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September 2002

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
Michael R. Anastasio

A Hitchhiker's Guide to Early Earth

A New World of Maps

Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells Stack Up to Efficient, Clean Power

Empowering Light—Historic Accomplishments in Laser Research





Brian Andresen, a senior staff scientist in the Chemistry and Materials Science Directorate, recently received two awards for the role he and other Laboratory researchers played in solving a southern California hospital murder case.
At the Glendale, California, Police Department’s Appreciation and Awards luncheon, Andresen received a Distinguished Service Award sponsored by Citizens for Law and Order, a Glendale community group. He also received a second award from the Glendale Police Department Homicide Task Force in recognition of his “scientific expertise, dedication and commitment to a complex homicide investigation.”
Both awards were for forensic science work done by Andresen and his Livermore colleagues in connection with the Efren Saldivar murder case. In January 2001, Saldivar, a respiratory therapist, was charged with using the muscle relaxer Pavulon to kill six older patients at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in 1996 and 1997.
Andresen, with the assistance of analytical chemist Armando Alcaraz, developed a way to identify Pavulon in bodies exhumed two to four years after the crime. Previously, no such techniques were available to detect Pavulon after such a long time.
In March 2002, Saldivar pleaded guilty to six murder counts and other charges in the case for which Andresen and his Livermore colleagues provided assistance to Glendale police.

In early June at the National Conference of the American Nuclear Society, Livermore chemist Leonard Gray received the 2002 Seaborg Medal for “outstanding accomplishment and meritorious achievement in actinide separations sciences.”
The Seaborg Medal was established in 1987 by the University of California at Los Angeles Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to honor individuals for their significant contributions to chemistry and biochemistry. It is named for the renowned chemist Glenn Seaborg, Nobel Laureate, former director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
Gray’s accomplishments include developing processes for the recovery and purification of plutonium from fuels and reactor targets classified as “nonprocessable” by the Department of Energy; developing chemical processes for the recovery and purification of plutonium from “hard-to-recover” plutonium scrap and residues; and recruiting and leading the international team of scientists and engineers who developed the ceramic immobilization form for the disposition of excess weapons plutonium. These and other accomplishments have decreased nuclear waste or provided it with a disposal pathway while adding large amounts of recovered or purified plutonium and other nuclear materials to the nation’s stockpile.


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UCRL-52000-02-9 | October 7, 2002