August 16, 2023
LLNL physicist Tammy Ma and computational scientist Jeff Hittinger were recently celebrated as winners of the Krell Institute’s James Corones Award in Leadership, Community Building, and Communication at an event attended by their LLNL colleagues and family members.
The award is named for James Corones, founder of the Krell Institute, a nonprofit organization serving the scientific and educational communities that manages the Department of Energy’s Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) Program, as well as the DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship and Laboratory Residency Graduate Fellowship programs.
“The Krell Institute stands for something that we think is important—building the workforce and investing in people,” said LLNL Director Kim Budil. “I had the opportunity to get to know Jim Corones. He really had a vision of building a different kind of scientific leader, which is what we are celebrating today.”
Krell Institute President Shelly Olsan shared the life story of Corones, a professor of mathematics at Iowa State University who founded the Institute in 1997. The name “Krell” comes from the 1956 science fiction movie Forbidden Planet. After Corones died in 2017, the Krell Institute established the James Corones Award to recognize the impact of mid-career scientists and engineers on their chosen fields across a range of areas.
“Tammy Ma has accomplished so much,” Olsan said. “And she’s a really great person, well intentioned, and doing it for the right reasons—for the good of all. I think Jim would find that the most compelling reason for her to win this award.”
Vincent Tang, NIF&PS deputy principal associate director, spoke of how Ma built trust and community through projects like the DOE Basic Research Needs report on fusion energy.
“This is exceptionally well deserved for your role in educating the public about fusion and the important work that we do here,” he said. “This is a really exciting time, and every step of the way Tammy has been there leading the community forward.”
Joe Kilkenny, a vice president at General Atomics, described Ma’s impact, ranging from a seminal paper she wrote on fuel mix early in her career to recent media appearances and speaking at LLNL’s Science on Saturday events.
“It’s been a joy to work with Tammy,” he said. “She’s done an amazing job in leadership, community building, and science communications, particularly for fusion.”
Hittinger has the distinction of being the only recipient who worked with Corones. Hittinger was a DOE CSGF recipient from 1996 to 2000 and now serves on several CSGF committees and as the program’s co-technical principal investigator.
“You are developing a legacy in computing at LLNL and beyond,” Olsan said. “Jeff is a valuable and effective science communicator, and he builds various communities to inspire and teach other scientists. Jim Corones felt that Jeff was a strong leader of the CSGF program, and I know he would be proud to see Jeff as a recipient of this award.”
Computing Associate Director Bruce Hendrickson carried forward that theme of hard work and leadership.
“Over Jeff’s career, small things done with commitment and excellence have integrated over time to create a very large impact,” he said. “Jeff is both a beneficiary of Jim’s legacy and a key carrier of that legacy by moving the CSGF program forward.”
"For Tammy Ma, Paying It Forward Has Paid Career Dividends," NIF & Photon Science News, July 12, 2023
“Krell Institute Honors LLNL Physicist Tammy Ma,” NIF & Photon Science News, May 10, 2023
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