Los Alamos National Laboratory Researcher Luis Chacon Wins Lawrence Award


Luis Chacon of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics group is the winner of the prestigious Ernest Orlando Lawrence award for 2021. He was selected for seminal contributions in multiscale algorithms for fluid, kinetic and hybrid simulation of plasmas, enabling scientific breakthroughs in fast magnetic reconnection and self-organization in magnetic fusion systems, and in reactivity degradation in inertial fusion systems.

“Luis’ computational physics algorithms have played a pivotal role in helping researchers better understand fusion processes, and are critical to the Laboratory’s mission,” said Laboratory Director Thom Mason. “The E.O. Lawrence Award is the Department of Energy’s premier recognition for mid-career scientists and engineers, and I congratulate Luis on this accomplishment.”

Chacon will receive the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September.

“This award is an incredible honor bestowed upon me and, beyond my specific research contributions, it reflects more broadly on the excellent opportunities and engaging research environment that the Laboratory offers to its early- and mid-career scientists,” said Chacon.

About Chacon

Luis Chacon is a research staff member in the Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics group in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received his master’s degree in industrial engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in 1994, and his master’s and doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998 and 2000, respectively. He also received a doctoral degree in Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in 2001.

After graduation, he joined the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in 2000 and became a staff member in 2002. He later joined the Fusion Energy Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2008-2012 and returned to Los Alamos in 2012.

His research contributions conjoin applied mathematics and plasma physics, with applications to basic plasmas, magnetic confinement fusion and inertial confinement fusion. He is active in both the Applied Scientific Computing Research and Fusion Energy Sciences DOE communities.

About the Award

The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award was established in 1959 to honor the memory of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron — a subatomic particle accelerator — and recipient of the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics. Lawrence also had a leading role in establishing the U.S. national laboratory system and has two national laboratories named for him.

The award is given by the U.S. energy secretary, recognizing mid-career U.S. scientists and engineers for exceptional scientific, technical and engineering achievements related to the broad missions of the DOE. The award is among the most prestigious science and technology awards from the U.S. government. Read more about the award here.