Postdoctoral Scientist

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Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
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Contract type: 
Application deadline: 
Monday, 26 April, 2021 - 00:00

The Conservation Science Laboratory of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields seeks a postdoctoral scientist as part of a new research project investigating the impact of hydroxyl radicals on artists' materials. The successful candidate will spend 2 years working within a busy and collaborative department that interfaces regularly with the museum's conservation, curatorial, design, exhibitions, education, and facilities staff. In addition to the main research project, the postdoctoral scholar will also have the opportunity to conduct artwork analyses and technical studies to support conservation and exhibition programming; mentor undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers in the cultural heritage sector; assist in ongoing research being pursued in the laboratory; interact with donors and guests to share the lab's work with our audiences; and participate in the development of exhibitions focused on the interface between the Arts and Sciences.

The Research Project:
The hydroxyl radical has been called Nature's "detergent" for its role in cleaning Earth's troposphere of organic gases due to its strong oxidizing potential. Although it is occasionally implicated in degradation reactions of artists' materials, hydroxyl radicals have not been studied in-depth in the cultural heritage field because of their perceived low concentration indoors and experimental difficulties in observing the species directly. However, recent domestic air quality research has suggested hydroxyl radicals can be generated indoors through the interaction of chemical cleaners with ozone or ambient illumination, and commercial air purifiers are now available that harness the reactivity of hydroxyl radicals to combat odors, molds, and viruses. The present pandemic has led to increased use of both sanitizing cleaners and air purifiers, warranting an investigation on the impact of intentionally or accidentally generated indoor hydroxyl radicals on the longevity of artists' materials.

About Newfields:
Newfields offers dynamic experiences with art and nature for guests of all ages. The 152-acre cultural campus is home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among the ten largest and oldest general art museums in the nation; the Lilly House, a National Historic Landmark; The Garden, featuring 40 acres of contemporary and historic gardens, a working greenhouse and orchard; and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, one of the largest art and nature parks in the country. The Conservation Science Lab, led by Dr. Gregory Dale Smith, was established in 2010 and includes state-of-the-art instrumentation covering the areas of spectroscopy, microscopy, chromatography, accelerated aging, and thermal analysis. The lab has a distinguished publication record and is a leader in the fields of conservation education and materials testing. For more information about the campus, visit

Applicants must have recently received their doctoral degree in a physical science and must be legally eligible to work in the US. The successful applicant will have a strong record of publications and will be comfortable speaking about their research to specialists as well as the public.

The postdoctoral scholar receives $50,000/yr plus benefits as well as limited funds for relocation and research related travel. The position is funded for up to 2 years of employment.
Benefits include:
• Flexible Paid Time Off
• 401k with Institutional Match
• Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance
• Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
• Voluntary Life
• Short & Long-Term Disability
• Employee Assistance Program
• Family Level Membership to Newfields with Café/Shop Employee Discount
• Your employment relationship with the museum qualifies you for free or discounted admissions to other cultural institutions.

Application Procedure:
Questions can be directed to Dr. Smith at, however all application materials must be submitted through the online portal.

Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. For consideration, please submit the following materials in English:
• A letter stating your interests and intent in applying for the position, including a brief description of your qualifications and previous academic and research experience.
• Curriculum vitae.
• List of 3 references with email addresses and phone numbers