LANL: Community Relations Medal
Anna Llobet Megias

LANL: Community Relations Medal
Pierre-Yves Le Bas

LANL: Global Security Medal 
Sara Y. Del Valle

LANL: Los Alamos Medal
Gary D. Wall

LANL: Global Security Medal
Catherine Snelson-Gerlicher

LANL: Operations Excellence Medal 
Dina Siegel


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation: Alexander von Humboldt Prize
Sergei Tretiak

American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows
Babetta Marrone
Thomas Mark Mccleskey
Harshini Mukundan

American Nuclear Society: Milton Levenson Distinguished Service Award
John Browne
Robert F. Penn Jr

American Physical Society Fellows
Eric Brown
Nathan Moody
Takeyasu Ito

American Society for Nondestructive Testing: Advancement of Women in NDT Recognition
Sarah M. White

Combustion Institute Fellow
Mark Short

Infection and Immunity Journal: Future Leader in the Field of Host-Microbe Interactions
Anand Kumar

International Conference on Ion Beam Modification of Materials: IBBM Prize 
Matheus A. Tunes

The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society: Alexander Scott Distinguished Service Award  
Carl Cady

Optica Fellow
Rohit Prasankumar

National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements: John D. Boice Jr. Young Investigator Award and Health Physics Society: Elda E. Anderson Award
Sara Dumit


David E. Chavez
Timothy C. Germann 
Neil Harrison  
Ricardo A. Lebensohn 
Hui Li 
Babetta (Babs) Marrone 
Karissa Sanbonmatsu 
Lin Yin 
Jianxin Zhu


LANL Fellows Prize for Outstanding Leadership 
Anemarie DeYoung
Juan Duque 
Brian J. Jensen 
Rob Steiner

LANL Fellows Prize for Outstanding Research 
Tariq Aslam


Additively Manufactured Tamper Evident Container

ALArM: Acoustic Large-Area Monitoring

ASSESS: Acoustic Steady-State Excitation Spatial Spectroscopy

BioManIAC: Bioplastics Manufacturing with Intelligent Adaptive Control
Additional special recognition: Bronze Medal for Market Disruptor – Services

Additional special recognition: Silver Medal for Battling COVID-19


Additional special recognition: Gold Medal for Green Tech

On-Chip Neuromorphic Backpropagation Algorithm (ONBA)

SOFIA: Spectrometer Optimized for Facility Integrated Applications


Discharge Permit 1132 (DP-1132) Permitting Team
Enrique Torres 
Steven L. Story 
Robert Beers 
Tim J. Goering 
Jennifer Nisengard 
Sarah Holcomb 
Randal S. (Randy) Johnson
Susan L. McMichael 
Maxine McReynolds 
Lauren Beers 
Alvin M. Aragon 

Pu/Z/ICE Team
David A. (Anthony) Fredenburg 
Jenny M. Esch 
Lonnie J. Sanchez 
Darrell  Vigil 
Rebecca Hollis 
Pamela Dominguez 
Kapil K. Goyal 
David L. Wannigman 
Betty J. Humphrey 
Nestor A. Trujillo 
Missy Trujillo 
Peter H. Carson 
Steven Shelton 
Cynthia Heinberg 


Early Career Research Program Award
Zhaowen Tang

Secretary of Energy's Project Management Achievement Award:
PEI1 Team – the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) PF-4 Equipment 
Installation-Phase I (PEI1) subproject

E.O. Lawrence Award
Luis Chacon


Lovelace Biomedical Research Institute Material Removal Team 
Pat Fitch 
Craig Taylor 
Frances (Fran) Martin 
Leonard Manzanares 
Darlene T. Valdez 
Thomas Mark Mccleskey 
Sean B. French 
Markilee R. Martinez-Zambrano 
Nathaniel Shanteau 
David Potter 
Dylan Klundt 
Cathy Babcock 
Ernest Wylie II 
Marki Martinez 
David Mccumber 
Ning Xu 
Cristy Abeyta 
Robert Margevicius 
Christopher James 
Jose A Trujillo 
Donald Thorp 
Jason Eugene Gentry 
Urban E. Hill 
Lawrence Mccubbins Jr. 
Onesimo A. Martinez 
Rudy E. Abeyta Jr. 
Earl Martinez 
Jose Abeyta 
Michael Rivera 
Jason M. Wohlberg 
Douglas Thacker 
Fabian L. Anaya 
Rick Romero 
Joshua Mares 
Leon Trujillo 
Andrea N. Martinez 
Stephanie Archuleta 
Elisha N. Herrera 
Michael Romero 
Gary Lauten 
Harold K. Chacon 
Jeremy Nowell 
William D. Peach 
Jerry Kole 
Nicholas (Nick) Denissen 
Dana Lynn Duke 
Clifton (Cliff) Wright 
James Patrick (Pat) Harding 
Brian Erick O’Neil 
Thomas Murray Hartsfield 
Amanda Elizabeth (Mandie) Gehring 
Garrett Gene Euler 
Marylesa Marie Howard 
Raymond Michael Yost 
Meghan Jane Gibbs 
Tyler Bronson 
Andrea Albert 
Marissa Christman 
Morgan Heather Tompkins 
Brandon White 
Boyd Ritter 
Erika V. Esquivel 
Gregory (Greg) Getha 
Joanne Louise Budzien 
Ethan Dean Moll 
Kevin Noble Love 
Erick Smith 
Robert W. Sykes 
Kyle Thomas Hughes 
Kaleb Scott Howard 
Jeramie John Rick 
Dale Jackson Brush 
Michael Dan Sonne 
Alexander (Alex) Tafoya 
Chau Duy Dang 
Majlinda Malellari 
Mark Hansen

Burning Plasma on the National Ignition Facility Team 
Hans W. Herrmann 
John L. Kline 
Petr Volegov 
Yong Ho Kim 
Carl Wilde 
Verena Geppert-Kleinrath 
Hermann Geppert-Kleinrath 
Noah Birge 
Kevin Meaney

Nuclear Incident Response Stabilization Team 
Victoria Stephanie Duncan 
Glenn William Griggs 
Samuel M. Gonzales 
Charles Raymond Gibson Jr.

W76-2 Modification Team 
Pete C. Pittman 
Petr Volegov 
Karen Kelley 
Robert Baran Jr. 
Kevin Buechele 
Justin Scott 
Andrew Marshall 
Candace Joggerst


Top 20 Government Employer
CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine
Equal Opportunity Magazine 
Minority Engineer Magazine 
STEM Workforce Diversity Magazine 
Woman Engineer Magazine

Best of the Best: Top Government & Law Enforcement Agencies
Black EOE Journal  
HISPANIC Network Magazine 
Professional Woman’s Magazine

American Society of Mechanical Engineers: Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) Certification 

SAP (formerly System Analysis Program Development): SAP Innovation Award

U.S. Department of Labor: HIRE Vets Medallion Award - Gold 

Family Friendly New Mexico: Family Friendly Business Award 

InHerSight: 20 Best Research Companies to Work For - For Women 

The Food Depot: Corporate Lifetime Giving Award


Clearance Processing Team 
Lorna Salazar 
Tracy Baros 
Patricia B (Patty) Duran 
Celina Huerta 
Deborah A. (Deb) Martinez 
Jenny Caroline (Jenni) Martinez 
Michelle R Motelet 
Amanda Vialpando 
Jaclyn Valdez 
Louella M Williams 
Juliana C Martinez 
Alexandria M Ortiz 
Brianna Archuleta 
Ashtyn Megariz 
Bryan Nichols 
Johnny L Valdez 
Christina M Unzueta 
Karen Elizabeth (Karrie) Williams 
Carlos Baca 
Juan Sandoval 
Katlyn Terp 
Estevan G Valdez 
Jordan Pinkerton 
Alexandria Ferrell 
Sabrina Garcia 
David Gonzales 
Shaleen N Lujan 
Hannah Sanchez 
Lauren Guillen 
Jose Lopez 
Ryan Martinez 
Claudia Rosacker 
Rachael A Maestas 
KyuHee Kerry Lee Bussod 
Chad Robert Dragan 
Brandon N Saiz 
Anthony J Rael 
Magdalena Chavez 
Frank Lucero

Design and Development of Biodegradable Plastics for Packaging Applications 
Kwan Lee 
Nevin Gupta 
Jihyeon Kim

410 HE Waste Stream Evaluation 
David Villareal 
Manuel E. (Manny) Chavez  
Jun Gao 
Christopher Campbell  
Bethany Sprinkle 
Christopher (Joe) Johansen 

Anode Heel Recycling: Removal of Gallium through Pyrochemical Methods 
Aaron Tondreau 
Francisca (Fran) Rocha 
Bonnie Klamm 
Nickolas Anderson 
Taylor Fetrow

Breaking the Cycle of Plastic Pollution: Engineered Enzymes to Breakdown Plastics
Taraka T. Dale 
Hau Nguyen 
Ramesh Kumar Jha 
Shounak Banerjee 
Sang-Min Shin 
Thomas Groseclose

Closed Cycle Helium System For Current and Future Capabilities 
Benjamin Stein 
Samuel Greer

McDowell Site Cleanup 
Armando E. (Mando) Montoya 
Douglas Dross 
Patrick Valdez 
Randall Romero 
Patrick Torres 
Samuel Martinez 
Justin Walker  
Antonio Baca 
Arthur Gonzales 
Adam Woodcox 
Joseph Boyet

HPCwire: People to Watch
Candace Culhane

New Mexico State University: Distinguished Alumni Award
James Carter Owen 

Southwest Science Writers Association: Best of the Southwest Writing Award
Brenda K. Fleming 
Whitney Spivey

Southwest Science Writers Association: Long Form Writing Award 
Eleanor Hutterer 

Southwest Science Writers Association: Multimedia Science Communication Award 
Jonathan (Weston) Phippen

Southwest Science Writers Association: Short Form Writing Award and Word Tree Award for Excellence in Science Writing (University Division) 
Jacob (Jake) Bartman

California Institute of Technology: Distinguished Alumni Award
Bette Korber

Battelle: Inventor of the Year
Troy Semelsberger



Each year the Laboratory recognizes individual employees or groups of employees who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding scientific, technical, operational, and/or administrative contributions in support of the Laboratory’s mission.



Before 2021, few scientists in the Chemistry Division’s Inorganic Isotope and Actinide Chemistry Group (C-IIAC) performed research associated with high-temperature ionic liquids. Having built an outstanding record of excellence in research and project management, Marisa Monreal (C-IIAC) spearheaded unprecedented growth in such research, specifically by targeting deliverables that benefited both the Laboratory and external corporate partners. 

The resultant research portfolio established a successful molten-salt research team, one that now includes more than a dozen researchers (staff members, postdocs and students) and at least as many partnerships with outside collaborators. The collaborators include Kairos, Terrapower, University of Utah, University of California–Berkeley, NASA, and Idaho National Laboratory. Many of these collaborations began as Laboratory-Directed Research and Development projects but then grew, with the collaborators investing in the personnel and infrastructure associated with the newly formed molten-salt research team. These investments amounted to more than one million dollars annually, with Monreal continuing to grow the program even further.

Under Monreal’s dedicated guidance, the new molten-salt research team conducts investigations into the synthesis and characterization of molten salts. Applications for such salts include pyrochemical processing, electrochemical coatings and molten-salt reactors. Not only did Monreal ensure this team’s success, she also laid the groundwork to establish the Laboratory as a national center for liquid chloride and fluoride research. Monreal’s dedicated worth ethic and tireless drive have ensured that the molten-salt research team will continue to thrive well into the future.

In 2021, Lori A. Pritchett-Sheats of Primary Physics (XTD-PRI) revolutionized how the Laboratory — going forward — conducts primary design. Harnessing her extensive background in physics and computing, Pritchett-Sheats developed the best design tool her colleagues had ever seen.

To develop this tool, Pritchett-Sheats first synthesized the capabilities, ideas and needs of a disparate variety of design physicists and their associated programs. She then meticulously planned the tool so that it met all significant requirements, using Python — a transparent, best practice, and well-documented tool — as the foundation for her new design tool. Not satisfied with merely meeting the needs of users, Pritchett-Sheats augmented the tool with capabilities that users were likely not aware of but soon would come to rely on heavily. Once the tool was ready, she took it “on the road,” demonstrating the tool’s effectiveness to interested parties via lectures, online tutorials and one-on-one interactions. It was no surprise that users quickly learned that the new design tool was easy to learn, use, customize and expand, thus ensuring an extraordinarily quick and favorable response from the user community. 

Pritchett-Sheats’ new tool for primary design serves as profound step forward in performing such design at the Laboratory. Moreover, because creativity builds on creativity, her design tool now serves as a new foundation upon which multitudes of future primary-design innovation will be built.


Small Teams

Randy Ammons, James Caruthers, Alex Macdonell, Rick Montoya, and Mickey Varela

Until recently, Laboratory employees accidently exposed to a hazardous chemical or material were in for a difficult time as medical personnel attempted to treat them. In most cases, doctors relied on the employee’s own knowledge of the chemical hazards in their environment, which meant that they often treated such cases with either incomplete or erroneous information.

To resolve this sometimes life-threatening issue, six Laboratory subject-matter experts in early 2021 formed the FRACAS (First Responders' hAzardous Chemical Alerting System) Project Team. This team developed FRACAS, a software system designed to access several independent data-management systems that specify building-specific hazards at the Laboratory. Such hazards are sorted by categories organized by the National Fire Protection Association, which is dedicated to minimizing serious injury or death from of a variety of hazards, including chemical or material exposure.

An easy-to-use software system, FRACAS enables a physician to access quickly an employee’s Technical Area and building number. FRACAS then automatically creates a report that identifies the hazards specific to that area. Medical personnel can download this report and assess the possibly exposed employee by comparing his or her symptoms to the likely source found in the report.

Operational since December 2021, FRACAS now provides personnel in Occupational Medicine with a complete, real-time listing of the hazards contained in any Technical Area and building at the Laboratory. Thus, health-care professionals now have the information to help personnel make quick and accurate diagnoses and identify appropriate treatments quickly and effectively.

The Device Evaluation Team’s resultant test reports and precise recommendations played a critical role for decision makers tasked in determining the types of equipment needed to prioritize deployment of devices for immediate operational use. Such decisions would not have been possible without such quick, accurate and detailed testing by the Device Evaluation Team.

Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Rajan Gupta, Emanuele Mereghetti, and Boram Yoon

As explained by Rajan Gupta, a member of the Lattice QCD (Quantum Chromodynamics) Team, Lattice QCD is a non-perturbative formulation of QCD, the regnant theory of strong interactions, on a discrete Euclidian space-time grid. Scientists use large-scale simulations of lattice QCD to calculate the contributions of QCD to the properties, decays and interactions of hadrons, which are composed of quarks and gluons. Such work helps researchers search for new physics beyond the standard model of elementary particles and interactions.

In 2021, the Lattice QCD Team achieved three significant results with respect to such scientific work. First, the team produced results associated with axial form vectors. These vectors provide the momentum-dependent couple of the neutrino to nucleons, which are necessary to analyzing accelerator neutrino experiments, particularly the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, an international collaboration made up of more than 200 institutions across 30 counties. 

Second, the team resolved a decade-old tension in the value of the pion-nucleon sigma-term. This value consists of the fraction of a proton’s mass that comes from the two-up and one-down quarks in the proton, giving it a non-zero but small mass. This consensus larger value is important for all dark matter direct-detection experiments because the probability of detection increases as the square of this quantity.

And third, the team contributed to a possible miniscule interaction in nature that violates time-reversal symmetry. Known as the E>-term, this interaction takes place on the neutron electric dipole moment (nEDM). Experiments worldwide are looking for a non-zero value of the nEDM, including the most ambitious experiment underway at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which would signal physics beyond the highly successful standard model of elementary particles. Such work puts constraints on possible beyond standard model theories, the holy grail of particle physics.

Noah Birge, Hermann Geppert-Kleinrath, Verena Geppert-Kleinrath, Yongho Kim, Kevin Meaney, and Carl Wilde

For more than 60 years, scientists around the world have worked to understand and control nuclear fusion — such understanding could one day enable humanity to harness the vast amounts of energy released when nuclei in fuel come together. Thermonuclear fusion represents a scientific grand challenge at the Laboratory because sustained nuclear fusion requires extreme conditions typically only found in the core of stars or detonated nuclear weapons. But achieving nuclear fusion in another way is possible, and the National Ignition Facility Burning Plasma Diagnostics Team was formed to contribute toward achieving this goal.

On August 8, 2021, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) performed a record fusion-yield experiment, one that for the first time achieved conditions at the threshold of ignition, thereby opening a completely novel regime in the realm of plasma physics. The National Ignition Facility Burning Plasma Diagnostics Team measured critical parameters of the NIF experiments to confirm the sustained fusion reaction result. This teams innovative diagnostic advances helped transition fusion research to realize the “doorstep of ignition” — the point at which a fusion reaction generates more energy than it received.

The team’s collaborative endeavors over the years have yielded continuous experimental design improvements driven by challenging long-held beliefs previously based only on theory. The demonstrated ability of these team members to create and diagnose such a unique and challenging plasma state is a reminder of our nation’s nuclear deterrent and one that has far-reaching impact.

Brian Cain, Andrew Gordon, Kent Hettinga, Hsing Liu, and Sara Sacks

Many Laboratory employees have likely submitted a document or presentation for review so that they can release it externally. Launched in 2013, the Laboratory’s Review and Approval System for Scientific and Technical Information (RASSTI) provides a streamlined and systematized review and release of Scientific and Technical Information (STI) while concurrently providing long-term retention, control, discovery and access. 

To develop a similar system to simplify a review and approval process for publications associated with classified STI, a small team of collaborators came together in 2021. This team consisted of members from Research Library (SRO-RL), National Security Research Center Mission Support (WRS-NSRCMS) and Classified Systems Service (XIT-CSS). The team built and deployed a Red RASSTI system, which represents an eye-opening improvement to what had previously been a disaggregated, paper-driven process. Now electronic, Red RASSTI provides a more efficient and timely review of classified information.

To develop this new system, the team conducted outreach, refined use cases and secured approvals, a process that required significant liaison work. Outreach played a significant role in providing a user-friendly tool, so the team consulted extensively with scientists across the Weapons Directorate and organizations including the Office of Classification, Weapons Research Services, Document Control and Records Management and the UK Program Office. It also depended upon technical support and reviews from Classified Systems Service, Network and Infrastructure Engineering and the Office of the Chief Information Officer. 

Thanks to these tireless efforts, the Laboratory now has a Red RASSTI system that is well socialized across the classified realm, easy to use and responsive to stakeholder needs.

Eric Brosha, Cortney Kreller, Edward Lum, Steve Simmonds, and Mahlon Wilson

It took two years of preparation but on August 26, 2021, the SuperCell Hydrogen Fuel Cell Team conducted a groundbreaking experiment on a novel device known as a SuperCell by using the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at Sandia National Laboratories. A miniature hydrogen fuel cell stack, the SuperCell successfully produced the required amount of power for approximately 32 minutes, with 26 minutes of that time taking place after the stack received a radioactive pulse from the ACRR. This pulse consisted of a high dose of radiation designed to test if the SuperCell’s power would remain steady after exposure. The first-of-a-kind experiment also enabled the team to determine how radiation would affect the SuperCell’s overall performance.

The team performed in situ measurements of the individual cell voltages, as well as total stack power, throughout the test. The results indicate that there were no changes either during or after the test. This was the first time that a working hydrogen fuel cell underwent testing inside the ACRR — moreover, no hydrogen fuel cell had ever been exposed to radiation of this magnitude. 

In addition to validating stack performance, the team continuously monitored temperature of the important electrode layers during irradiation. Such validation showed nuclear heating levels much less than predicted by modeling. Moreover, in another first, comparison of measurements of the electrolyte (proton) conductivity taken before and in situ immediately after radiation exposure, using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy methods, showed no appreciable change in the proton-conducting characteristics of the stack’s cells caused by the radiation.

The success of this team’s advanced research stands to open new avenues and experimental capabilities for the Laboratory. The team’s work has also resulted in a paradigm shift on how scientists and engineers will implement power sources for future applications important to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Ian Fleming, Marc Klasky, Ted Mockler, Brad Wescott, and Trevor Wilcox

In 2021, the TTMA-V (Tier Threat Modeling Archive-Validation) Campaign One Closeout Team completed closeout efforts that successfully demonstrated a new Context of Use (COU) for an Advanced Simulation and Computing tool used in applications associated with the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Sponsors for this work were the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. 

The team’s work during 2021 yielded numerous achievements, key among them designing and analyzing seven integrated experiments at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, with five taking place at the Laboratory’s DARHT (Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test) Facility. Other achievements included validating a predictive capability in highly three-dimensional configurations that represent complex multi-phenomenological interactions, implementing a national and international collaboration with Tri-Lab and Mutual Defense Agreement partners, training new scientists and fully documenting the campaign assessments and findings for the National Emergency Response mission portfolio.

Thanks to the tireless dedication of this team, personnel are currently briefing TTMA-V Closeout One results to stakeholders and are integrating them into relevant training for Nuclear Emergency Support Team responders. Moreover, the results of this team’s work will contribute to the development of operational metrics and risk assessments for national response forces in support of National Security Presidential Memorandum 36.

Daniel Cox, Ray Guffee, Mark Marr-Lyon, Daniel Mendoza, Gregory Redman, and Gregory Weiss

In 2021, the W88 Alt 370 Drop Tower Team successfully completed the W88 Alt 370 Drop Tower test, which ensured the readiness of the Drop Tower’s capabilities. Despite challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the team completed the tower and facility upgrades one month early and under budget. 

Crews built the tower at the “Meenie/Bravo” firing site. Because this site had not been used or maintained since 2005, the team coordinated significant repairs and upgrades to the site to accommodate the new tower and return the site to service. Such work included repairing and upgrading a bunker on the firing site. 

In April 2021, the team first used the tower to test the response of a mock 88 warhead containing live explosives. The team designed the test to simulate an accidental drop scenario, one that successfully demonstrated that the explosives would not inadvertently react from an accidental drop. The new drop tower played a pivotal part in enabling the team to assess weapons safety and thus deliver a crucial stockpile test just in time to support modernization efforts for the W88 Alt 370. Moreover, this new tower re-established a critical capability to assess safety performance for weapons in the future.

CJ Bacino, Ellen Borup, John Conlon, Kent Foster, Leah Sanchez, and Rebecca Schwarzkoph

When Triad National Security, LLC, assumed the contract to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, leadership quickly learned that the Laboratory’s growth meant that physical space was incapable of meeting near- and long-term needs. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed how many organizations, including the Laboratory, performed work. Senior leadership decided that the time was right to pilot alternative work plans, including a telework program for appropriate employees. Not only would teleworking enable work during the pandemic, it also could help resolve the issue of limited space during future growth spurts.

In October 2020, the Work Locations Team implemented a pilot to determine the long-term feasibility of a telework plan. The team developed telework policies and procedures specific to teleworking employees. Once the pilot was implemented, the team collected data to determine the effectiveness of telework in terms of productivity, safety, security and well-being. In September 2021, the team reported the pilot demonstrated that teleworking constituted a viable work strategy. Thus, the team set out to transform the Work Locations policy so that it address telework options.

To meet the needs of the future, the Work Locations Team developed a more robust work-Locations policy, one that took into consideration onsite, hybrid, telework and remote Work options, all of which were codified in policy, procedures, guidance tools, websites, training and communications. The team completed all this work in just three months to meet the needs of the Laboratory as the pandemic eased.

Because of the work performed by the Work Locations Team, the Laboratory now has a way to ensure that Laboratory growth can continue within a limited footprint by expanding how the workforce gets work done without losses in productivity, performance or safety/security.


Stacy Baker, Jennifer Cline, Jonathan Creel, Linda Deck, Emily Schmidt, and Paul Ziomek

Spearheaded by Linda Deck of the Bradbury Science Museum, in 2021 the Challenge Tomorrow team designed and put into motion a traveling educational outreach and public engagement initiative. Known as Challenge Tomorrow, this innovative approach to science and educational outreach brings science to the people via an interactive “lab-on-wheels” experience, thanks to two themed trailers. These trailers, dubbed Discovery and Mission Ops, will travel throughout New Mexico, visiting schools, fairs and recruitment events. 

Aboard these trailers are Laboratory employees who serve as science ambassadors. These ambassadors cover various scientific disciplines, all associated with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Although all audiences are welcomed, the trailers and the science ambassadors are keen to reach out to students interested in STEM, as well as in educating the public about the variety of work taking place at the Laboratory. The target range for this initiative is students in grades six through twelve.

Made up of individuals with skills that range from educational outreach and graphic design to subject-matter experts in various sciences, the Challenge Tomorrow Team faced numerous challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges ranged from supply-chain issues and materials shortages to physical distancing and work restrictions. Overcoming these and other challenges, the team safely delivered a first-of-its-kind concept that hit the road in December 2021.

Randy Ammons, James Caruthers, Alex Macdonell, Rick Montoya, and Mickey Varela

In April 2021, the Laboratory received a call requesting immediate assistance in testing equipment designed to fill a gap in national capability. With just two weeks of advance notice, the Laboratory formed a Device Evaluation Team, which was given little time to prepare for a test campaign designed to evaluate more than 35 devices.

Faced with the fast pace of events and ever-evolving requirements, the team quickly adapted to these needs in real time, working not as individuals but as a collective to ensure every angle of the campaign was covered from start to finish. Putting on hold other programmatic efforts, team members performed six consecutive weeks of testing. Thanks to this team’s tireless dedication, every single device from across the United States Government underwent testing at the Laboratory to ensure it was suitable to meet an urgent need.

The Device Evaluation Team’s resultant test reports and precise recommendations played a critical role for decision makers tasked in determining the types of equipment needed to prioritize deployment of devices for immediate operational use. Such decisions would not have been possible without such quick, accurate and detailed testing by the Device Evaluation Team.

Large Teams

Team: Eric Anderson, Tariq Aslam, Geoff W. Brown, Malcolm Burns, Ritchie Chicas, Carlos Chiquete, Dana Dattelbaum, Larry H. Hill, Scott Jackson, Matthew Price, Mark Short, Christopher Ticknor and Stephen Voelkel.

The largest component of the nation’s stockpile consists of the insensitive high explosive known as PBX 9502. Insensitive high explosives are designed to withstand stimuli so that they do not go off in situations like severe accidents. 

In the past, PBX 9502 depended on a Kel-F 800 binder manufactured by 3M. In 2006, 3M stopped manufacturing Kel-F, leading to concerns about the replacement product material, particularly in how it could affect the behavior of the other materials that make up PBX 9502. To address this issue, the Insensitive High Explosive Requalification Team conducted a concerted effort to manufacture a PBX 9502 equivalent using modern manufacturing processes. For the next 10 years, this team worked to requalify the high explosive to alieve concerns. 

In 2021, the team demonstrated that its approach demonstrated the equivalence of the new PBX 9502 lot with the historical gold-standard lot. This work qualified the new PBX 9502 lot so that it can be used to conduct physics experiments the Laboratory. Moreover, this work provides parameterized models to the weapons design community. Because of this milestone completion, the Laboratory plans to release this new lot, known at Lot 001, to the general user base at Los Alamos.


Team: Brian Adkison, Kevin Andrews, Kelsey Arcocha, Brandon Atencio, Isaac Atencio, David Ballard, Scott Baily, Walter Barkley, Jason Burkhart, Ross Capon, Mike Duran, Alexander Hill, Eric Holgerson, Nate Kollarik, Robin Lachapelle, Brian Moore, Ellen O’Brien, Jim O’Hara, Lauren Overbay, Mario Pacheco, Thomas Palmer, Michael Parrent, Kiko Rael, Dave Reass, Brandon Roller, Manuel Soliz, Etienne Vermeulen, Jim Walker and Heath Watkins.

In 2021, the Isotope Production Facility (IPF) Push-Pull Target-Loading Team replaced the target delivery system for the IPF. On May 14, 2021, the team completed all work, thus enabling the facility to resume its production of radioisotopes when LANSCE (Los Alamos Neutron Science Center) started beam delivery in June 2021. The radioisotopes produced at the IPF benefit medical personnel who rely on them to perform nonintrusive medical imaging. 

To revamp IPF’s delivery system, the team overcame numerous challenges, among them working in a radioactive environment, removing and disposing of radioactive waste and installing the novel push-pull remotely actuated target delivery system in time to support IPF’s isotope production cycle for calendar year 2021. The redesigned target-control system provides improved functionality while reducing the risk of system failure. Other benefits include improved remote-control capability and greater feedback to the operations team regarding target placement during beam operations. Such enhancements improve radioisotope production to meet the needs of the members of the medical community and their patients.


Team: Karteek Bejagam (no longer with the Lab), Shounak Banerjee, Rami Batrice, Taraka Dale, Joseph Dumont, Cesar Raul Gonzalez Esquer, Marcos Hernandez, Carl Iverson, Michael Janicke, Lindsey Jacobs, Jessica Lalonde, Kwan-Soo Lee, Babetta Marrone, Kevin Gupta (no longer with the Lab), Ghanshyam Pilania, Shawn Starkenburg, Nilusha Sudasinghe Appuhamilage, James Theiler and Thomas Yoshida.

The objective of the BioManufacturing with Intelligent Adaptive Control (BioManIAC) Large Team is to help solve the global problem of proliferating plastic contaminating the environment. To solve this problem, the team is developing a new generate on and of biopolymers that are synthesized by algae, have enhanced performance characteristics compared to earlier biopolymer products and degrade faster when in the environment than conventional plastics made from petroleum. 

The teams approach has been to accelerate the design and development of these new biopolymer materials by applying machine-learning models. Using the BioManIAC approach, scientists enable machine learning to form a predictive understanding of the polymer chemical structure-function relationships. Such understanding ties polymer chemistry to performance of the polymer for a given application, such as packaging, medical or agricultural applications. 

Made up of multiple disciplines that range from biologists and chemists to data scientists and physicists, the BioManIAC Large Team has made significant progress in eliminating plastic waste while providing consumers with sustainably sourced products. Such environmentally friendly plastics could mitigate the proliferation of plastics pollution and help alleviate the detrimental impact of climate change.


Team: Cameron Bates, Michael Fensin, Jaime Gomez, Michael McCumber, John Lestone, Donald Sandoval, Matthew Snowball, Chris Tomkins, Cetin Unal and Gary Wall.

The CBISE Blind Study Team in 2021 developed and validated two independent methodologies to determine a key primary performance parameter derived from subcritical experiment data collected at the U1a Complex, an underground laboratory located at the Nevada National Security Site. The team used two simulated data sets to yield impressively accurate relative and absolute performance values. Team members also provided a justification for the current ECSE (Enhanced Capabilities for Subcritical Experiments) data-acquisition strategy. The team’s resultant techniques will become key elements of the tools personnel use to certify current and future stockpiles.


Team: Kelly Aldritch, Jennifer Alwin, Gabrielle Ambrosio, Kelsey Amundson, Leah Berman, Brian Bluhm, Paul Blumberg, James Bunsen, Jon Bridgewater, Theresa Cutler, Jerry George, Joetta Goda, Travis Grove, Arnold Harper, David Hayes, Stanley Hoffman, Jesson Hutchinson, Peter Jaegers, David Kimball, Noah Kleedtke, Robert Little, Christopher Lopez, Alex Lynn, Justin Martin, Tom Mclaughlin, Isaac Michaud, Daniel Pelstein, Nicholas Rench, Christopher Romero, Alicia Salazar-Crockett, Ray Sartor, Travis Smith, Nicholas Thompson, Kenneth Valdez, Dung Vu, Jessie Walker, Laura Worl, Nicholas Wynne, Suzzanne Young and Sue Ziehm.

In December 2021, Laboratory researchers conducted a Chlorine Worth Study critical experiment at the National Criticality Experiments Research Center. The results of this experiment provided experimental validation of the neutronic behavior of chlorine in aqueous systems. With such validation, researchers working in the Laboratory’s Plutonium Facility can safely raise criticality safety limits for aqueous chloride operations, thereby eliminating a future pinch point for pit production operations. 

The Chlorine Worth Study serves as the first demonstration of innovative optimization principles developed under the ARCHIMEDES reserve project under the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program. The team that carried out this work demonstrated tireless dedication, effective teamwork and outstanding communication methods that made this project successful in an efficient timeframe. This work is a classic example of bringing together broad scientific, computational and experimental personnel and capabilities to bear on optimizing key processes designed to support the Laboratory’s production mission.


Team: Charles Bacino, Tracy Baros, Brent Butler, Bruce Baca, Kelley Boorman, Jessica Childers, Megan Delano, Catherine Gebin, Cynthia Gonzales, Victoria Graham, Denise Jaramillo, Phillip Kruger, Jennifer Lucero, Rachael Maestas, Brian Martinez, Deborah Martinez, Julia Martinez, Nicole Mattson, Cynthia Miera-Gray, Johnna Montoya, Melinda Olswang, Sara Pasqualoni, Kathryn Pettijohn, Rekha Pillai, Anthony Rael, Christopher Reynolds, Benita Romero, Claudia Rosacker, Leah Sanchez, Julian Sandoval, Darren Schnedler, Christy Swanson and Thomas Vigil.

In just two months during 2021, the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Personnel Support Team (consisting of members from Security, Legal, Occupational Medicine, Payroll, Employee Operations Center, Operations, Human Resources, Property, IT and Communications) formed, developed a strategy, planned, built and implemented a vaccine mandate, as announced by Laboratory Director Thom Mason. The team then continued to play a supporting role to keep the Laboratory workforce healthy while enabling them to meet key mission deliverables during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To ensure all logistics and deadlines stipulated in the mandate were met, the team worked countless hours to iron out the multitude of details to ensure they were analyzed, planned and delivered. Operations play an important part in the Laboratory’s mission, and this team exemplifies the core values of how operations support the Laboratory when tasked with a complex and challenging mandate.


Team: Evan Anderson, Clausen Bjorn, Don Brown, Randy Burson, Timothy Byers, Carl Cady, Conor Emberley, Brian Esquibel, Saryu Fensin, Joe Anthony Florez, Bo Folks, Robert Forsyth, Paul Gibbs, Matthew Goodyear, Andres Gonzales, Brian Hawley, Joel Heidemann, Larry Hull, Swenson Hunter, Seth Imhoff, Ted Keppner, Gabrielle Kral, Kara Luitjohan, Isaac Martinez, Andrew Marshall, Michaela McKamey, Ryan Mier, Cody Miller, Phillip Miller, JD Montalvo, Carl Osborn, Jose Olivas, Kimberly Olivas, Charles Payne, Greg Poling, Sean Raybon, Austin Regier, Jeff Robison, Garry Sandoval, Raymond Sandoval, Keagan Schultz, John Scott, Casey Shoemaker, Eunice Solis, Sam Sprow, Justin Thibodeaux, Chris Tomkins, Garrett Tousley, Leroy Towles, Anthony Toya, Victor Vargas, Chastity Vigil, Jeff Vigil, Kevin Wabick, William Winter, Jason Wohlberg and Suzannah Wood.

Near-net-shape casting has played an important role for the Laboratory’s materials community. To make advances in casting, the Laboratory’s Sigma Division assembled a multi-division (Associate Level Directorate Physical Science, Sigma Division, Materials Science and Technology, Associate Level Directorate Weapons Production-Prototype Fabrication, Weapons Physics, Theoretical Design, Dynamic Experiments and Engineering Technology and Design) and multi-laboratory (Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories) team to develop a Direct Cast Team. This team worked to achieve a multi-year goal supported by a variety of programmatic interests. 

In 2021, this team achieved multiple advancements. Of these advancements, two in particular stand out as exceptional, given their concurrent nature: (1) a level 1 milestone that demonstrated physics qualification and (2) official progression to TRL 6. Developing and implementing new technologies for the National Nuclear Security Administration do not progress without significant effort, careful planning and exacting execution. This past year, this team produced a level of throughput that superseded all reasonable expectations, in part because the team implemented major parallel efforts in perfect synchronicity, despite capabilities being pushed to their limits in an environment in which continued pandemic-related restrictions and complications from COVID-19 caused daily disruptions.


Team: Bethany Brooks Bouman, Bradly James Cooke, Melvin George Duran II, Richard Russell Dutch, Jenniffer Marie Estrada Lupianez, Katherine Chiyoko Frame, Tracy Michelle Gambill, Randy Griego, Markus Peter Hehlen, Ryan Lee Hemphill, Raimund Heribert Herberg, Brandon Dean Hill, Mitchell Poole Hoffmann, Gabriel Montgomery Holesinger, Rowan Philip Jansens, Kimberly K. Katko, Laura Kohler, Gregory Keith Lee, John Paul (JP) Martinez, Kevin Peter Mccabe, Justine Michael McGlown, Susan Marie Mendel, Hannah Dornath Mohr, Earl William Moore, Heidi Linette Morning, Susan Nava, Donathan James Ortega, John Parrack Jr., Edwin S. Phillips, Dean A. Prichard, Jeremiah Joseph Rushton, Patricia E. Saavedra, Claira Lyrae Safi, Henrik Jan Sandin, James Daniel Sedillo, James Frederick Sheldon, Paul Steven Stein, Kasidit Kwan Subsomboon, Erica Abra Sillivan, Claire Marie Ticknor, Justin Leonard Tripp, Andres J. Valdez, Vernon Joseph Vigil, Justin Michael Walters, Christian Radcliffe Ward, Adam Warniment, James Wren and Carol Jean Zulauf.

Funded by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC) office, the overall objective of this project is to provide a new, space-borne tool for warfighter situational awareness. Specifically, this tool would provide tactical and actionable information to execute long-range precision targeting of adversarial systems. 

In a first-of-its-kind demonstration, the Gunsmoke-J Team used a tiny 3U satellite to provide low-latency, tactical data to operators. The Gunsmoke-J satellites and ground stations serve as the next generation of an earlier Laboratory-developed 1.5U CubeSat, which was used for this concept demonstration. The latest versions of Gunsmoke-J feature major upgrades and new technologies, along with a new and highly capable radiofrequency detection payload. 

In 2021, the Gunsmoke-J Team launched three CubeSat missions, successfully demonstrating detection capability from Low-Earth Orbit by using a distributed network of customized and dedicated ground stations. The Gunsmoke-J Team not only demonstrated a new tool that benefits USASMDC, the team members also laid the foundation for a rapidly expanding Agile Space program at the Laboratory that supports various external organizations.


Team: Michael Adkins, Ryan Anteau, Kenneth Archuleta, Vincent Bauer, Maria Bersabe Smith, Mickael Beyrouthy, Shelton Bitsui, Jayson Blanchard, Heather Blumer, Julian Bojorquez, Paul Casaus, Jesse Chavez, Raeanne Clabeaux, Richard Cottrill, Amanda Craig, George Dial, Paul Dombach, Mary Durren, Lloyd Ferran, Jonathan Fragua, Joseph Garcis, Paul O. Gurule, James Haas, Miguel Herrera, John Howard, Jackson Igondou, Joseph J. Lopez, Michael A. Lopez, Joseph Maes, Richard Maestas, Ricardo Marti-Arbona Heriberto Martinez, Jeremy Martinez, Joseph Martinez, Julian Martinez, Raymond Martinez, Lauren Massengill, Michael McEahern, Anthony Matthew Mondragon, Gregory Morgan, Robert Ortega, Daniel Osorio-Aguero, George Randell, Scott Richardson,Lisa Robinson, Harrison Romine, Paul Ronquillo, Henry Roybal, Fernando Sanchez, Jonathan Sandoval, Mario Sandoval, Daphne Schleft, Delbert Serrano, Katherine Serrano, Myra Stafford, Natasha Stanisic, Alexandru Stoica, Damien Sundby, Miguel Sustaita Cisneros, Joseph Vincent Trujillo, Lorenzo Trujillo, Michael Trujillo, Tristian Trujillo, Ella Twary, Johnny Urioste, Belinda Vasquez, Juan Valez, Jeffrey Valdo, Dianne Wilburn, Sylvia Williams, Levi Wilson, Tyler Zollinger and Endre Zsigmond.

In 2019, improper responses to Low Oxygen Monitor Alarm caused serious life-threatening near misses. To address this safety problem, the Laboratory, collaborating with DOE and the Office of Enforcement, made sweeping changes to the oxygen monitor and alarm policy, as well as procedures and emergency response and training for such alarms. 

Per the updated policy, in 2019 the Los Alamos Oxygen Monitor and Alarm Installation Pilot Team carried out a component of this policy, completing in November 2021 the installation of 14 oxygen alarm systems with horns and strobes. Collaborating with personnel from three associate lab directorates and seven divisions in the Science and Technology Operations Facility Operations Directorate (STO-FOD), the team created a standard approach to install oxygen alarms. The team also helped seven other FODs by providing engineering design templates, sharing best practices for planning and installation and procuring in bulk all components and long-lead materials to minimize schedule time and realize cost savings for these other organizations.


Team: Sherry Auckland, Christine Baker, Todd Bauer, Morgan Biel, Ahbreza Bleux, James Branaman, Valentina Cardona, Jeffrey Chapman, Frank Cocina, Christopher Duncan, Mike Fanning, Alex Feldman, Joey Gonzales, Justin Griffin, Michael Gurley, James Harper, Lorraine Hauschild, Bryan Howard, Crystal Johnson, Mitchael Krueger, Anthony Lucero, Leonard Manzanares, Adam Martinez, Brandon Martinez, James Matzke, Jerry McAlpin, Angela Montoya, Steven Ortiz, Keith Padilla, Leroy Priester, Richard Rasmussen, Robert Semon, Eric Sisneros, Brecque Smith, Charles Streeper, Margaret Sudderth, Joseph (Andy) Tompkins, Jocelyn Warner, Doug Weaver, Curtis Weyerman and Ioana Witkowski.

In January 2019, NNSA’s Office of Radiological Security (NA-212) requested that the Laboratory’s Off-Site Source Recovery Program (OSRP) implement the use of a Type B container that had been under development for the better part of a decade. On May 1, 2021, personnel used the 380-B container for the first recovery, which took place at Albuquerque’s Presbyterian Hospital. 

Observing the recovery were personnel from the Laboratory and the NNSA packaging and transportation office. This initial recovery served as an important step in increasing the throughput of recovering cesium irradiators, one of NA-212’s primary goals. Three years after receiving the initial request, the Laboratory now has in place an efficient, compliant and safe Type B container operations program. Personnel in this program have since recovered and packaged high-activity beta/gamma emitting irradiators nearly every year since. 

The team completed this new recovery effort against a backdrop initiated in 2021, when the OSRP team also removed 882 radioactive sealed sources (71,800Ci) from 63 different domestic and international locations, which exceeded the 600-source removal goal. In 2021, the OSRP team shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant 37 drums containing more than 1,000 disused transuranic sources.


Team: Luiz Bertelli, Sara Dumit, Milan Gadd, Gerald George, Mike Harris, Jeffrey Hoffman, Lisa Hudson, John Klumpp, Stephen LaMont, Zsuzsanna Macsik, Benjamin Naes, Deepesh Poudel, Robert Steiner, Travis Tenner and Kimberly Wurth.

On June 8, 2020, a Laboratory employee suffered inhalation exposure to Pu-238. In response, the Laboratory assembled the Pu-238 Oxide in vitro Lung Dissolution/Particle Size/Dose Assessment Team, which assessed samples collected during the incident to refine dose estimates for exposed workers. 

Made up of experts in plutonium material science, internal dosimetry, radiochemistry and microscopy, the team quickly designed experiments to determine the particle-size distribution and in vitro lung dissolution rate of the Pu-238 released during the incident. Team members then used this newly collected empirical data to generate internal dosimetry models. The team deemed this approach more defensible than using previously published data for Pu-238, given the Pu-238 produced at the Laboratory might have its own unique chemical and physical attributes and thus behave differently in the lung than previously studied forms of Pu-238. 

The team’s quick and efficient production of the necessary experimental data and resultant models produced defensible dose limits for exposed workers, giving these individuals peace of mind and enabling them to return to work without risk of exceeding administrative dose limits.


Team: Fabian Atencio, James Vance Byerly, Matthew Douglass Crall, Kelsey Joanna Denissen, Nicholas Allen Denissen, Steven David Dobson, Melvin George Duran II, Janette Rose Frigo, Tracy Michelle Gambill, Angus Steward Guider, Christopher Eric Hamilton, Matthew Lee Handley, Markus Peter Hehlen, Ryan Lee Hemphill, Raimund Heribert Herberg, Brandon Dean Hill, Mitchell Poole Hoffmann, Gabriel Montgomery Holesinger, Stephen L. Judd, Kimberly K. Katko, Gayle Marie Kestell, Laura L. Kohler, Gregory Keith Lee, Matthew Nicholson Lee, Stacy Maestas, John Paul (JP) Martinez, Justin Michael McGlown, Heidi Linette Morning, Brooke Nikole Tiller Mosley, Donathan James Ortega, Nicholas George Pappafotis, Zackery R. Parker, Dean A. Prichard, Jacob Daniel Riglin, Jeremiah Joseph Rushton, Patricia E. Saavedra, Rebecca Holmes Sandoval, Benjamin Fritz Schilling, James Daniel Sedillo, Daniel Nathan Seitz, Paul Steven Stein, Kasidit Kwan Subsomboon, Erica Abra Sullivan, Matthew Taylor Tucker, Andres J. Valdez, Ethan M. Walker, Justin Michael Walters, Adam Warniment and Carol Jean Zulauf.

In just 15 months, the Responsive Development Experiment (ReDX-1) Team achieved the nearly impossible by executing an ambitious, first-of-its-kind suborbital flight test, from “clean sheet” to spaceflight. In so doing, the team met all deliverables stipulated on an already aggressive schedule, as well as remaining on budget. 

On August 11, 2021, the team watched as the flight vehicle was launched aboard a commercial UP Aerospace rocket, lifting off from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. One deployed, the vehicle autonomously recorded data during its atmospheric reentry and then precision-crashed at White Sands Missile Range, where it was recovered mostly intact. The received telemetry data enabled personnel to reconstruct the vehicle attitude throughout flight and provided valuable information on thermal and mechanical environments during flight. 

These results were made possible only by the extraordinary, dedicated efforts of the interdisciplinary ReDX-1 team, working as a lean, collaborative unit during the added complications and stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team developed new technology, implemented innovative processes and found creative solutions to challenge after challenge over the course of the project. Because of the team’s tireless dedication, the resultant technology has placed the Laboratory at the forefront of innovation within the DOE laboratories, the state of New Mexico and the aerospace community.


Team: Paul Berger, Matt Bowyer, Rob Briscoe, Elizabeth Brug, Jacqueline Bustamante, Jimmy Caraker, Aaron Carr, Lisa Colletti, Paul DeBurgomaster, Frank Dickson, Scott Downing, Gus Dozhier, Karen Duran-Suazo, Melissa Espinosa, David Fox, Ryan Fulcher, Jasmine Garcia, Tom Garcia, Denise Gelston, Jeff Goettee, Mark Gonzales, Jessica Hebert, Terry Holesinger, Stacy Howze, Matt Janish, Alex Jaureguiberry, Jesse Johnson, Dylan Klundt, Kim Landry, Gary Lauten, Tim Leckbee, Orlando Lopez, Tammy Lopez, Janet Lovato, James Maner, Marki Martinez, Patrick Martinez, Minnie Martinez, Kattathu Mathew, John Matonic, Stephen McNeel, Adam Montoya, Sam Montoya, Mary Morse, Leila Naranjo, Kellen Nelson, Journey Nolan, Gregg Padilla, Kim Page, Robin Pekar, Adam Phelan, Donivan Porterfield, Darren Quintana, Eric Quintana, Kara Ragucci, Mike Ramos, Jung Rim, Eric Romero, Lisa Salerno-Bush, Dana Sandoval, Michael Schappert, Katheryn Schroeder, Jessica Singleton, Scott Sterkel, Paul Tobash, Julie Trujillo, Judy Vialpando, Marty Vialpando, Sandra Villa, Nicole Voight, Cristina Weber, Steven Willson, Christopher Worley, Miller Wylie and Xu Ning.

Approximately eight years ago, Laboratory personnel outfitted 10,000 square feet of radiological laboratory space located on the first floor of RLUOB, the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building. The equipment in this space was designed to enable the transfer of analytical chemistry and materials characterization capabilities from the existing Chemistry and Metallurgy Research facility. 

This newly outfitted floor in the RLUOB supports the scope of the emerging pit-production mission to resupply the aging nuclear stockpile with new components, as well as providing continued support on the current pit-surveillance missions. In 2021, the RLUOB Equipment Installation Phase 2 (REI2) Transition to Operations (TTO) Team completed all deliverables to outfit the first floor of the RLUOB. Tasks included installing equipment, conducting operational testing and ensuring the authorization for radiological operations so that personnel can conduct programmatic equipment testing with plutonium to validate equipment and processes to demonstrate equivalent analysis quality. 

Although the team faced unprecedented operational restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the REI2 TTO Team successfully transitioned operations from a line-item construction project to facility and programmatic groups — they achieved this goal two months ahead of schedule and more than $124 million under the project budget of $633 million.


Team: Jimmy Anaya, Jason Apperson, Shae Archuleta, Nick Archuleta, Leischen Bauke, Max Benally, Stephen Boyd, Joe Candelaria, Meldon Chinana, Christopher Rodriguez, Chance Collins, Martin Davis, Tyrell Davis, Juan Dominguez, Matthew Donovan, Timothy Donovan, Keenan Dotson, Linda Drew, Jesse Garcia, Julio Garcia, Zeke Garcia, Denise Gelston, Andrea Gerber, Elbert Gonzales, Luis Gonzales, Jorge Guerra, Victor Hernandez, Stacy Howze, Jason Kemp, David Lattin, Travis Lim, Edward Lucero, Cheyenne Maestas, Sam Maestas, Ricardo Marioni, Joseph Marquez, Levi Martinez, Paul Martinez, Stephen McNeel, Tintia Oliver, Julian Ortiz, Robert Palacio, Eric Quintana, Eddie Ramirez, Jesus Ramirez, Adam Rodriguez, Eric Romero, Jacob Romero, Jay Salazar-King, Alvy Samayoa, Mark Sandoval, Jay Sawicki, Bill Schwettmann, Greg Shino, Stein Sorbye, Jim Streit, Bob Swatek, Kristina Taber, Rowland Tessier, Chris Thornton, Chris Tolleson, Daniel Torrez, Louis Torrez, Hernando Trujillo, Julie Trujillo, Tristan Trujillo, Jim Tsiagkouris, Daniel Valdez, Cody Vasquez, Javier Vega, Benito Vigil, Joan Vonharders and Amy Wong.

In 2021, the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building (RLUOB) Fire Protection Deficiency Repair Team lived up to its title by identifying numerous defects in the fire-rated construction of the facility. Personnel has not previously identified these defects during the RLUOB’s initial testing and commissioning. 

The team developed and implemented a plan to correct these defects, placing a priority on faults that posed a life-safety concern in the building’s stairwells. Not only were such defects noncompliant with DOE Orders/Standards and industry codes/standards, they presented significant if not potentially life-threatening hazards to employees inside RLUOB. The team corrected all defects in RLUOB, thus improving the facility’s safety posture and returning it to compliance. 

All work was conducted without any disruption to critical national security deadlines and plutonium mission deliverables. Despite facing and overcoming challenges associated with correcting such deficiencies, the team completed all repairs in half of the estimated time and with significant cost savings.


Team: Danny Alcazar, Jennifer Alwin, Madison Andrews, Stephen Andrews, Cameron Bates, Roy Baty, David Becker, Stephen Becker, Jennifer Berger, Arthur Bishop, Dan Borovina, Eric Brown, Kevin Buescher, Margaret Burgess, Craig Carmer, Alan Carr, Baolian Cheng, David L. Clark, Steven Clark, Adam Coleman, Mark Croce, Scott Crockett, William Dearholt, Nicholas Denissen, Brenda Fleming, Franz Friebert, James Gattiker, Jeff Goettee, Travis Grove, Susan Hanson, Diana Hollis, Andrew Hoover, Jesson Hutchinson, Philip Hypes, Jeremy Inglis, Peter Jaegers, Robert Kimpland, William Kinman, Katrina Koehler, Stosh Kozimor, John Paul Lestone, Nicholas Lewis, Peter Marcy, Annie Marquez, Joseph Martz, Thomas Mason, Alex McSpaden, Daniel Meininger, Louise Mendius, David Mercer, Jeffrey Miller, Veronika Mocko, John Moore, Luis Morales, Jonathan Morgan Nathaniel Morgan, Andrew Nelson, Warren Oldham, Anthony Pollington, Scott Ramsey, Sean Reilly, Michael Rising, Rene Sanchez, Joe Schmidt, Hugh Selby, Erik Shores, Avneet Sood, Whitney Spivey, Laurie Triplett, Wiel Scott Vander, Christopher Waidmann, Allison Wende, David Woodfin and Nicholas Wynne.

The Trinity test — the world’s first atomic blast, which occurred on July 16, 1945 — ushered in the Atomic Age. As Los Alamos physicist Robert Wilson explained in 1947, the test was “for a specific military purpose. It will be gratifying to all those who participated in the work when it takes its more proper place as a contribution to the general structure of scientific knowledge.” 

More than seven decades later, Wilson’s prediction has come to fruition — the Trinity Papers represent the most in-depth analysis ever completed of the Trinity test, at least since the years immediately following the end of World War II. Consisting of 23 open-access, unclassified papers, totaling 460 pages, these papers include never-before-seen information and data that solidify the Laboratory’s place in history and contribute to the history of science, as well as its advancement. 

This painstaking work was published in December 2021 in an issue of the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Technology journal. Moreover, another related 46 papers (550 pages, many of them classified) were published in the May 2021 issue of the Laboratory’s Weapons Review Letters journal. Not only do the Trinity papers archive the history of scientific achievement that led to the Trinity test, these papers also serve as a resource for a younger generation of researchers. And, due to a fair amount of good press, the public also has a renewed appreciation for the scientific impact of the Trinity test.


Team: Troy Childers, Hideyoshi Coe, Nicholas Denissen, Kristoffer Eriksen, Steve Gilbertson, James Gonzales, Larry Hull, Candace Joggerst, David Katonak, Andrew Marshall, Louis Martinez, Phillip Miller, Matthew Montoya, Garrett Peebles, Lori Primas, Leonard Sanchez, Gregg Sullivan, Chris Tomkins, Jessica Thrussell, David Villareal and Suzannah Wood.

In 2021, the W76 Plate Significant Finding Investigation Team performed a series of experiments and complex calculations to verify that a stockpile anomaly would not detrimentally impact safety, performance or reliability. To perform such work, the team fielded new experimental data-acquisition approaches, as well as new ways to estimate 3D effects in calculations. Team members also applied relevant physics codes in new ways. 

Addressing this anomaly required the scientific acumen of experts in engineering, physics, experiments and systems. Such expertise, coupled with tireless dedication, enabled the team to solve a problem with the potential to detrimentally affect various aspects of the W76.


Team: Bridget Archuleta, Saravena Armijo, Faith Benson, Matthew Biss, Michael Blair, Wayne Blair, William Boncher, Susan Brockway-Hahn (retired), Austin Brown, Leif Brown, Anita Carrasco Griego, Gregory Chavez, Ray Christopher, Rick Connor (retired), Paula Crawford, Cynthia Dean, Kelsey Denissen, Cristina Fadner, Oscar Gonzales, Michael Hamada, Laura Inkret, Debra Johnson, Peter Kendall, Adam Kosinski, James Kupferschmidt, Anthony Ladino (retired), Eric Leonard, Duane Lopez, Isaac Maestas, Kristen Margevicius, Francis Martinez, Christina Medina, Daniel Mendoza, Brad Meyer, Matthew Miller, Bradley Mitchell, Todd Mulder, Kathleen Mussack Tamashiro, Anthony Nettleton, Valerie Newman, Gregory Noeninckx, Brian Olsen, Renee Ortiz, Ronald Parker (retired), Michael A. Peters, Clifford Polston, Fernando Quintana, Gregory Redman, Paul Rightley (retired), Crystal Rodarte-Romero, Chris Roybal, Veronica Saeger, Don Sandoval, Benjamin Schilling, Darrell Schmidt, Lani Seaman, James Shipley, Stephen Sintay, Michael Sommers, Casey Spawn, Michael Steinzig, Arlan Swihart, Christopher Tilger, Bruce Trent, Melissa Valerio, Manikantan Velappan, Fabian Vigil, Lorenzo Viramontes, Emily Walker, Douglas Wedman and Benhamin Yeamans.

The team members that made up the W88-0/Mk5 Alteration 370 Design Acceptance effort worked to convince the Nuclear Weapon Council to accept the Alteration (Alt) 370 program as a standard stockpile item. The team ensured the success of this acceptance by completing major milestones not only to secure stockpile acceptance but also to assure the United States Navy and the nation that the Nuclear Security Enterprise is ready and capable of entering full-scale product of the W88-0/Mk5 Alt 370. This team’s success serves as a benchmark that other programs can use to measure success, thus strengthening further the foundation and enabling the NNSA to extend the lifespan and ensure continued confidence in the safety, reliability and effectiveness of the W88-0/Mk5 warhead.

Team: Austin Bentley, Arthur Bishop, Shaquille Brown, Kendra Castle, Natanya Civjan, Howard Coe, Brian Clayton, Cynthia Deschamp, Ethan Frogget, Charles Ferenbaugh, Kris Fronzak, Antonio Garcia, Tamara Hawman, Allen Hopkins, Daniel Judge, David Lockwood, Barry Low, Mercedes Martinez, Coleen Meyer, Don Montoya, Michael Nudelman, Roman Padilla, Lexi Petronis, Leslie Sandoval, Zachary Spangler, Hans Sundquist, Sarah Tasseff, Else Tennessen, Alexa Verardo, Paul Ziomek and Sasha Zivaljevic.

When Triad National Security, LLC, had been at the helm as the operator for Los Alamos National Laboratory for three years, the current Lab logo was 20 years old. So, Communication Arts and Services (CEA-CAS) was asked the following simple question: What could a new logo look like for the Laboratory? The answer seemed rather intuitive, but soon the members of CEA-CAS pointed out that a new, modern logo must be optimized for a digital environment and flexible for numerous media. 

Assembling a team driven by members of CEA-CAS, team members tackled not just a new Lab logo but an overall LANL rebrand, one that ensured one voice for the institution. Once the team developed the primary logo, 32 key players inventoried all channels using the logo, collaborating with stakeholders to update these items. The team then communicated the vision of the rebrand and revamped the Lab’s web toolkit. 

To ensure successful proliferation of the new Lab brand, the team produced Brand Guidance, a style system for the web (leading to better consistency and ease for creating websites), 38 templates (such as business cards, calendars, signage, memos, letterhead and certificates) and 11 stock items, a Director’s video announcement and a recognizable icon that works across social media platforms. The team also created 43 complementary secondary brands (such as for the Bradbury Science Museum and the Research Library) and endorsed brands (such as for LANLToday and LANLBenefits).


Team: Elizabeth Auden, Zachary Baker, Buck Steven, Leonard Burczyk, Richard C De Baca, Chuck Clanton, Quinn Cole, Jonathan Cox, Stephen Craft, Robert Dingler, Wendi Dreesen, George Duan, Richard Dutch, Ken Eack, Thomas Fairbanks, Myles Fitzgerald, Mark Galassi, Mark Garvin, Jeffrey George, Paul Graham, Rober Haaser, Timothy Hamlin, Ryan Hemphill, David Hemsing, Brandon Hill, Shawn Hinzey, Kim Katko, Laura Kohler, Tess Lavezzi Light, Erin Lay, John Layne, Max Light, Ben Lopez, Briana Luceadams, Ramona Maestas, Frank Martinez, Skip McGee, Kristina McKeown, Collin Meierbachtol, Robert Merl, John Michel, Earl Moore, Juan Moreno, Brett Nadler, Susan Nava, Troy Pacheco, Ed Phillips, Heather Quinn, Lupe Romero, Jeremiah Rushton, Patricia Saavedra, Marcus Sanders, Benjamin Sapp, James Sedillo, Xuan-Min Shao, James Sheldon, Dave Smith, Paul Snow, Paul Stein, Steven Storms, Kasidit Subsomboon, Hayley Suitts, Andres Valdez, Jacob Valdez, Marion Vance, Virgil Vernon, Charley Weaver, Mary Wubbena and Carol Zulauf.

In 2021, the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Sensor Development Team completed the design verification and the initial flight-unit production build for the Laboratory’s next-generation “Block IIIF” satellite-borne EMP-sensing payload. The backbone of detecting nuclear detonation around the world for the next several decades, this capability involved an extraordinary effort to test, analyze and verify more than 230 formal requirements to ensure the success of the design verification effort. 

Requirements included challenging environmental standards associated with vibration, shock, thermal, thermal-vacuum and electromagnetic compatibility. Such requirements ensure that it was possible to deploy the capability into the harsh environment of space, as well as making sure that each system in the payload provides continuous and autonomous monitoring for more than a decade of operation. 

The team completed this work in December 2021 by providing a comprehensive onsite Subsystem Verification review to program stakeholders. The team completed the initial EMP IIIF flight article on October 2021, leaving a three-month margin to conduct system-level testing, which began in early 2022. The resultant payload is the first in a planned production cycle of 22 such units hosted on the GPS satellite constellation, with the firs launch scheduled for 2026. Thanks to this Laboratory team, the EMP sensors aboard these payloads will provide a global-monitoring capability that supports the Satellite-based Nuclear Detonation Detection (SNDD) mission beyond the year 2050.


Team: Josh Archuleta, Stephen Baca, Gregory Barna, Aimee Blanchard, Bradley Carpenter, Courtney Clark, Armando Corchado, Christina Davis, Sherlyn DeJesus, Enkeleda Dervishi-Whetham, Miguel Duran, Randall Edwards, Danny Esquibel, Joseph Esquibel, Ariel Flores-Ruiz, Johnathon Fragua, Raymond Gibson, Fernando Gonzales, Timothy Gorey, Allen Gresham, Rafael Gutierrez, Justin Herrera, Daniel Hooks, Romine Horrison, Charles Hoyle, Brent James, Felix Jaramillo, Jordan Jaramillo, Donald Johnson, Curtis Julian, Michelle Lucero, Santiago Lujan, Ramon Maestas, Eric Martinez, James Martinez, Lucas Martinez, Michael McBride, Anthony Milligan, Elario Montoya, Patrick Montoya, Donald Mullally, Patrick Murphy, Manuel Ortiz, Daniel Osorio, Matthew Pana, Juan Perez, Michael Platero, Kyle Powell, Michael Prada, Sean Raybon, Maseal Romero Parra, Raul Roybal, Ron Roybal, Charles Sabisch, Ricky Salazar, Tim Sanchez, Melvin Serrano, Ron Serros, Alex Sisneros, Jamie Stull, Miguel Sustaita, Angel Torresday, Tanner Trujillo, Ed Valdez and Matthew Velasquez.

A robust surface-finishing capability plays a critical role as part of the nuclear security enterprise, a collection of organizations dedicated to the design, production and testing of nuclear weapons. In support of this enterprise, the Laboratory’s Sigma Complex has been home to a large, dedicate space to conduct surface science that supports mission-essential parts production and develops world-class manufacturing methods. After years of service, the Laboratory’s surface-finishing shop was in disrepair. In 2021, the Sigma Plating and Finishing Facility Renovation Team completely revamped the shop, so that it is now capable of meeting the modern needs associated with the enterprise mission. By any standard, this shop remains the only full-scale finishing facility in the Department of Energy. The shop can meet numerous needs, including research for coating development, corrosion and interface effects, and coatings for research hardware. 


Team: Angela M. Anderson, Carlos R. Arguero, Fredric Newell Bolton, Gregory A. Brouillette, Brent H. Cassady, Linda E. Cassidy, David A. Chavez, Georgia M. Chavez, Gregory M. Chavez, Matthew E. Cordova, Charles A. Crane, Johnny T. Devargas, Randy A. Flores, Rose M. Green, Matthew J. Griffin, Mark J. Haines, Leslie A. Herrera, Martin Herrera, Rocky A. Herrera, Jesse Thomas Kyler Hesch, Dylan S. Keeney-Lujan, Benjamin L. Kelsey, Richard J. Keyser, Jeff G. Kinzer, Robert H. Krabill, Brittney D. Lambert, Reina R. LeDoux, Seth R. Lewis, Jane A. Lloyd, Francisco M. Lopez, Herschel M. Martin, April D. Martinez, Jolene J. Martinez, Marissa M. Martinez, Matthew G. Martinez, Marquita T. Mata, Brad A. Meyer, Thomas A. Miera, Jason C. Miller, Gregory J. Noeninckx, Stephen J. Pattinson, Justin A. Porto, Zachary J. Pribyl, James William Watkins Pratt, Tomoko S. Putnam, Alyssa L. Reeves, Camra Ridge, Thomas R. Rivas, DeAnna M. Robinson, Lincoln R. Ross, Elenore A. Salazar, Paul A. Salazar, Andrea L. Salazar-Gallegos, Jake Scarbrough, Eric N. Schmierer, Beverly E. Siqueros, Laura E. Solano, Adam D. St. Clair, Jacob S. Tafoya, Henry G. Talachy Jr., Alissa Tatro, Jennifer Duran Ulibarri, George A. Valdez, Evelena Ornelas Valencia, Earl Vest, Darell N. Vigil, Lorenzo E. Viramontes and Bruce D. Wilkinson

The Gas Transfer Systems (Q-7) group serves as the Design Agency for the Laboratory’s gas transfer systems, including one of the latest configurations for the B-61 Program known as the Alt 941. Alt 941 is part of the B61-12 Life Extension Program, which NNSA directed to be included on bombs during transportation. 

In June 2020, the Laboratory received a tasking memo from NNSA, leaving little time to implement component design, hardware development, procurement and system-level design and implementation procedures to meet the B61-12’s first production unit. Despite the crunched timeframe, Q-7 completed all these activities, with the first production units of the Alt 941s shipped in just 11 months from the original tasking directive. Alt 941 Support Assemblies are unclassified, inexpensive and non-hazardous mock assemblies that replace the real B61-12s during transportation from Pantex to the military’s first destination. Such mock assemblies would not have been possible without the extensive collaboration and technical acumen demonstrated by members of Q-7 and others throughout the nuclear complex. 

Another associated effort carried out by this team involved supporting work to modernize Laboratory warhead systems. As part of this work, the team established and qualified the processes to manufacture the first mark-quality components in the recently commissioned Mark-Quality Manufacturing Center located in the main shops.

Successfully delivering the first mark-quality components for the Alt 941 would not have been possible without this team’s dedicated leadership, effective communication skills, and the ability to collaborate across Laboratory organizations and the NNSA with crucial stakeholders, such as Sandia National Laboratories, Pantex Plant, Savannah River Site and the Kansas City National Security Campus within the DOE complex.


Team: Troy Childers, Andres Cortez, Trey Allen, Dane Coats, Adam Collins, Brandon Crawford, Eric Guiltinan, Michelle Lee, Katherine Leyba, Lorenzo Lovato, Jerome Lucero, Jason Martinez, Louis Martinez, Ryan McCombe, Lia Meirose, Damien Milazzo, Kai Newhouse, Alfred Ogurek, Steve Pemberton, Aaron Rogall, Ethan Rutherford, Ernest Salazar, Paul Salazar, Emily Schultz-Fellenz, Chris Stull, Erika Swanson, Alex Tafoya, Isaiah Valdez, Juan-Antonio Vigil, Marty Vigil, Art Villalobos and Clifton Wright.

In June 2021, the Laboratory’s B61 Systems Engineering (W-1) group, in collaboration with the J Division Nevada Operations (J-NV) group, conducted a series of experiments on a mock (non-nuclear) explosives package of a B61 warhead. Performed at the Nevada National Security Site, this experiment used an innovative technique involving X-rays that enabled the scientists and engineers to capture data on a fragment field with greater detail than ever before. The unprecedented data includes details regarding size, weight and velocity of individual fragments. The innovative process will likely become a new standard when it comes to weapons certification under abnormal conditions.


Team: Jason Anderson, Neliza Leon Brito, Tom Jachimowski, Jon Bridgewater, Miguel A. Santiago Cordoba, Ernesto Gallegos, Mick Greenbank, Troy Holland, Daniel Javernick, Jesse Jelinek, Ryan Kalas, Dan Kathios, Brett Kniss, Sheldon Larson, Joseph Martz, David Moore, Brad Meyer, David Pugmire, Joseph Reynolds, Scott Richmond, Patrick Rodriguez, Roland Schulze, Dane Spearing, Craig Van Pelt, Manikantan Velappan, Jose Velasquez III and Dave Wayne.

In June 2020, scientists observed an anomalous result during a W78 surveillance full-scale test (FST). To understand this anomaly, the Laboratory quickly formed the Homer Project Team. The team consisted of subject-matter experts from various technical divisions, such as Weapon System Engineering, Materials Science and Technology and Weapon Stockpile Modernization, in addition to a sub-team of peer-review senior staff members responsible for providing advisory guidance. 

The team began by quickly assembling historical production data, which team members then analyzed to understand key parameters associated with the test object. The team then used the results to put forth a hypothesis to explain the anomaly. The team then executed two follow-on FSTs to support the validity of the hypothesis. The team designed the second of these two tests to explore failure margins in a way not previously attempted. These two tests not only explained the anomaly, they also improved the quality of data collection and improved how the Laboratory plans to conduct surveillance FSTs from this point forward.