LANL Researcher Nets Presidential Early Career Award

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Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Evgenya Simakov has been named by President Barack Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Simakov, of the Laboratory’s Acceleration and Operations Technology Division, was one of 94 scientists within 16 federal agencies nationwide to receive the honor.

“It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers—careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the nation,” President Obama said. “That so many of them are also devoting time to mentoring and other forms of community service speaks volumes about their potential for leadership, not only as scientists but as model citizens.”

Simakov is pioneering development of specially designed structures for high-energy particle accelerators that mitigate undesirable byproducts of high-energy particle acceleration. Her objective is to advance photonic band gap (PBG) accelerator technology for use in the next generation of particle accelerators for high-energy physics. Superconducting PBG accelerator technology could improve the quality and intensity of accelerated particle beams and, as a consequence, allow free-electron lasers to deliver extremely intense, short-wavelength laser beams. In addition to her scientific work, Simakov was also selected for her outreach activities and leadership in the advanced accelerator community.

“Evgenya is an outstanding example of the intellectual vitality at Los Alamos, and an inspiration to all of us,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “Her scientific achievements benefit the nation and her mentoring of other young researchers strengthens our hope for the future.”

Simakov joined LANL as a visiting student in 2003 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2005 she joined the High-Power Electrodynamics Group as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow and in 2007became a LANL staff member. Simakov received the American Physical Society’s Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Beam Physics Award and is a recipient of several LANL awards. In 2010, Simakov was awarded a five-year research grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s prestigious Office of Science Early Career Research Program.

“Science and technology are the core of our mission at DOE,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “These young scientists are using their talents to help our nation build a brighter future, so I congratulate them on their accomplishments and I look forward to their future achievements.”

DOE nominated the PECASE awardees and DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration fund their work. Each PECASE winner will receive DOE funding for up to five years to advance his or her research. All scientists and engineers recognized by the President will receive their awards on Friday, October 14, 2011, at a White House ceremony.