Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Morgan Burks


Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division

May 21, 2020

What do you like about working at the Lab?

I enjoy getting to work with smart people on interesting problems, getting to work on a range of problems, and getting to apply a range of skills, including laboratory and computer work.

What do your day-to-day work activities include?

Designing detectors, including:

  • Lab work (building, testing, debugging)
  • Computer work (thermal, mechanical, and Monte Carlo simulations)
  • Data analysis
  • Theoretical work (understanding the nuclear physics of gamma-ray and neutron interactions)

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

We built and delivered the gamma-ray spectrometer that flew on a NASA mission to the planet Mercury. It took the first-ever gamma-ray data of the planet and helped inform our current thinking about how Mercury formed and evolved.

What is your educational and career background?

I have a PhD in physics, and I’ve worked at the Lab for 22 years.

What inspired you to go into your field of work?

I liked the idea of building a career from my knowledge of math and computer programming. Physics seemed liked a good path to do that.

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

Find good mentors and/or a good team to work with. They can have such a huge impact on your career and learning.

What do you do in your free time?

Dancing and partner acrobatics

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