Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



Current Spotlights  

Research Slam! winners pictured from left: Ramya Tunuguntla, Michael Homel, Anna Belle and Daniel McCartt.

PLS postdocs embrace Research Slam

October 26, 2016

Picture this: it's the day of your first poster presentation as a postdoc. You've picked out your best professional suit (or your only professional suit, reserved just for this occasion), your poster has been beautifully printed with help from the Lab's print plant, and your heart is racing with nerves and excitement. Your first interested visitor stops by, quizzically glances at your poster, and asks you for a short synopsis of your research for the non-specialist. How do you reply?

Preparing for those types of scenarios is exactly what the Lab's first Research Slam was all about. A competition to see who could give the best three-minute research presentation, using no more than three slides, the Research Slam was an opportunity for postdocs to showcase their research, as well as strengthen their presentation skills, particularly for a non-specialist audience. Inspired by the UC Grad Slam competition, the fall event included a semifinal round and a final round, during which postdocs competed for $4,000, $3,000, and $2,000 dollar prizes for first, second, and third place, respectively.


LLNL researcher Wayne Meier has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Fusion Technology Award.

Fusion award honors LLNL scientist's career

October 11, 2016

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (link is external)' (IEEE) Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researcher Wayne Meier as the recipient of their 2016 Fusion Technology Award. The award will be presented at the 2017 Symposium on Fusion Engineering June 4-8 in Shanghai, China.

The Fusion Technology Award recognizes Meier's 40-year career of research and leadership advancing the science, technology and integrated assessment of fusion power plants. "It's a satisfying recognition of all my years in the field of fusion technology," Meier said. "To be acknowledged by this committee, that I've worked with for many years on different technical projects as well as international conferences, is an honor."

Meier retired in September as the deputy program leader for the Fusion Energy Sciences Program (FESP). He was notified of the award two weeks after retiring. "So this is a nice cap on my career," he said. He will continue with the Lab as a visiting scientist sharing his knowledge and expertise in fusion technology.

Meier has contributed to studies on fusion chamber design, nuclear analysis, systems integration and systems analysis since beginning at the Lab in 1976. During his career he authored or co-authored more than 150 technical papers and volunteered for fusion technology groups including IEEE NPSS and the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Fusion Energy Division. In 2015, Meier won the Fusion Power Associates Special Award (link is external) for his role in fusion power development and his service on journal editorial boards.


Photo of Octavio Cervantes, deputy group leader in the Materials Science Division of the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate.

Meet Octavio Cervantes

October 7, 2016

When Octavio Cervantes and his family first settled in Los Angeles after emigrating from Mexico, he was excited to have a fresh start. "I was 12 years old and I vividly remember my father telling my family that we needed to work hard, as our new life started in this country."

While he didn't have a clear picture of what he wanted to do in life, he knew that education was very important. He spent hours each day on the bus commuting to Pacific Palisades to go to a good public school.

Cervantes' story is one of perseverance and dedication. Now a successful materials scientist, principal investigator and newly appointed deputy group leader in the Materials Science Division of the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Cervantes came from humble origins and has worked hard to get to where he is today.

In high school, Cervantes had no real plan for his future and thought he would probably just do what his family and others expected of him -- landscaping or auto mechanics -- until one day a high school teacher opened his mind to new possibilities.


Pictured are PLS early-mid career recognition scientists.

Early and Mid-Career Scientists Recognized

September 28, 2016

Eight PLS researchers have been named to LLNL's second annual Early and Mid-Career Recognition (EMCR) Program. "Recognizing and encouraging early and mid-career technical staff is a key element in our strategy for retaining talent," Director Bill Goldstein said. "This program rewards employees at this stage in their careers who are exceptionally accomplished and show potential for future leadership."

The EMCR Program recognizes scientific and technical accomplishments, leadership and future promise demonstrated by LLNL scientists and engineers early in their careers—from five to 20 years since they received their most recent degree. Winners receive a cash award and institutional funding (approximately equivalent to 20 percent support for one year) to pursue research activities in their area of interest.


Pictured are researcher Greg Brennecka and Carolyn Crow, a PLS postdoctoral researcher.

Lab researchers receive awards from The Meteoritical Society

September 6, 2016

The Meteoritical Society honored two Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers during their annual meeting that occurred this month in Berlin, Germany.

Carolyn Crow, a postdoctoral researcher in the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division who studies impact signatures recorded in lunar and terrestrial zircons, won the Gordon A. McKay Award for her presentation at last year's meeting, "U-Xe Degassing Ages of Terrestrial and Lunar Impact Zircons."

The Gordon A. McKay Award is given to the member who is a full-time student and gives the best oral presentation at the Meteoritic Society's annual meeting.

Greg Brennecka, a researcher at LLNL between 2006 and 2014 who studies the importance of supernovae in the early Solar System, was awarded the Nier Prize for his work on isotopic variations in meteorites and the chronology of the Solar System.

His work with fellow LLNL scientists Lars Borg and the late Ian Hutcheon led to an understanding of why uranium isotopes vary on Earth, and also to the discovery of variations in uranium isotopes in meteorites, which was previously thought to not exist.


U.S. Army Capt. Drake Brewster (right), a student at the Monterey-based Naval Postgraduate School, is conducting research with Lab nuclear engineer Brett Isselhardt and others to advance the technology of LLNL's Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry system. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL.

NPS students work with Lab researchers

August 4, 2016

U.S. Army Capt. Drake Brewster sees his academic studies and Lab research of today preparing him for his career of tomorrow.

A seven-year Army officer who is pursuing a career as a nuclear counterproliferation officer, Brewster is studying for his master's degree in physics from the Monterey, California-based Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

As part of his studies, Brewster is conducting research with Lab nuclear engineer Brett Isselhardt and his team to advance the technology of LLNL's Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry (RIMS) system.

Like another current NPS student, Lt. Steven Hutchinson of the U.S. Navy, and two NPS students from last year, Brewster is writing his master's thesis based on the research and studies undertaken using RIMS.

"This is osmosis," Brewster said, reflecting on his time working with LLNL scientists. "There is so much science in that laboratory; if you spend a couple of hours there, you're going to learn something valuable."

Brewster spent three days in June working with Livermore scientists on the RIMS system, and expects to return for future experiments to assist him in completing his thesis.


Erica West is spending her summer at the Laboratory working with several mentors from the Computational Chemistry and Materials Science Summer School running classical molecular dynamics simulations.

Meet Erica West: future physicist

July 8, 2016

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) student internship program is designed to allow students to engage in work-study employment opportunities in relevant science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and administrative fields during the summer academic break. This year, LLNL expects to welcome more than 900 students from universities nationwide and around the world.

Erica West is working with several mentors from the Computational Chemistry and Materials Science Summer School (CCMS) running classical molecular dynamics simulations using the Vienna Ab Initio Simulation Package (VASP) model computer program.

"I am learning some amazing science from meeting with my mentors, attending lectures and discussing science with fellow students. The most interesting thing, at the moment, is learning how to manipulate the molecular dynamics simulation model, VASP. Learning how to properly use VASP has deepened my fundamental understanding of material science and chemistry."

West received a bachelor's degree in physics from Tennessee State University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in physics from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.


Researchers examine a

LLNL's Lab-Corps cohort returns invigorated

May 31, 2016

The 2016 LLNL Lab-Corps cohort of researchers Yongqin Jiao, Tania Ryan, Suzanne Singer, and Michael Stadermann recently returned from in-depth entrepreneurial training at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver.

An eight-week program that started in early March, the Lab-Corps national training teaches the process of moving high-impact, real-world technologies into the private sector.

"There is a lot of preliminary investigation required before making a product that people need and are willing to pay for," explained Tania Ryan, the entrepreneurial lead for one of the two LLNL teams. "I believe the scientists who participated will take back a broader view of product development."

Lab chemist Michael Stadermann seconded the thought. "I think Lab-Corps has broadened my view of the big picture of a technology space. Academic papers are one good source of information, but especially where the framing of a practical problem is concerned, it is best to get directly in touch with a stakeholder to get an idea of what the problem actually is and what the boundary conditions of the solution look like."


Dawn Shaughnessy

Researcher cracks top 10 in 'most creative' list

May 17, 2016

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory chemist Dawn Shaughnessy has been named No. 9 on Fast Company's Top 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2016.

Shaughnessy is the principal investigator of the Heavy Element Group, where she has worked as a nuclear and radiochemist since 2002. In December 2015, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry added three new entries to the periodic table of elements that had been synthesized by a team of researchers led by Shaughnessy. Partnering with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia, the group has discovered five new "superheavy" elements since 2004, bearing the atomic numbers 114 to 118 with element 116 named after the Laboratory as Livermorium.

See Shaughnessy's feature


Mavrik Zavarin

Mavrik Zavarin named Director of Glenn T. Seaborg Institute

May 16, 2016

Mavrik Zavarin has been named the new Director of The Glenn T. Seaborg Institute (GTSI) in the Physical & Life Sciences Directorate. In this capacity, Mavrik will continue to develop the GTSI's mission to carry out cutting-edge research in areas key to LLNL's Nuclear Security and Energy & Environment mission areas, with an emphasis on providing opportunities for the education and training of students (both undergraduate and graduate) and postdocs in relevant areas of research. The GTSI is an essential element of the PLS workforce pipeline and aims to foster university collaborations involving the physics and chemistry of the actinides and superheavy elements, nuclear forensics, and environmental radiochemistry. As Director of GTSI, Mavrik will interact with PLS and LLNL senior management, university faculty, federal R&D sponsors, national laboratories, and the international community. He will be responsible for initiating and sustaining internationally prominent, multi-disciplinary programs within the Institute.


Karis McFarlane

DOE awards grant to PLS researcher Karis McFarlane

May 6, 2016

The Department of Energy on Tuesday named PLS staff member Karis McFarlane, one of two Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientists among the winners of the prestigious DOE Office of Science's Early Career Research Program (ECRP) awards, granting them up to $500,000 per year for five years. The laboratory's other award recipient is Félicie Albert, an experimental plasma physicist at the National Ignition Facility .

Karis McFarlane, a staff scientist at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, was awarded a five-year grant to study the impact of climate change on carbon cycling in tropical forests. She plans on joining the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics (NGEE-Tropics) project, headed by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, to gather radiocarbon data on soil and tree roots.

"This grant is a career-changer," McFarlane said. "It's security in the research I'm doing that allows me to look at things in a larger, more long-term way."

The Early Career Research Program, now in its seventh year, is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

LLNL researchers have won 15 ECRP awards since its inception in 2010.


Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman to receive NASA Ames Technology Transfer Award

January 22, 2016

LLNL biologist, Matt Coleman, along with team of 5 other researchers from NASA, UC Davis, and Sandia will be presented a 2015 NASA Ames Technology Transfer Award at a ceremony to be held at NASA Ames on Jan. 27, 2016. The award is in recognition of their patent for a "Portable Medical Diagnosis Instrument ". This was a collaborative effort to develop new technologies for space exploration beyond low earth orbit. The patent covers the development of a comprehensive in-flight medical diagnostic system in a hand-held format weighing less than 1 pound for human deep-space missions such as a mission to Mars. Key features of the device include the ability to handle multiple sample types (breath, saliva, blood, urine), and the ability to measure virtually any biomarker (analyte) including future biomarkers as they emerge. Breath and saliva are fully non-invasive and can provide health assessment information very rapidly, which can be critical immediately following extravehicular activity, and prior to removal of the spacesuit. From small (µL) blood samples, information about macromolecular biomarkers as well as blood cell counts can be obtained. The device also uses wireless (e.g., smart phone) technologies for data analysis and imaging. In addition to space applications, this innovative technology will likely have important spin-offs in medicine and public health here on Earth as well.


Peter Beiersdorfer

Peter Beiersdorfer awarded Laboratory Astrophysics Prize by American Astronomical Society

January 22, 2016

The Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has selected LLNL researcher, Peter Beiersdorfer as the recipient of the 2016 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize. This honor is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time. Beiersdorfer was cited for his numerous contributions to the study of astronomical environments at extreme-ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths. He pioneered techniques to reproduce conditions on comets and in the Sun's atmosphere, interstellar space, and the centers of galaxies.


Annie Kersting

Annie Kersting receives 2016 ACS Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal

January 8, 2016

LLNL geochemist Annie Kersting, who serves as the director of the Lab's Glenn T. Seaborg Institute, has been selected to receive the 2016 American Chemical Society (ACS) Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal for distinguished service to chemistry. The medal recognizes outstanding scientific achievement, leadership and service to chemistry by women and is a national award open to all chemists who are U.S. citizens. "I was very surprised and humbled because this award is open to all chemists, not just chemists in my field, and there are many outstanding women chemists worthy of this award," said Kersting, who started at the Lab in 1992 as a postdoc.


Peter Beiersdorfer

Peter Beiersdorfer becomes Chair of the Far West Section of the American Physical Society

January 1, 2016

On January 1, 2016, Lab physicist Peter Beiersdorfer became the Chair of the Far West Section of the American Physical Society (APS). The Far West Section is the largest Section of the APS with about 2700 members.


Kenneth Turteltaub

Kenneth Turteltaub named 2015 AAAS fellow

November 23, 2015

Kenneth Turteltaub of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (link is external) (AAAS).

Turteltaub was specifically noted for the development of ultra-precise accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) methods for biomedicine and work on carcinogenesis, the formation of macromolecules and low-dose pharmacokinetics (how pharmaceuticals move through the body).

"I'm very excited to have been selected and I feel lucky to have been able to work with such a great and talented group of people over the years to make AMS useful for bio," Turteltaub said. "It's great to be recognized and to feel we contributed to a better understanding of the role of DNA damage and low-level exposure to carcinogens. I'm looking forward to an equally bright future for this work."

Turteltaub specializes in toxicology and metabolism of drugs and toxicants; accelerating development of new therapeutics, molecular mechanisms of disease; low-dose pharma(toxico)kinetics and pharmaco(toxico)dynamics and biomedical applications of AMS. He received his bachelor's degree in agriculture and his master's degree in animal science from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in toxicology from Iowa State University.

Election as a AAAS fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.


cover of Nature vol. 527, 165.

PLS climate scientist reflects on 20 years of climate-change science

November 20, 2015

In a letter to the editors of Nature published in the Nov 12, 2015 edition of that journal, Lab climate scientist Ben Santer reflects on the impact of the 1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2nd Assessment Report, the lessons learned, and progress made since then in detecting and attributing the causes of observed changes in global climate. Santer was the convening lead author for the 8th chapter in the IPCC 2nd Assessment Report, entitled "Detection of climate change and attribution of causes".

His letter to Nature is reproduced here.


photo of Vince Lordi.

Vince Lordi receives TMS Young Leaders Award

November 20, 2015

Physical & Life Sciences Directorate material scientist, Vince Lordi, has been selected to receive a 2016 Young Leaders Professional Development Award from the Functional Materials Division of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). This award was created to enhance the professional development of dynamic young people from TMS' five technical divisions by helping them participate in Society activities, become better acquainted, make important contacts with TMS leaders, and network with prominent Society members.


photo of LLNL materials scientist Troy Barbee holding up a copper and copper/zirconium multilayer material composed of 5,500 individual layers: 2,750 layers of copper and 2,750 layers of an alloy of copper and zirconium.

Lab scientist honored by Stanford University

November 19, 2015

A Physical and Life Science Directorate scientist whose ties as a student, researcher and alumnus with Stanford University span six decades has been honored by the Bay Area university.

LLNL materials scientist Troy Barbee Jr. was one of four Stanford graduates inducted into the university's Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame (MAHF) recently during a ceremony at the Tresidder Memorial Union.

Barbee was inducted into the school's MAHF for his work with Stanford students through the years and for his career achievements.

When the 18-year-old Barbee walked onto Stanford's Palo Alto campus in 1955 on a football scholarship after graduating from Hoover High School in San Diego, he believes he was the only Native American there for his first year.

He arrived 15 years before the university started its Native American Cultural Center in 1970. Today, there are about 400 Native American students in Stanford's undergraduate and graduate programs.

"I feel honored to be selected for the MAHF and I'm in some good company," Barbee said. "The Native American presence at Stanford in 1955 was very minimal. I think there might have been one other Native American, but he probably came in 1956."

During his decade as a student at Stanford, Barbee earned three degrees – a bachelor's of science in physical metallurgy in 1960, and master's of science and doctorate degrees in materials science and engineering in 1962 and 1965, respectively.

Photo of 2015 fellows of the APS.

Six PLS researchers named as 2015 fellows of the American Physical Society

October 28, 2015

Six Physical and Life Sciences Directorate (PLS) scientists, along with Vladimir Smalyuk of the NIF Directorate, have been selected as 2015 fellows of the American Physical Society (APS).

The new fellows represent a wide selection of physics expertise, ranging from laser-plasma interaction to optical techniques to computational condensed matter. APS fellowships are awarded after extensive review and are considered a distinct honor because the evaluation process, conducted by the fellowship committees of individual divisions, topical groups and forums, relies on nomination and recommendation by one's professional peers.


Photo of David Bader.

David Bader elected fellow of AMS

October 26, 2015

Climate scientist David Bader has been elected a fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

Election to the grade of AMS fellow recognizes outstanding contributions to advance atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications and services for the benefit of society.

"I feel honored to have been recognized by my peers, which I believe is the most satisfying award that a scientist can receive," Bader said.

Bader has worked in the national lab arena since 1985, starting his career at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a research scientist and then moving up to a senior research scientist and eventually a project manager. From 2003-09, he was director of the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMD) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2009 he moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he was the founding deputy director of the lab's Climate Change Science Institute and was assigned for six months as a senior research adviser for Climate Change to the DOE Office of Science Director. He returned to Livermore in 2011 as Climate Program leader.


LLNL researchers Wayne Meier and Susana Reyes are recipients of two 2015 Fusion Power Associates awards.

Fusion Power Associates honors LLNL scientists

September 29, 2015

The Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Board of Directors has selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) nuclear engineer Susana Reyes as the recipient of its 2015 Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award. The FPA also will present a Special Award to LLNL fusion scientist Wayne Meier. The awards will be presented at the FPA's 36th Annual Meeting and Symposium, "Strategies to Fusion Power," Dec. 16-17 in Washington, DC.

FPA Excellence in Fusion Engineering Awards have been given annually since 1987, in memory of MIT Professor David Rose, to recognize researchers in the relatively early part of their careers who have shown both technical accomplishment and the potential to become exceptionally influential leaders in the fusion field. Reyes is cited for "the leadership she has been providing to both magnetic and inertial fusion efforts in many areas, including safety and licensing, tritium systems and power plant designs." FPA noted "the important role she played in the National Academy's panel on Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems and as chair of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Fusion Energy Division."


Annie Kersting serves as director of the Laboratory's Glenn T. Seaborg Institute where she is well known, both nationally and internationally, for her work in actinide environmental chemistry. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

PLS scientist receives chemical society award

September 2, 2015

Laboratory geochemist Annie Kersting, who serves as the director of the Lab's Glenn T. Seaborg Institute, has been selected to receive the 2016 American Chemical Society's Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal for distinguished service to chemistry.

The medal recognizes outstanding scientific achievement, leadership and service to chemistry by women and is a national award open to all chemists who are U.S. citizens.

"I was very surprised and humbled because this award is open to all chemists, not just chemists in my field and there are many outstanding women chemists worthy of this award," said Kersting, who started at the Lab in 1992 as a postdoc.

Kersting is well known, both nationally and internationally, for her work in actinide environmental chemistry. She was one of the first scientists to show that insoluble radionuclides, like plutonium, could travel several kilometers in the subsurface environment as suspended, nanometer-sized colloidal particles. This work changed the way scientists think about migration of insoluble actinides.

Most of her current research in the Seaborg Institute, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research, Subsurface Biological Research Program, is to better understand what processes occur at the nanoscale -- at the mineral-water surface that ultimately control the behavior of actinides in the subsurface. The goal is to be able to predict and ultimately constrain the migration of these contaminants in the environment.


Ian Hutcheon examines a piece of the meteorite Allende, which contains some of the oldest objects in the solar system. A new fellowship award has been established in honor of the late Hutcheon, who significantly advanced America's nuclear forensics capability. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

Research award named after late LLNL scientist

August 25, 2015

The first Dr. Ian Hutcheon Post-Doctoral Fellowship award, to support research in nuclear forensics as part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office's (DNDO) National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program, has been established. The fellowship honors the late Hutcheon, who significantly advanced America's nuclear forensics capability during his 22-year tenure.

The first award will be presented beginning in 2017, and will be open to new Ph.D. graduates and postdoctoral fellows at the national and defense laboratories supporting the development of the nation's nuclear forensics capability.

"One of my highest priorities is to help lead the U.S. government efforts to grow and sustain the unique expertise required to execute the nation's nuclear forensics mission," said DNDO Director Huban Gowadia. "Ian Hutcheon was truly a 'founding father' of the nuclear forensics community, and this fellowship is a wonderful way to honor his memory and his dedication to cultivating new talent."

Hutcheon was most recently the group leader of the Chemical and Isotopic Signatures Group in Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division and deputy director of the Glenn Seaborg Institute, Physical and Life Sciences Directorate, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He passed away March 26, 2015.


Photos of Nerine Cherepy and Michael Pivovaroff

Nerine Cherepy and Michael Pivovaroff elected Senior Members of SPIE

August 14, 2015

LLNL researchers Nerine Cherepy and Michael Pivovaroff are among the 171 new Senior Members of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. Cherepy is being recognized for her "achievements in discovery and development of new scintillator materials and detectors", and Pivovaroff for his "achievements in design, fabrication, and use of reflective X-ray optics". SPIE Senior Members are members of distinction who are honored for their professional experience, their active involvement with the optics community and SPIE, and/or significant performance that sets them apart from their peers.


Lawrence Livermore scientist Berni Alder will celebrate his 90th birthday and his 60th anniversary at the Laboratory. He still comes into the Laboratory twice a week in the afternoon. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

Berni Alder: A pioneer of the times

August 5, 2015

Father of molecular dynamics to celebrate 90th birthday, 60th anniversary at the Laboratory.

In 1953, he joined Lawrence Livermore as a consultant. He was working on the Monte Carlo method congruently with Edward Teller, so he came on as a consultant first and in 1955, "They offered me a job," Alder said.

Alder invented molecular dynamics (MD) and helped develop Monte Carlo methods, which use computers to reproduce the behavior of atoms and molecules through a large number of random steps. His discovery includes changing kinetic molecular theory, showing that simulations can significantly affect a scientific field. In 1980, Alder was one of the pioneers who used large-scale simulations to solve quantum mechanics problems.


Photo of Brittney Murray at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

Meet Brittney Murray: future microbiologist

July 31, 2015

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) student internship program is designed to allow students to engage in work-study employment opportunities in relevant science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and administrative fields during the summer academic break. This year, LLNL is proud to welcome more than 600 students from universities nationwide and around the world. LLNL's Physical and Life Sciences Directorate is hosting Brittney Murray, a recent graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Brittney is exploring the microbiome of the gut during her internship at LLNL. She will attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the fall and aspires to become a microbiologist studying infectious disease.


Photo of Miguel Morales-Silva.

Miguel Morales-Silva named Early Career National Hispanic Scientist of the Year

July 17, 2015

The Museum of Science and Industry  (MOSI) in Tampa Florida has named LLNL physicist Miguel Morales-Silva as the 2015 Early Career National Hispanic Scientist of the Year in recognition of his studies of the electronic structure of materials using density-functional theory and quantum Monte Carlo methods. Morales-Silva will be formally presented with the award at a gala event to be held at MOSI in October, 2015. MOSI's National Hispanic Scientist of the Year (NHSOY) Award is intended to honor the achievements of both an early career and senior scientist with well-established and highly respected accomplishments in any of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) disciplines, and to inspire disadvantaged Hispanic-American and other students to pursue and excel in STEAM studies and careers. MOSI hosts the awardees for 2 – 3 days, which includes a day of meetings with Hispanic and other middle school students participating in MOSI's educational activities. The NHSOY induction and award ceremonies showcase the achievements of the awardees and honor the Hispanic community while contributing to the betterment of society by inspiring future generations of STEAM practitioners.


Photo of 2015 PLS Distinguished Members of Technical Staff.

Three PLS members among LLNL's 2015 Distinguished Members of Technical Staff

May 26, 2015

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.


Photo of Yunyan Zhang.

Zhang receives DOE Office of Science Early Career Research Program financial award

May 8, 2015

Yunyan Zhang has been selected by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research as a recipient of a DOE Office of Science Early Career Research Program (ECRP) financial award. These awards provide $500K/year for five years to support the development of individual research programs by outstanding scientists early in their careers, and stimulate research careers in disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science. This year, there were 44 awardees; 27 awardees were at universities and 17 at National Laboratories.


Photo of David Bader.

Energy secretary honors PLS climate scientist

May 6, 2015

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has awarded Physical and life Sciences (PLS) climate scientist David Bader with a DOE Secretarial Honor Award for his leadership of the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project.

The Secretarial Honor Awards are the department's highest form of non-monetary employee recognition. Individual and team awardees are selected by the Secretary of Energy.

This award is bestowed on a group or team of employees who accomplished significant achievements on behalf of the department. Two other DOE researchers were co-winners of the award.

The Secretary's Awards Program is designed to recognize the career service and contributions of DOE employees to the mission of the department and to the benefit of the nation.


Photo of Sonia Letant.

Sonia Létant named Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division Leader

April 29, 2015

Physical and Life Sciences Associate Director Glenn Fox announced the selection of Sonia Létant as the Division Leader for the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences (NACS) Division within the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate (PLS) effective April 29, 2015. As the NACS Division Leader, Sonia will provide technical leadership and management of approximately 220 staff members, overseeing programs and projects, including institutionally supported activities, and Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) projects. NACS staff members support the Laboratory's programs in Global Security, Stockpile Stewardship, the National Ignition Facility, as well as programs funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and various non-DOE sponsors. Sonia will represent the Division to sponsors, Lab management, and the science community, as well as participate in strategic planning for future directions and efforts in PLS.


Photo of PLS researcher Nerine Cherepy.

Nerine Cherepy selected as IEEE senior member

April 10, 2015

Livermore scientist Nerine Cherepy has been selected as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Cherepy, who joined the Laboratory in 1998, has contributed to a variety of programs at Livermore, including the joint invention of a novel direct carbon fuel cell for the energy program, the establishment of the cleaning protocol used for aluminum parts in the National Ignition Facility and the development of chemoselective colorimetric sensors for the Global Security (GS) Principal Directorate. Her most notable contributions have been to the field of radiation detection materials and detectors.

"I am honored to have been nominated by my fellow IEEE senior members, at LLNL and outside the lab, and then to have been selected by the council to be elevated to senior membership," Cherepy said. "I have had the good fortune to have been mentored by several senior scientists and engineers at LLNL and to have the chance to participate in and lead a variety of challenging multidisciplinary technical projects with successful outcomes in radiation detector materials and nuclear instrumentation."


Photo of Patrice Turchi addressing The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society during the organization's annual meeting in March 2015.

PLS scientist installed president of Minerals, Metals and Materials Society

April 7, 2015

Patrice Turchi, a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was recently installed as the 2015 president of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) during the organization's annual meeting in March.

Turchi, who is group leader of the Physical and Life Science's Material Science Division's Advanced Metallurgical Science and Engineering group, has been an active member of TMS for more than 25 years. He has served on the TMS board of directors as chair of the Electronic, Magnetic & Photonic Materials Division (now the Functional Materials Division). He served as vice president of the society in 2014.

As president, Turchi said he has plans to advance TMS at the international level through increased cooperation with other North and South American materials societies, at the U.S. level by working to attract students to materials science and engineering, and at the society level by encouraging TMS committee and division leaders to think about the work that they do in terms of the society's five strategic goals: diversity and inclusion; increased industrial engagement; international outreach; energy and sustainability; and materials and manufacturing.


Photo of LLNL researcher Jeff Drocco.

PLS researcher Jeff Drocco named Biosecurity Fellow

March 24, 2015

A spring workshop in the nation's capital in early March 2015 provided an auspicious start for LLNL's Jeff Drocco and other participants in the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative program.

Drocco is one of 28 fellows — selected from nearly 100 applicants — participating in the program at the Center for Biosecurity, which is operated by the University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center.

A scientist and analyst with the Biodefense Knowledge Center here at the Lab, Drocco and other fellows spent three days in Washington, D.C. learning about biosecurity developments, policies and how decisions in the field are crafted.


Photo of LLNL geochemist Roger Aines.

PLS geochemist answers anything about carbon capture and everything in between 

February 25, 2015

Ever wonder how to use something found in the average kitchen to advance carbon capture and storage technologies, and ultimately save the planet by preventing greenhouse gasses from saturating the atmosphere?

On February 25, 2015, Roger Aines, a geochemist who runs the Carbon Fuel Cycle Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, answered questions about capturing greenhouse gases by using things found in your kitchen cabinet archived on the popular social media site Reddit .


Photo of Natalia Zaitseva.

PLS physicist to be inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame

February 3, 2015

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/Physical and Life Sciences physicist who developed a way to rapidly grow large crystals used in the Lab's National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser will be honored next month.

For her achievements, Natalia Zaitseva will be inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame (WHF) during the 22nd annual awards ceremony on Saturday, March 21. The event, set for the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland, will begin at 12:30 p.m.

One of 12 Alameda County women to be inducted, Zaitseva will be recognized for her work in science, technology and engineering.


Photo of Matthew Levy.

PLS physicist awarded prestigious Newton International Fellowship 

January 21, 2015

Matthew Levy, a Lawrence Scholar in the Physics Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has been awarded the prestigious Newton International Fellowship by the Royal Society of the United Kingdom (UK).

The highly competitive fellowship program makes 40 awards per year across all disciplines of the sciences and humanities, providing the opportunity for the best early stage postdoctoral researchers from all over the world to work at UK research institutions for a period of two years. Levy is the first American physicist to become a Newton Fellow and will carry out his research at the University of Oxford.


Photo of Kennedy Reed.

Reed elected President-Designate of IUPAP

December 19, 2014

Kennedy Reed has been elected the President-Designate of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) at that organization's latest General Assembly, which was held in Singapore on Nov 5-7, 2014. He will serve a 3-year term as President-Designate, followed by a 3-year term as President, and finally a 3-year term as Immediate Past President. Reed is the first American elected to this position since Nobel laureate Burton Richter, who was President of IUPAP from 1999-2002.


Photo of PLS researcher Michael Armstrong.

Armstrong elected to Fellowship in APS

December 12, 2014

Michael Armstrong has been recommended for APS Fellowship by the Topical Group Topical Group on Instrument and Measurement Science.


Four scientists in the Physical & Life Sciences Directorate's Materials Science Division were elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS) this week. From left: Robert Rudd, James Tobin, Yinmin (Morris) Wang and Antonios (Tony) Gonis.

Four MSD scientists elected APS Fellows

December 5, 2014

Four scientists in the Physical & Life Sciences Directorate's Materials Science Division were elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS) in December 2014. Robert Rudd, James Tobin, Yinmin (Morris) Wang and Antonios (Tony) Gonis.


Photo picturing the team of Tadashi Ogitsu, Woon Ih Choi and Brandon Wood which recently won a Department of Energy 2014 Hydrogen Production R&D Award for their research in producing hydrogen photoelectrochemically - by splitting water using sunlight.

Livermore team awarded for hydrogen production research

August 28, 2014

Three Lawrence Livermore researchers have received the Department of Energy's 2014 Hydrogen Production R&D Award for developing a system that uses sunlight to split water molecules, producing hydrogen.


Photo of Physical and Life Sciences scientist Jennifer Pett-Ridge.

Two Lawrence Livermore researchers awarded early career funding 

May 14, 2014

Lawrence Livermore scientist Jennifer Pett-Ridge will receive funding through the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science Early Career Research Program for her research in soil microbial communities and carbon cycling in the tropics.


LLNL seismologist Stephen Myers won the E.O. Lawrence award for his work advancing national security and nonproliferation by developing seismic monitoring technologies to locate nuclear explosions.

Lawrence Livermore researchers win E.O. Lawrence Award 

April 16, 2014

LLNL seismologist Stephen Myers was recognized for his work advancing national security and nonproliferation by developing seismic monitoring technologies to locate nuclear explosions.


Photo of Steve Payne.

Lawrence Livermore scientist selected as SPIE Fellow 

February 6, 2014

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Steve Payne was recently selected as a fellow of SPIE, an international professional society for optics and photonics.


Photo of Miguel Morales.

Lab physicist selected for Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering 

January 13, 2014

PLS physicist Miguel Morales has been selected for a 2014 Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) for his leading edge research in condensed matter physics. Using advanced computational techniques such as density functional theory and quantum Monte Carlo, Morales studies materials at extreme pressure and temperature on some of the world's most powerful supercomputers.


Ken Moody, a radiochemist from PLS, has been awarded the distinction of fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Lawrence Livermore Radiochemist Ken Moody named AAAS fellow 

December 19, 2013

Ken Moody has been awarded the distinction of fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers to recognize distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.


PLS's Pravesh Patel selected as 2013 fellow of the American Physical Society.

Patel selected as 2013 fellow of the American Physical Society. 

November 5, 2013

Pravesh Patel one of two LLNL scientists selected as 2013 fellows of the American Physical Society (APS).


Meet Livermore Chemist Dawn Shaughnessy

March 21, 2013

Dawn Shaughnessy leads the experimental nuclear and radiochemistry group and is the principal investigator for the heavy element group at the Livermore Lab. Her team has discovered six new elements on the periodic table, the heaviest elements found to date. This and other achievements have earned her a place in the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame.



Meet Livermore Physicist Hui Chen

March 13, 2013

Some have a misconception that all scientists look like the cast of "The Big Bang Theory." So in honor of Women's History Month and STEM education, we thought we'd set the record straight and show off what some of our brilliant scientists and engineers are really like.