Postdoctoral Opportunity Posting # 1331

Contact Information
Andrew Dickson


About the Position
Postdoctoral Scholar Employee

Scripps Institution of Oceanography


Marine Physical Laboratory

The Marine Physical Laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego is seeking a Postdoctoral Scholar Employee in the Ocean CO2 Measurement Laboratory led by Professor Andrew Dickson. The disciplinary specialty is the measurement of thermodynamic properties of aqueous solutions using both established reference methods (Harned Cells), and new approaches (using a differential scanning calorimeter). The field of application is marine and natural water chemistry. 

The postdoctoral scholar will participate in laboratory measurements involved in better defining marine ‘pH’, and in quantifying chemical speciation in seawater media. Speciation depends on the activities of each of the dissolved ions and molecules, which are complex functions of temperature, pressure, and salinity (or, more generally, solution composition), and cannot be predicted from theory. The majority of the postdoctoral scholar’s effort will focus on making thermodynamic measurements in salt solutions that are needed to provide well-constrained parameters for a chemical speciation model for natural waters based upon the “Pitzer” equations.

The position will involve the design and execution of laboratory experiments including e.m.f. measurements with Harned Cells (e.g., DelValls and Dickson, Deep-Sea Research I 45, 1541-1554, 1998), and novel calorimetric measurements using a differential scanning calorimeter to determine solution heat capacities. A key feature of the work is ensuring that the measurement uncertainties are well understood. See Dickson et al. (Metrologia 53, R26-39, 2016) for a discussion of the metrological challenges, and Waters and Millero (Marine Chemistry 149, 8-22, 2013) for an example of the application of the Pitzer model to the calculation of seawater pH.

This research is part of a collaboration between Professor Dickson, Professor Simon Clegg (University of East Anglia, U.K.), and Dr Heather Benway (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). It is linked to a larger informal group of institutions at which experimental measurements of thermodynamic properties are also being made: the national metrology laboratories of Germany, France, and Japan, and the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany). The overall aim of this project, and its co-funded element in the U.K., is to create a step change in the capability of scientists to measure, interpret, and predict chemical speciation and pH in natural waters of varying composition. The activities of the project as a whole are closely related to those of SCOR Working Group 145 ("Modelling Chemical Speciation in Seawater to Meet 21st Century Needs", see, of which Professor Dickson is a member.

The successful candidate will collaborate closely with the other project participants, including presentation and discussion of proposed experiments and research results both in person and on-line, and the writing of research papers and presentations at scientific meetings. This position represents an excellent opportunity for an ambitious young scientist, with skills in experimental chemical thermodynamics and solution chemistry, to make an important contribution to a high profile international project. For further information about the position, please contact Andrew Dickson.

A recent Ph.D in solution chemistry, marine chemistry, or a related chemical field. A strong background in high-quality laboratory measurements is extremely desirable, as is some familiarity with the chemical thermodynamics of aqueous electrolyte solutions.


This is not a tenure-track position.

Salary is consistent with UC salary scales based on years since PhD and experience.

Initial appointment is for one year.

Applications must be submitted to Andrew Dickson at with the following:

1. Curriculum vitae;

2. Personal statement of experience and career goals;

3. Three professional references (name and email)

The position is currently open until  10/26/18, but if necessary will be reopened until filled.


*The University of California San Diego is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

About the Listing
Open until filled