NNSA fellowship in honor of Ian Hutcheon

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

The Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) has established a fellowship in honor of the late Ian Hutcheon, a longtime employee of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This fellowship will be a two-year assignment as a Junior Professional Officer (JPO) in support of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Division of Nuclear Security.

"To the nuclear nonproliferation world, Hutcheon brought not only a passion for science, but an ability to reach out to partners around the world, engaging them in the science that supports our nuclear security efforts. Because of his innate ability to engage, teach and inspire, Hutcheon was one of our very finest scientist-diplomats, with a unique ability to grow and inspire young talent," the fellowship announcement said.

It is in this spirit that DNN has created this fellowship to offer a unique opportunity to early career staff to work at the IAEA in support of nonproliferation goals. 

"This recent honor recognizes his efforts to help with training chemists in countries around the world and in support of the Lab’s and the IAEA’s nuclear nonproliferation efforts," Ian’s wife, Nancy Hutcheon, said. "Members of Ian’s group, under the leadership of Mike Kristo, are continuing these international collaborations."

This isn’t the first time a fellowship has been created in Hutcheon’s honor. In August, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s (DNDO) National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program established the first Dr. Ian Hutcheon Post-Doctoral Fellowship award to support research in nuclear forensics. The fellowship honors Hutcheon, who significantly advanced America’s nuclear forensics capability during his 22-year tenure. 

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. He passed away March 26.

Hutcheon came to the Lab in 1993, after 20 years as a senior research associate at the University of Chicago and Caltech, where he established his reputation as an expert in secondary ion mass spectroscopy and its application to the field of cosmochemistry.

Hutcheon made numerous contributions to the study of the isotopic composition of meteorites and what they reveal about the evolution of the early solar system. He also was a key developer of nuclear forensics as both a field of scientific investigation and a scientific discipline with significant applications to national security. He conducted groundbreaking work in the formation mechanisms of planets and meteorites, and subtle, diffusion transport processes in terrestrial and planetary melts, glasses and minerals; and conducted the first NanoSIMS-enabled studies of biological materials (NanoSIMS is a high resolution imaging mass spectrometer used to probe extremely small materials). He authored more than 200 papers and book chapters, and co-wrote the book "Nuclear Forensics Analysis" with colleagues Pat Grant and Ken Moody.

His awards in recent years included being named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at the Laboratory; receiving the PLS Outstanding Postdoc Mentor award in 2010; and having a newly discovered mineral in the Allende meteorite named in his honor, Hutcheonite.

In his 22 years at LLNL, Hutcheon built the Chemical and Isotopic Signatures Group from himself, two others and one secondary ion mass spectrometer, to a team of 38 (scientists, postdocs, graduate students and technicians), filling Bldg.151 with multiple mass spectrometry labs, a scanning electron microscope, other analytical equipment and sample prep labs. The breadth of study within the group covers time scale and processes of nucleosynthesis; formation and evolution of meteorites and planets; mineralogy and petrology of unequilibrated  meteorites; sub-cellular imaging of  biological samples and isotope tracing into cells of all types; environmental microbiology; and nuclear forensics and attribution. The academic excellence he absorbed as senior research associate at the University of Chicago and Caltech, in the previous 20 years of his career, burned bright and he tried to instill in his group the importance of doing great science and getting it out into the world through publications.

Candidates eligible for the new fellowship must be early career (two to three years of experience) contractor or Laboratory employees working in support of the DNN mission; and terms of employment shouldl be consistent with IAEA requirements, which can be found on the Web.

For more information about the IAEA Junior Professional Officer program, visit IAEA.

Interested candidates should send their resumes to katherine.vogler [at] (Katie Vogler) by Oct. 23, 2015. A DNN selection panel will then choose the top three candidates to be sent forward to the IAEA for final selection. Interviews may be held by the IAEA via phone or VTC at their discretion. The expected start date is spring 2016.