Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



May 26, 2015

Photo of 2015 PLS Distinguished Members of Technical Staff.

From left: Gilbert (Rip) Collins, Stephen Payne, and Natalia Zaitseva of PLS have been named "Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff".

Gilbert (Rip) Collins, Stephen Payne, and Natalia Zaitseva of the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate have been named, along with eight of their LLNL colleagues, "Distinguished Members of Technical Staff" (DMTS). They have been acknowledged by their professional peers and the larger community for their extraordinary scientific and technical contributions to the Laboratory and its missions.

The DMTS classification, created to serve as a career ladder for LLNL scientists and engineers, appropriately recognizes science, technology and engineering (ST&E) excellence with distinction and compensation while allowing the honored recipients to remain focused on delivering ST&E solutions to critical mission areas of the Laboratory. Only a limited number of scientists and engineers are selected for DMTS recognition – following the practices of other laboratories and industry, Lawrence Livermore expects its DMTS population to remain within 2-3 percent of the eligible pool of scientists and engineers.

Gilbert (Rip) Collins

Over the past 17 years, Rip Collins has been a leading figure in establishing a new branch of science – experimental condensed matter physics at extreme, high-energy-density (HED) conditions. His pioneering work on the measurement of the equation of state of deuterium, which used laser-generated shocks to compress the sample, launched an international effort to use a new generation of HED facilities to explore the properties of material at these extreme conditions, which had previously been experimentally inaccessible. Now, as more HED facilities are becoming available, Collins is playing a pivotal international leadership role in building a broad scientific community to fully exploit these emerging capabilities for scientific discovery.

"What a great feeling it is to be selected as a DMTS," Collins said. "Frankly, this honor is a reflection of the outstanding people I have had the privilege to work with during my years at Livermore."

Stephen Payne

During his 29-year tenure at LLNL, Stephen Payne has distinguished himself in two technical areas. As an internationally recognized expert on the material science and physics of solid-state laser materials and systems, Payne was the leader of teams that systematically identified, characterized, developed and demonstrated a variety of novel materials, several of which have been successfully commercialized and are used internationally. More recently, Payne turned his scientific and leadership capabilities to the identification, fabrication and demonstration of numerous novel materials for use in radiation detectors, a topic of critical importance for national security and other applications. He emphasizes that LLNL's tradition of forming strong teams enabled his successes.

"I want to thank my current colleagues and all those I've had the pleasure of working with over the years," Payne said. "Our shared moments of discovery and accomplishments have led to this honor, and for that I am most grateful."

Natalia Zaitseva

Over the course of her more than 20-year career at LLNL, Natalia Zaitseva has revolutionized the fields of crystal growth and radiation detection. She discovered mechanisms of solution growth that allowed high-quality crystals to be grown at rates up to 50 times faster than previously possible, a discovery that had immeasurable impact on the development of optical materials for NIF. The resulting scientific discoveries and technology developments have opened the way for other materials to be grown rapidly from solution and have significantly contributed to other areas of materials science. More recently, Zaitseva led a new area of crystal growth research based on applying solution methods to large-scale production of organic scintillators, which are of increasing importance for national security applications.

"I am very honored by this recognition, but at the end, any accomplishment I've been a part of became possible only because of the hard work and devotion of the people I've had a privilege to work with," Zaitseva said. "I greatly appreciate the support of my colleagues, as well the support of the Lab itself for giving me the opportunity to do the work I like so much."