Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

LLNL Researcher Honored by Academies of Sciences

LLNL Physicist Elected to Lead APS Division of Plasma Physics

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

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LLNL Researcher Honored by Academies of Sciences

December 5, 2019

LLNL research scientist Federica Coppari was named a New Leader in Space Science by the U.S. and Chinese academies of sciences in recognition of her contributions to the field of planetary science. Coppari was co-leader of a team that presented the first experimental evidence of an exotic state of matter called superionic ice.

Federica Coppari Holds Diffraction Image PlateFederica Coppari with an x-ray diffraction image plate that she and her colleagues used to discover ice XVIII, also known as superionic ice. Credit: Eugene Kowaluk/Laboratory for Laser Energetics

Jointly organized by the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Space Studies Board of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the New Leaders in Space Science program was initiated in 2014 to identify and highlight the research achievements of the best and brightest early-career scientists currently working at the frontiers of space and planetary science.

Sixteen new leaders were selected by a joint selection committee composed of six distinguished senior scientists from Chinese and U.S. institutions, chaired by David Smith from the Space Studies Board (SSB).

Together with the other awardees, Coppari was invited to present her research at two forums held last May in Beijing (China) and in October in Washington, D.C. “It is such an honor to be recognized by the national academies of sciences for my work at the Lab,” Coppari said. “It highlights the importance of our research and the broad impact it has on the science community.”

Coppari’s lectures focused on the use of laser-driven compression and x-ray diffraction to recreate and probe the conditions existing deep inside planets.

In the first talk she discussed the experiments that verified the existence of superionic water ice (Ice XVIII) and its implications for the interior structures and magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune. In the second presentation, she focused on massive exoplanets and discussed the consequences of the B1-B2 phase transition in magnesium oxide and iron oxide—two of the main constituents of the mantle of terrestrial planets—their miscibility (ability to mix to form a homogeneous solution), and their implications for the internal composition of extra-solar planets.

“I chose the topics of the two talks to give an overview of the broad capabilities of these emerging experimental techniques,” Coppari said. “It is very exciting to be able to contribute to a better understanding of the universe by measuring material properties at planetary interior conditions.”

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