Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Gemma Anderson

Research Physicist

Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division

June 1, 2020

What do you like about your job?

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to work in several different fields of research, so I’m constantly learning new and interesting things. I love learning, understanding how things work, and solving challenging problems. I get to do all of these things at the Lab on a daily basis. The Lab is full of extremely bright people who are also friendly and approachable, which makes working here such a pleasure!

What is one project you’re really proud to have worked on?

I am leading a Laboratory Directed Research & Development project to predict snowpack in the Western US several months in advance. By using sophisticated machine learning methods, we’re pushing the limits of what is currently possible. It’s very inspiring to work with such a talented team of scientists.

What is your educational or career background?

I have a master’s degree in physics, a master’s degree in mathematics, and a PhD in theoretical cosmology. I did my postdoctoral research at the Lab in climate science before becoming a research physicist 2 years ago. Since then, I have been working on inertial confinement fusion, as well as continuing to work in climate science. In both fields, I use artificial intelligence and uncertainty quantification methods to improve our predictive capabilities and our physics understanding.

What inspired you to go into your field of work?

I watched a documentary about cosmology at the age of 11 and decided there and then that I wanted to be a physicist. I was curious about the world around me and the universe: I wanted to learn about and understand it all. Physics is super cool!

What advice would you give to a new employee at the Lab?

Be sure to reach out whenever you have questions, need advice, anything at all. The Lab is a big place, so it can feel a little intimidating at first, but by reaching out, you’ll soon realize we’re a big supportive family, always here to help.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time, I also solve problems: on the rock face! I am an avid rock climber, mountaineer, hiker, and traveler. The Sierra Nevada mountain range, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Lab, has some of the best rock climbing in world, and I’m incredibly fortunate to go there on my weekends.

I’m also a member of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women’s Association (LLLWA).

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