Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore scientists Charles Westbrook and William Pitz have been named to Thomson Reuters list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014. The list highlights standout researchers from the past decade, from a compilation of 3,000 of the most influential authors in 21 fields of science or social science. The researchers earned this distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by essential science indicators as highly cited papers.

Westbrook and Pitz were selected for their numerous research papers on combustion modeling. “One factor for our high publication rate is that we build chemistry models that can be used to interpret experiments and help design internal combustion engines for a wide variety of fuels, including gasoline, diesel ethanol, and biodiesel,” says Westbrook. “The key is that, in addition to the papers describing those models, we upload the actual model software, called a chemical kinetic reaction mechanism, to a Lawrence Livermore open-source website. The website has attracted an enormous number of other researchers who want to use our reaction mechanisms in their own work.” Pitz notes that what interests them most is enabling the simulation of advanced combustion engines being considered for future vehicles. These engines offer prospects of gains in efficiency and reductions in emissions.

“This recognition is a great honor for Charlie Westbrook and William Pitz and extremely well deserved,” says Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein. “It also is indicative of the bright minds working together at Lawrence Livermore to solve some of the nation’s most challenging problems.”

John Edwards of the National Ignition Facility and Photon Science (NIF&PS) Principal Directorate has received the 2014 Leadership Award from Fusion Power Associates. The award recognizes Edwards for many scientific contributions and the managerial leadership he is providing to national and international research efforts on inertial confinement fusion and high-energy-density plasma physics. Edwards is cited especially for “leadership of the scientific program on the National Ignition Facility for both high-energy-density physics and for the eventual achievement of ignition leading toward a commercial fusion power source.”

“An equally dedicated and talented body of people have built these facilities, kept them running at peak performance, and provided the required targets and diagnostic capabilities,” says Edwards. “In addition, much of the progress on NIF this year would not have been possible without the strong encouragement and support of our colleagues at the National Nuclear Security Administration. It is truly an exciting time and a privilege to be part of these efforts.”

Research scientist Zhi Liao of the NIF&PS Principal Directorate was named a senior member of the Optical Society of America, an international society for optics and photonics scientists, engineers, educators, and business leaders. Senior membership status recognizes members with more than 10 years of significant experience and professional accomplishments or service in their fields.

Liao received the elevated status in recognition of his contributions to optics research and service to the optics community. His research expertise is in nonlinear optics, adaptive optics, and laser-induced optic damage. Liao has contributed to many of Livermore’s successful laser projects, including the Fiber Laser Guide Star, Alkali Laser, Advanced Radiographic Capability, Mercury Laser, and NIF. Since 2005, Liao has been director of the NIF&PS Summer Scholar Program, which includes talks and tours that introduce summer interns to some of the most advanced and exciting research in lasers and photon science.