Feb. 24, 2021
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Tarver honored with American Physical Society award

Michael Padilla, padilla37 [at] llnl.gov, 925-341-8692

Craig Tarver, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) retiree and consultant to the Lab’s Energetic Materials Center, has been honored with the American Physical Society’s (APS) 2021 George E. Duvall Shock Compression Science Award for “theoretical advancement of the understanding of shock-driven reactions and detonation in condensed phase explosives.”

Since 1987, the award — the highest offered by APS in shock compression science — has biennially recognized contributions to understanding condensed matter and non-linear physics through shock compression. Tarver will receive $5,000 and a plaque citing his accomplishments.

“Receiving this award means a great deal to me because the APS Shock Compression of Condensed Matter Topical Group is one of the world's leading organizations for all types of shock wave scientific research on inert and reactive materials,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to be given this award for over 50 years of research work on energetic materials and to join previous LLNL awardees Bill Nellis, Art Michell and Jerry Forbes.”

Tarver said when he joined LLNL the energetic materials research effort was scattered throughout LLNL in several physics, engineering and chemistry divisions. With the opening of the HEAF building in 1989 and the creation of Energetic Materials Center, the research effort was concentrated in one area. Communication of ideas among experimentalists and theoreticians became much easier, he said.

With the establishment of the center, “solving safety and performance problems became much faster,” he said. “Excellent combined groups with unique individual skills has resulted in great progress in the knowledge of energetic materials.”

Tarver received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Clarkson University in 1968 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1973. Prior to joining LLNL in 1976, he was a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and worked at SRI International. His main research interests involve modeling chemical reaction rates in energetic materials, and his main research areas are: detonation; shock initiation (ignition and growth and statistical hot spot models); thermal decomposition and explosion (multiple reaction chemical kinetic models); deflagration to detonation transition; impact ignition; and equations of state.

Tarver has been a member of the APS Topical Group for the Shock Compression of Condensed Matter since its establishment and served as its chairman in 2001. He was named an APS fellow in 2004.