Four universities will share $40.5 million for new research centers in California, Michigan, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has designated four new Centers of Excellence at universities across the nation as part of the Stewardship Science Academic Alliances (SSAA) Program. 

The four new centers bring the total number of SSAA Centers of Excellence to eight. The centers enrich graduate education and training while also facilitating interactions between NNSA National Laboratory scientists and emerging leaders in academia.

“These cooperative agreements strengthen the Nuclear Security Enterprise by advancing areas of science relevant to the stockpile stewardship mission and ensuring a pipeline of future scientists to carry out that mission,” said Dr. Kathleen Alexander, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation in NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs. 

The new recipients include:

  • The George Washington University will receive $12.5 million over 5 years to manage the Capital/DOE Alliance Center, which researches high pressure science and technology under Dr. Russell Hemley’s leadership. Dr. Hemley’s students seek to enhance understanding of a broad range of materials in extreme pressure-temperature regimes and to integrate and coordinate static compression, dynamic compression, and theoretical studies of materials.
  • Texas A&M University will receive $12.5 million over 5 years to manage the Center for Research Excellence on Dynamically Deformed Solids, led by Dr. Michael Demkowicz. The center aims to discover, understand, and predict how material microstructure influences the mechanical response of 3D printed multiphase materials at high strain rate.
  • University of California San Diego will receive $10.5 million over 5 years to manage the Center for Matter under Extreme Conditions. Dr. Farhat Beg will lead research and technological breakthroughs in high-energy density physics while training graduate students at the participating campuses and NNSA National Laboratories. The work will have an emphasis on creation and diagnosis of extreme states of matter—both magnetized and unmagnetized—utilizing computer modeling and experiments to develop a better understanding of high-energy density systems.
  • University of Michigan will receive $5 million over 5 years to manage the Center for Laboratory Astrophysics. Dr. Carolyn C. Kuranz and Dr. R. Paul Drake will lead students as they perform fundamental research in high-energy density physics and closely related areas, united by the theme of relevance to the evolution of the universe after its Dark Ages – the period when galactic structure developed, soon after the first stars formed. The research will include experiments and computations to explore conditions involving complex flowing structures, often affected by ionizing radiation or substantial magnetic fields.  

The SSAA program was launched in 2002 and supports areas of fundamental research and development that are relevant to NNSA’s stockpile stewardship mission. SSAA also serves as a recruitment tool – shaping the next generation of highly-trained technical scientists and engineers for the Nuclear Security Enterprise.