Laboratory physicist Miguel Morales received a 2014 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his leading-edge research in condensed-matter physics. This honor is the highest bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers, who are early in their independent research careers. 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. His work is important to stockpile stewardship, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s program to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. In addition, his research provides planetary scientists with a better understanding of planet formation. PECASE winners receive $50,000 a year over five years to pursue research in their field.
Lawrence Livermore scientist Steve Payne was selected as a fellow by the international optics and photonics society SPIE. Founded in 1955, SPIE serves engineers and scientists in government, academia, and industry in the fields of optics, photonics, and light. The nonprofit selected Payne for his research contributions and new discoveries in these fields. Payne is the associate program leader for radiation detection materials in the Global Security Principal Directorate. His research interests include radiation detectors, materials, optics, and lasers. Several of the materials that he and his colleagues have developed are commercially available, including the high-resolution SrI2(Eu) gamma detector and the first plastic capable of efficiently distinguishing neutrons from gamma rays. (See S&TR, October/November 2012, A Solid Solution for Neutron and Gamma-Ray Differentiation.) Payne uses experimental and theoretical methods to explain the physics of scintillators and is recognized as a key architect of the roadmap for understanding the mechanisms.
Dona Crawford, associate director of Livermore’s Computation Directorate, was selected as a member of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). The council is an assembly of corporate executives, academics, scientists, and scholars who are leaders in their respective fields. CCST members provide expert counsel on science and technology issues facing California. Says Crawford, “As an applied science laboratory, we can both contribute and benefit from the work of the CCST. By participating, we can build on our long-standing relationship with the state as a part of the University of California. Many of the challenges the state faces, such as energy, environment, and cybersecurity, also are national concerns that are the focus of Livermore missions.” Crawford has been appointed for a three-year term, renewable for a second term.