Four Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have been named Distinguished Members of Technical Staff (DMTS) for their extraordinary scientific and technical contributions to the Laboratory and its missions, as acknowledged by their professional peers and the larger community.
Bob Deri of the Engineering Directorate, Frank Graziani of the Weapons and Complex Integration Directorate, Hye-Sook Park of the NIF and Photon Science Directorate and Rick Ryerson of the Physical and Life Science Directorate have earned the DMTS designation by reaching the highest technical staff level achievable by a scientist or engineer at the Lab.
The DMTS classification, created to serve as a career ladder for LLNL scientists and engineers, appropriately recognizes science, technology and engineering (ST&E) excellence with distinction and compensation while allowing the honored recipients to remain focused on delivering ST&E solutions to critical mission areas of the Laboratory. Only a limited number of scientists and engineers are selected for DMTS recognition - following the practices of other laboratories and industry, Lawrence Livermore expects its DMTS population to remain within 2-3 percent of the eligible pool of scientists and engineers.
Bob Deri’s technical scope spans fields such as photonic devices, micro-fabrication, communications systems and interconnects, integrated electronics, hardware, large laser systems and microwave diagnostics. He has continuously demonstrated technical leadership, brings teams to success in efforts ranging from leading proposal teams for projects like UltraPERL and Visibuilding to his current role leading critical laser development at the National Ignition Facility.
Deri’s technical accomplishments have been well-received in the technical community with his election as an IEEE fellow, receipt of three R&D 100 awards and 91 publications. He’s also co-inventor on 24 patents, with 11 pending, in the optoelectronics and laser optics fields.
Before starting at the Lab in 1992, Deri worked at Belicore in the area of photonic devices where he researched and invented multiple devices. He left the Lab from 1999-2005, when he served as chief optical scientist at Terrawave. Upon returning to the Lab in 2005, he has served in several critical technical leadership roles. He currently serves as the chief technologist in NIF and Photon Science, leading a team designing large-diode-pumped solid state lasers.
“I'm extremely honored to have been selected for this award, and appreciate this recognition of my work,” Deri said. “Any success I've had over the years has been due to the support and guidance of many colleagues, and to the opportunity to participate in important, challenging projects at LLNL, for which I am grateful.”
Frank Graziani has spent 27 years at the Laboratory where he has advanced the science of the national weapons program, nurtured and developed new staff and has collaborated with technical staff at all levels, all labs, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the broader academic community.
Graziani has dedicated his career to the physics related to nuclear performance.
While his technical leadership clearly affects the achievement of LLNL and NNSA, Graziani also dedicates himself to recruiting and developing early-career staff members to enhance the future of both science and the Laboratory. His mentoring has contributed significantly to the technical success of others and provided the tools and encouragement necessary for those willing to accept difficult challenges.
"I am both honored and humbled at being selected as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff,” Graziani said. “In the almost 30 years I have been at LLNL, I have had the privilege to work with and lead an extremely talented group of physicists, engineers, computer scientists and technicians. They have made me a better scientist.
“In many ways, I owe this honor to them. I am also grateful to my management for providing me with support and opportunities that allowed me to grow as a scientist. Being recognized as a DMTS for something I have been passionate about and I have had fun doing is truly rewarding. When I look at the other individuals who have received the DMTS, several of whom have been my mentors, I am humbled that I was considered for this honor.”
Hye-Sook Park joined LLNL as a postdoc in 1987 and became a staff scientist in the Physics Directorate in 1989. In 2002, she joined the NIF and Photon Science Directorate where she began using ultra-intense lasers to generate bright high-energy X-ray sources and developed techniques to probe matter at extreme density and temperature on high-power, laser-driven experiments.
In a very short period, she became regarded as a world’s authority in the use of petawatt-class laser to generate high-energy X-ray sources of radiographically probing dense matter with -psec resolution. The techniques she developed are now in use at essentially all high-power laser facilities around the world.
Her other experiments have broadened the reach of the field of plasma physics into regions deep in planetary interiors and aspects of extreme states of solid-state material dynamics. She also helped develop the Irvine-Michigan-Brookhaven detector to look for proton decay and neutrinos; detectors, hardware and software of the MACHO project to look for dark matter; detectors and software for the CLEMENTINE mission to map the lunar surface; the Gamma-Ray Optical Counterpart Search Experiment for observing gamma-ray bursts; and was a key member of the team that discovered the burst of neutrinos from Supernova 1987A.
“I am honored and I am humbled by this recognition,” Park said. “LLNL is a unique place where so much cutting-edge science is carried out. I’ve been very fortunate to work on many interesting projects here at LLNL from astrophysics to plasma physics and material science. With support from management and my colleagues, I have enjoyed the privilege of discovering previously unseen physics. I am sure LLNL will continue supporting great science.”
Rick Ryerson’s interests and impact span a broad swath of geoscience, ranging from local and global tectonics to experimental petrology and geochemistry, and from mineral and rock physics to nuclear waste management, geologic CO2 storage and hydraulic stimulation of hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs.
Ryerson‘s published works, even those from his early career, continue to be highly cited. His wok in trace and major element partitioning formed the basis for understanding the saturation behavior of phosphate minerals in magmas. In the 1990s, Ryerson and his colleagues began studying the partitioning of trace elements between minerals and aqueous fluids under mantle conditions. These were first-of-a-kind measurements that remain the standard for the field.
More recently, he has turned to the study of core formation in terrestrial planets. When hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to access unconventional oil and gas reserves was a hot topic in the fossil fuel industry, Ryerson was tapped to lead a team to develop GEOS -- a dynamic computational rock mechanics and hydrologic tool -- that can model facture propagation, resulting seismic signals and pressure-driven fluid flow through a rock mass. The tool also is applicable to problems in geothermal energy, carbon sequestration, unconventional oil and gas reserves and nuclear explosion monitoring.
"It is extremely gratifying to be chosen to join this select group of Lab scientists and engineers,” Ryerson said. “Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with a wonderful group of colleagues, postdocs and students. This is a good opportunity to thank them for sharing their expertise and enthusiasm.”