Nov. 15, 2011
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Lab physicist recognized with NNSA Award

Steve MacLaren, a physicist with LLNL's Weapons and Complex Integration Principal Directorate, has been recognized with the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Defense Programs' Employee of the Quarter Award. Recipients of the awards are recognized for going beyond the call of duty in supporting the mission of NNSA's Defense Programs.

"The Defense Programs Employee of the Quarter awards recognize the commitment of the men and women from throughout the national nuclear security enterprise," said Don Cook, NNSA's deputy administrator for Defense Programs. "The leadership and achievements of the award recipients have contributed directly to the many successes that NNSA Defense Programs has recently enjoyed."

MacLaren received the recognition based on his work as the lead designer in the recently completed High Energy Density (HED) experiments on both the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and the Z machine. These experiments delivered validation data for 3D simulations that enabled LLNL to develop and implement key physics-based models for the Stockpile Stewardship Program.

MacLaren led the effort in using state-of-the-art 3D ASC simulation capabilities, accounting for the experimental and diagnostics configurations, to perform both pre-shot simulations and post-shot analyses. Data showed excellent agreement with pre-shot simulation and validated LLNL's ability to predict complex radiation hydrodynamics behaviors.

"I feel very fortunate to be in a position to take advantage of the tremendous potential for science presented by the combination of LLNL's unique simulation resources with the emerging experimental capabilities at NIF and the Z machine," he said. "But for me, the real privilege has been the opportunity to work with teams of highly skilled, talented and enthusiastic scientists, whether code developers, designers, experimentalists or target fabrication experts, whose dedicated work is recognized by this award."