Wallace discusses LANL's growing mission

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By Carol A. Clark

Finding solutions to the nation's energy dilemmas, including the means to store energy, is at the fore front of research underway at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL): Research critical to both the nation and the world.


The increasing role LANL scientists are playing in this field now, and will play well into the future, was a topic discussed by Terry Wallace, principal associate director for Science, Technology, & Engineering, during an interview Thursday.


"I believe that science at LANL is flourishing and we're in a better time now than perhaps any time in the past," Wallace said.


The interview on Behind the White Coat: Conversations with Los Alamos Scientists, took place in the Dynamic Stress Stimulation Laboratory (DSSL), which is one of several geophysics labs at LANL.


DSSL is a unique facility designed to study the effects of low frequency stress waves on permeability and multi-phase fluid flow in rock core samples. If this phenomenon can be understood and harnessed, Wallace said, it will lead to improved technologies for enhancing oil production and groundwater remediation.


Wallace praised LANL's geophysics scientists and suggested that everyone of them should be interviewed about the significant contributions they are making for the nation.


Wallace is responsible for all basic science programs at LANL, and for coordinating the activities of the four science and engineering directorates.


From 2005 to June 2006, he served as associate director of Strategic Research, which encompassed LANL's science program offices and the five line divisions that implemented those programs and supported LANL's nuclear weapons, threat reduction, and energy security missions.


Wallace also was responsible for the Laboratory's non-National Nuclear Security Administration Department of Energy programs, including basic science, energy technology, and environmental technology.


Prior to that position, Wallace was the division leader of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division.


Wallace was raised in Los Alamos and graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1974. He returned home in 2003 after spending 20 years as a professor of geosciences and an associate in the applied mathematics program at the University of Arizona.


He also served as director of the Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory.


In addition to teaching, Wallace carried out research on global threat reduction, nonproliferation verification, and computational geophysics.


During his academic career, he worked with LANL on nuclear test monitoring and threat reduction and in particular on interpreting the indications of nuclear testing by a foreign government.


Wallace has an international reputation in geosciences as applied to national security issues. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in geophysics from California Institute of Technology and B.S. degrees in geophysics and mathematics from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.


Wallace has authored or coauthored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications on seismology and tectonics, including ground-based nuclear explosion monitoring and forensic seismology. He also wrote Modern Global Seismology, which is one of the most widely used textbooks on seismology.


Wallace's interview can be seen in its entirety on PAC 8 and UCTV later this month.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Behind the White Coat: Conversations with Los Alamos Scientists is produced and hosted by Carol A. Clark and sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank.