9 Los Alamos researchers named 2023 Laboratory Fellows

Aslam, Borup, Daughton, Light, Ronning, Van de Water, Viswanathan, Vitev, Watson join Los Alamos National Laboratory’s prestigious group

October 4, 2023


Nine researchers have been named 2023 Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows: Tariq Aslam, Rod Borup, William Daughton, Tess Lavezzi Light, Filip Ronning, Richard Van de Water, Hari Viswanathan, Ivan Vitev and Scott Watson.

“These researchers have made significant contributions to their respective fields, and it is an honor to recognize them as Laboratory Fellows,” said Laboratory Director Thom Mason. “I congratulate them on the outstanding work they have done throughout their careers and thank them for playing pivotal roles in our mission and in the global scientific community.”

About the Fellows

From left: Tariq Aslam, Rod Borup and William Daughton.

Tariq Aslam, of the Physics and Chemistry of Materials group, began his career at Los Alamos as a graduate student nearly 30 years ago. Since then, he became a world leader in high-explosives-detonation modeling and algorithm development. In particular, he has been instrumental to detonation shock dynamics modeling, which has become an important contributor to the Laboratory’s nuclear weapons mission. His work has strongly influenced high explosive modeling at Los Alamos, and he has published important papers spanning detonation theory and modeling and computational physics.

Rod Borup, of the Materials Synthesis and Integrated Devices group, is internationally recognized for his scientific excellence and exceptional leadership in the area of fuel-cell technologies and is the face of Los Alamos’ flagship fuel cell program. He has made significant advances in fuel cell technology for clean energy applications and has an outstanding record of professional service and internal service to the Laboratory. Additionally, he is now engaged in a new application of fuel-cell technology that will support the modernization and management of the future stockpile.

William Daughton, of the Primary Physics group, has had an outstanding career spanning multiple topics in both the open science community and the Laboratory’s national security mission. His expertise in theoretical plasma physics includes kinetic theory and simulation of magnetized plasmas, magnetic reconnection, inertial confinement fusion and weapons physics. Over the course of his career, Daughton has made contributions of fundamental importance in all of these topics. In addition to his record of scientific accomplishment, Daughton has a remarkable history of scientific leadership.

From left: Tess Lavezzi Light, Filip Ronning and Richard Van de Water.

Tess Lavezzi Light, of the Electromagnetic Sciences & Cognitive Space Applications group, has demonstrated nationally recognized leadership in the field of electromagnetic pulse science as applied to the critical capability of nuclear detonation detection for international treaty monitoring. Through her distinguished career at the Laboratory over the past 24 years, her work has impacted most aspects of the electromagnetic-pulse-sensing program and set the requirements for novel sensor design over the coming decades.

Filip Ronning, of the National Security Education Center, is an international authority in condensed matter physics and has made seminal contributions to the understanding of correlated matter. His theory-experiment integration focus was first revealed during his doctoral work at Stanford University, where he pioneered a new understanding of doped Mott insulators. At Los Alamos, his work has mostly revolved around the discovery, understanding and control of quantum phases and phenomena, particularly in f-electron materials. In addition to being a world-class scientist, Ronning is the director of the Laboratory’s Institute for Materials Science.

Richard Van de Water, of the Applied and Fundamental Physics group, is an internationally recognized expert in particle physics, playing key leadership roles in several impactful experiments that have improved the knowledge of the nature of the neutrino and the dark sector. He continues to lead the particle physics community in the development of theory and experimental techniques to advance the search for dark sector physics using accelerators. His efforts in numerous neutrino experiments have established him as one of the worldwide leaders in particle and neutrino physics.

From Left: Hari Viswanathan, Ivan Vitev and Scott Watson.

Hari Viswanathan, of the Energy and Natural Resources Security group, is recognized as an international leader in fluid dynamics through fractured systems from the molecular level to field-scale. Viswanathan’s pioneering work on fracture simulations made the Laboratory a leader in this field. His research has positively impacted the energy sector in areas including nuclear waste storage, environmentally friendly fracking fluids such as supercritical carbon dioxide to enhance natural-gas production as a transition fuel, underground CO2 storage, monitoring undocumented orphan wells for methane leakage mitigation and CO2 sequestration through mineralization.

Ivan Vitev, of the Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology group, is one of the world’s foremost leaders on the physics of the quark-gluon plasma and of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of strong interactions. As a nuclear theorist at Los Alamos for nearly 20 years, he pioneered novel techniques driving the field in new directions and has demonstrated technical and communal leadership. He is an international authority in high-energy nuclear physics and is recognized for developing the theory of subatomic particle jets in reactions in nuclei and for establishing methods for strongly coupled plasma tomography.

Scott Watson is internationally recognized as a leader in all aspects of gas-cavity hydrotesting including sources, detectors and experimental design. He pioneered the development of multiple-pulse, gas-cavity radiography, which is now a mainstay of the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program, allowing the country to certify the stockpile. He has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards including: 10 patents, nine Defense Program Awards, six Distinguished Performance Awards, two R&D-100 awards, two NNSA Gold Awards and the Secretary of Energy Honor Award.

About the Laboratory Fellows

A Fellow appointment at Los Alamos is an honor bestowed in recognition of outstanding achievement in science and/or engineering, recognizing the full breadth of Laboratory accomplishment from basic research to applied missions. Nominations are assessed on the basis of three criteria:

  • Sustained, high-level achievement and/or leadership in advancing science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or its application.
  • One or more STEM discoveries, inventions or breakthrough applications of STEM that have made significant advances to a field of discipline, bringing widespread acceptance and recognition.
  • Having become a recognized authority in a field or discipline as evidenced by citations, awards, fellowships in prestigious societies and/or engagement at the national/international level because of their expertise.