSA. Learn about our mission and how you can have a rewarding career that safeguards the country’s future – and your own. APPLY NOW


Job Description

NSA employs scientists with world-class skills in fields such as mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, and cybersecurity. We collaborate with leading companies, universities, and national laboratories to leverage work in overlapping disciplines, advance core capabilities, and seek out and develop revolutionary ideas that will provide our nation with an overwhelming advantage over our adversaries.

At the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS), you will have incredible opportunities with high visibility to work on investigating and designing large-scale high performance computing systems, focusing on computer architectures, processing/memory subsystems, and transforming computing beyond Moore's Law. You will be a part of a multi-disciplinary team of physicists, engineers, computer scientists, and systems architects that challenge you to make impacts that others have yet to attain.

We're looking for talented PHYSICISTS that have a familiarity and/or interest in quantum phenomena. Desired skills/experiences include a fluency in physical models of device behavior and the ability to calculate parameters relevant for understanding device behavior, familiarity with the feasibility limits of technologies that support quantum technologies, such as arbitrary waveform generators, voltage sources, etc., as well as a thorough understanding of factors influencing quantum behavior such as charge noise, magnetic/flux noise, and temperature.

As a PHYSICIST/TECHNOLOGY LEAD and valued member of the team that creates and manages LPS's cutting edge quantum computing research programs, you will:

  • Set broad directions across the entire quantum community
  • Guide the development of Quantum Information Science (QIS) across academic, industry, and government teams from across the country and around the world
  • Have deep technical exchanges with top researchers to understand and influence emerging technology
  • Impact the direction of technology and national policy
  • Perform technical analyses to identify key technical issues
  • Advocate for resources for the most critical opportunities
  • Present findings to internal and/or external stakeholders
  • Visit research teams on location and attend program reviews
  • Always keep learning - attend conferences, review technical documents, advance education, stay up to date with the latest and most cutting edge research in the field.
Job Requirements

Want to be a part of an elite team where your work has a global impact by researching and developing revolutionary ideas that will provide our nation an overwhelming advantage? We have an opportunity for you! As a Physicist/Technology Lead at NSA, the creativity of you and your team is essential to explore and create effective solutions for internal and Agency-supported customers around the world. Your efforts will directly drive global impacts that may include: saving lives of U.S. and ally soldiers; providing U.S. policy and decision makers with critical, timely intelligence; ensuring the continued safety of U.S. citizens and residents by thwarting foreign adversaries; and defending vital networks.


The qualifications listed are the minimum acceptable to be considered for the position. Degree must be in either (1) Engineering, (2) Physics or Astronomy from an accredited college or university, or (3) a relevant professional technical field (for example, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, geology). For Engineering degrees, if program is not ABET accredited, it must include specified coursework.* *Specified coursework includes courses in differential and integral calculus and 5 of the following 18 areas: (a) statics or dynamics, (b) strength of materials/stress-strain relationships, (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics, (d) thermodynamics, (e) electromagnetic fields, (f) nature and properties of materials/relating particle and aggregate structure to properties, (g) solid state electronics, (h) microprocessor applications, (i), computer systems, (j) signal processing, (k) digital design, (l) systems and control theory, (m) circuits or generalized circuits, (n) communication systems, (o) power systems, (p) computer networks, (q) software development, (r) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, or soil mechanics.

Relevant experience must be in one or more of the following: performing engineering or physical sciences work, or conducting academic or independent research in a technical field (for example, mathematics, engineering, cognitive sciences and physical sciences).

FULL PERFORMANCE Entry is with a Bachelor's degree plus 3 years of relevant experience, or a Master's degree plus 1 year of relevant experience, or a Doctoral degree and no experience.

SENIOR Entry is with a Bachelor's degree plus 7 years of relevant experience, or a Master's degree plus 5 years of relevant experience, or a Doctoral degree plus 3 years of relevant experience.

EXPERT Entry is with a Bachelor's degree plus 10 years of relevant experience, or a Master's degree plus 8 years of relevant experience, or a Doctoral degree plus 6 years of relevant experience.


  • Excellent problem-solving, communication, and interpersonal skills, and possesses a range of knowledge and experience with at least two of:
  • Physical constraints on quantum systems, including the impact of noise and other error sources
  • A strong understanding of low temperature physics and cryogenic systems
  • Experience with qubits built on a superconducting or semiconducting platform
  • Quantum characterization (e.g., randomized benchmarking, tomographic methods, etc.).
  • Leadership of a small, highly technical team.

U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. NSA is an equal opportunity employer and abides by applicable employment laws and regulations. All applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a security background investigation and polygraph. Reasonable accommodations may be provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. Please visit our Diversity link for more information https://www.intelligencecareers.gov/NSA/diversity-and-inclusion.

25 January 2024
24 February 2024
Bachelor's Degree
102477 – 191900
Research and Development