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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced eight distinguished U.S. scientists and engineers as recipients of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for their contributions in research and development supporting the Energy Department’s missions in science, energy, and national security.  

Since 1959, the Lawrence Award has recognized mid-career scientists and engineers in the United States who have advanced new research and scientific discovery in atomic, molecular, and chemical sciences; biological and environmental sciences; computer, information, and knowledge sciences; condensed matter and materials sciences; energy science and innovation; fusion and plasma sciences; high energy physics; national security and nonproliferation; and nuclear physics.

“These researchers have made significant advances and contributions across a broad range of disciplines critical to Energy Department missions,” said Secretary Brouillette. “We congratulate them on their many accomplishments and look forward to their achievements in the coming years.”

The 2020 E. O. Lawrence Award recipients include:

Krista S. Walton (Georgia Institute of Technology) - Atomic, Molecular, and Chemical Sciences - Honored for her “pioneering and interdisciplinary research of porous material stability under a variety of challenging conditions and advancing separation science.” Working at the intersection of chemistry, computation, and chemical engineering, Walton has identified physical and chemical factors driving water stability of sorbents, especially metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), and the impact of defects and complex mixtures on the chemical stability of MOFs.

Susannah G. Tringe (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) - Biological and Environmental Sciences - Honored for her “substantial contributions to foundational research, technological development, and application of experimental and computational tools and approaches in the field of metagenomics.” Specifically, Tringe is recognized for development and applications of high throughput DNA sequencing techniques (e.g., shotgun technique) to study microbial communities in numerous different environments including wetlands, seminal studies of plant-microbiome interactions in crop science, and early exploration of amplicon sequencing in environmental samples.

Robert B. Ross (Argonne National Laboratory) - Computer, Information, and Knowledge Sciences - Honored for his “numerous and seminal contributions in high-performance computing (HPC), with outstanding contributions and achievements in the fields of parallel input/output, storage, data analysis, and communication software which have addressed real-world needs and, in turn, enabled the advancement and research of the Department of Energy’s science community.” Specifically, Ross’s leadership and investigations into underlying computer science technologies and the integration of those technologies into the real-world HPC ecosystem has resulted in innovative tools and largescale storage system designs (e.g., PVFS, MPICH, Parallel netCDF, and Darshan).

M. Zahid Hasan (Princeton University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) - Condensed Matter and Materials Sciences - Honored for “experiments using advanced spin-angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy which led to seminal discoveries of new phases of matter and new fermionic quasiparticles.” Hasan’s work has opened new areas in condensed matter physics and holds promise for future transformative applications in materials sciences. Guided by predictions from ab initio calculations, he has focused on the search for, and discovery of, new quantum states and topological quasiparticles such as the helical Dirac fermion and the Weyl fermion.

Yi Cui (Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) - Energy Science and Innovation - Honored for his “insightful introduction of nanosciences in battery research.” His multiple innovative ideas have transformed the battery field in a very impactful way and enabled new types of high energy density batteries and low-cost energy storage solutions. Cui reinvigorated research in batteries by enabling new electrode materials with one-order-of-magnitude-higher charge storage capacity, including silicon anodes, lithium-metal anodes, and sulfur cathodes. Cui is also the first to have developed cryogenic electron microscopy for battery materials.

Dustin H. Froula (University of Rochester) - Fusion and Plasma Sciences - Honored for “seminal and creative contributions in fundamental laser-matter interaction physics, and laser-driven plasma accelerators that have significantly advanced the Department of Energy’s mission, including pioneering spatiotemporal pulse shaping techniques, focused laser plasma instability research, and novel high-resolution Thomson scattering methods.” Together, these achievements have addressed long-standing questions in plasma physics, led to many first-of-their-kind measurements, and represent development of new, cutting-edge concepts in plasma optics which will shape the field in years to come.

Dana M. Dattelbaum (Los Alamos National Laboratory) - National Security and Nonproliferation - Honored for “several transformative scientific and intellectual achievements, including her pioneering work providing physical insights into shock and detonation physics, her innovations in the development of the Equations of State of a spectrum of energetics and polymers, and providing critical data for hydrodynamic simulations essential to the nuclear weapons program.” Dattelbaum has played a pivotal and leading role in advancing the experimental study of materials under extreme conditions at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Daniel Kasen (University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) - Nuclear Physics - Honored for his “outstanding achievements in nuclear astrophysics and scientific computing, advancing both theory and high performance computations and our understanding of the nuclear physics involved in the birth and death of compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes) and the stellar explosions involving them (supernovae and compact object mergers).” Specifically, Kasen is recognized for development of state-­of-­the-­art simulations of astrophysical phenomena, including developing the SEDONA code, prediction and modeling of kilonova, and the electromagnetic counterparts to the gravitational wave signals from neutron­star mergers.

The Lawrence Award was established to honor the memory of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron – an accelerator of subatomic particles – and was named the 1939 Nobel Laureate in Physics for that achievement. Lawrence later played a leading role in establishing the U.S. system of national laboratories, and today, the Energy Department’s national laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore, California bear his name. The eight Lawrence Award recipients announced today will receive a medal and a $20,000 honorarium and are to be honored at a virtual ceremony broadcast from Washington, DC, on January 19.

For more information about the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award and the contributions each award recipient has made to U.S. leadership in energy, science and security, please visit