Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

December 23, 2019

Photo of Denise HinkelLLNL physicist Denise Hinkel was recently elected to lead the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Denise Hinkel was elected vice chair of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Plasma Physics (DPP), the first step in a four-year leadership commitment that will include a stint as the organization’s chair.

Hinkel, who is leading Inertial Confinement Fusion projects and is a group leader in the Design Physics Division, was elected during the annual APS DPP meeting Oct. 21.

Her term began in November and she leads the fellowship committee. Following her term as vice chair, she will become the chair-elect and lead the program committee. After her term as chair, she will serve one final year as past chair and become an advisor to the incoming leadership.

“This is an opportunity to make a difference,” Hinkel said. “There are ideas and process improvements that I would like to pursue.  Also, this provides an opportunity to grow professionally while helping to improve the discipline.”

Hinkel brings deep expertise in plasma physics from her work at LLNL. She is a group leader in the Design Physics Division and is also the Weapons and Complex Integration directorate point of contact for Laboratory Directed Research and Development projects.

Hinkel has been a member of APS DPP since she was a graduate student. She became a fellow in 2007 and has served on the executive, fellowship, nomination, and program committees. Hinkel was approached about running for the division’s lead role in the past, but the time was not quite right until this year.

Any DPP member can vote in the annual election, and Hinkel’s campaign focused on two main points: nurturing cross-fertilization between the various fields of plasma physics and fostering diversity and inclusion in the discipline.

With plasma physics a dynamic, fast-evolving field, Hinkel views APS as an important mechanism for drawing physicists together, helping them connect and facilitating improved exchange of ideas and peer review.

“Sometimes good ideas are hard to implement,” Hinkel said. “Bringing ideas to fruition is something that has always intrigued me, and this service provides an opportunity to help make things happen.”

—Nolan O’Brien

Follow us on Twitter: @lasers_llnl