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Los Alamos Distinguished Postdoc Fellows

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Meet the Lab's Current Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows

Los Alamos National Laboratory Distinguished Fellows (pdf)

Andrea Albert

Hoffman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Physics Division: Neutron Science and Technology Group (P-23)

Andrea

Education: Ph.D. and M.S in Physics - Ohio State University;
B.S. in Astrophysics and Religious Studies - Rice University.

Research: Andrea is interested in studying the fundamental forces and particles that govern the physical laws of the Universe. In the growing field of particle astrophysics, the entire Universe is our laboratory to study particle interactions in extreme cosmic environments unobtainable in terrestrial labs. Andrea is specifically interested in detecting high-energy gamma rays produced in known non-thermal processes and new exotic mechanisms like particle dark matter interactions. We know 85% of the mass in the Universe is not the baryonic matter that is well-described by the Standard Model of particle physics. Many theoretically- and observationally-motivated models predict that dark matter may be a particle that can annihilate or decay, producing gamma rays that we can detect.

Bio: Andrea's research interests have always included particle detectors and astrophysics. She did her Ph.D. studies with Dr. Brian Winer and Dr. Richard Hughes looking for faint gamma-ray signals from particle dark matter interactions using the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (Fermi). She continued this work as a postdoc at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory where she was promoted to Dark Matter New Physics (DMNP) working group coordinator within the Fermi-LAT Collaboration. Andrea has led collaborative efforts emphasizing close, careful, and critical examination of potential dark matter signals. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", and so far no robust dark matter signals have been seen by the Fermi LAT. Andrea will be working with her mentor Dr. Brenda Dingus on the newly completed HAWC Observatory, which observes gamma rays 100 times more energetic than those seen by Fermi. She will continue as a coordinator within the Fermi-LAT Collaboration while also studying a new high-energy regime with HAWC. Andrea is passionate about science outreach and has shared her excitement for physics with many audiences from elementary school classrooms to public lectures to congressional offices. You can learn more about her outreach efforts at www.physics-andrea.com


Francesco Caravelli

Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Theoretical Division: Physics of Condensed Matter Complex Systems (T-4)

Caravelli

Education: Ph.D. in Physics-University of Waterloo;
M.S. and B.S. in Physics-University of Pisa

Research: Francesco is interested in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and in particular in neuromorphic circuits. He has recently focused on the properties of memristors and their collective behavior. Memristors are 2-port passive devices, which have characteristics similar to a resistance, but exhibit a very nonlinear behavior. Neuromorphic circuits are, in general, interesting for many reasons. These provide in fact a valid alternative to the von Neumann architecture at the classical level (analog computation), in particular in view of the need of building circuits which can serve as brain-computer interface. His interest is in particular in the relaxation properties of the circuits under various conditions (AC or DC controlled), exact solutions and the use of statistical mechanics to understand their asymptotic behavior. In particular, in collaboration with Massimiliano Di Ventra and Fabio L. Traversa he derived an exact equation for the internal memory dynamics of purely memristive circuits. This equation allows to treat the system as a pseudo-spin model. With his mentor at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cristiano Nisoli, he will explore the kinetic behavior of artificial spin ice and its memory features.

Bio: Francesco began studying Quantum Gravity as a PhD student, but moved to Complex Systems after he completed his thesis in “Quantum Pre-Geometry models for Quantum Gravity”. He then got interested in the properties of dynamical graphs and in statistical mechanics. He has a broad range of interests: from percolation phenomena to econophysics and power grids, although always interested in the dynamical aspects. Before arriving at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Francesco has been a postdoc joint between the Santa Fe Institute and OCIAM Oxford with Doyne Farmer, a researcher at UCL with Francesca Medda and a Senior Researcher at Invenia Labs in Cambridge.


Lukasz Cincio

Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Theoretical Division: Physics of Condensed Matter Complex Systems (T-4); Materials Physics Applications Division: Condensed Matter Magnet Science (MPA-CMMS)

Andrea

Education: Ph.D. and MSc in Physics/Astronomy & Applied Computer Science – Jagiellonian University; MSc in Mathematics – Jagiellonian University.

Research: Lukasz Cincio's research interests lie at​​ the interface between Condensed Matter Physics and Quantum Information Theory.​ Lukasz is studying how local interactions between many particles can give rise to large scale, emergent phenomena. In particular, he is interested in topological order, one of the most striking examples of such phenomena in quantum physics. Topological order supports anyons - exotic particles that may become a core ingredient of a revolutionary topological quantum computer. To tackle problems in​ that field, Lukasz is developing numerical algorithms based on tensor networks - a recent breakthrough in computational quantum many-body physics.

Bio: Lukasz is co-mentored by Wojciech Zurek (T-4) and Filip Ronning (MPA-CMMS). During his studies, he was working on strongly correlated systems under the supervision of prof. Jacek Dziarmaga. During his studies, he also cooperated with prof. Wojciech Zurek (Los Alamos National Laboratory) and prof. Maciej Lewenstein (ICFO). Later he joined Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada as a postdoc and worked on numerical algorithms for quantum many-body physics in collaboration with prof. Guifre Vidal. His work included proposing and testing realistic models for an exotic quantum state of matter, called chiral spin liquid. Results of his research have been published in renowned journals.


Stacy Copp

Hoffman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Materials Physics and Applications Division: Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (MPA-CINT)

Andrea

Education: Ph.D. and M.A. in Physics - University of California, Santa Barbara
B.S. in Physics and Mathematics - University of Arizona

Research: Stacy’s research lies at the intersection of soft matter and photonics. Inspired by the elegant and complex systems that biology has evolved to manipulate light, she studies how soft materials can organize and enhance the function of photonic nanomaterials. Currently, her work focuses on the ways that biomimetic polymer membranes arrange light-active nanoparticles and molecules. She is studying self-assembly in composite mixtures of polymers, nanoparticles, and molecules, with the goal of understanding how individual ingredients can be programmed to drive the assembly of novel photonic materials. Stacy’s work takes a data-driven approach to these systems, where complexity often pushes the limits of current physical understanding. She uses tools from machine learning and data mining to “learn” the underlying scientific principles that govern self-assembly and to design new materials with exciting photonic applications.

Bio: Stacy’s research has always focused on light-matter interactions. At the University of Arizona, Stacy studied filamentation in ultrafast laser beams with Pavel Polynkin and Jerome Moloney. During her PhD at UC Santa Barbara with Elisabeth Gwinn, she studied the optical properties of novel photonic materials templated by a biomolecule: fluorescent DNA-stabilized silver clusters. She also developed data-driven methods to predictably design and arrange these clusters on the nanoscale. In 2017, Stacy moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Director’s Postdoc Fellow and then UC President’s Fellow with mentors Gabriel Montaño of MPA-CINT and Atul Parikh of UC Davis, before becoming a Hoffman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow. In addition to her love for studying light-matter interactions in “squishy” systems, Stacy is also excited about sharing her science with the public and inspiring the next generation of researchers through outreach to K-12 and community college students.


Davide Girolami

Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Theoretical Division: Physics of Condensed Matter Complex Systems (T-4); Physics Division: Applied Modern Physics (P-21)

Andrea

Education: Ph.D. in Mathematics - The University of Nottingham;
M.S. and B.S. in Physics - University of Torino

Research: Davide works in quantum information theory. He is interested in developing new methods to control complex quantum networks, the architecture of future quantum technologies. While macroscopic objects are relatively easy to control, atoms and photons demand exquisite techniques. A controller is a gadget that acquires information about a system of interest via measurements. Then, it drives the system into a target configuration by exerting an appropriate force or field. Such interactions usually destroy the fragile properties of a quantum system. When the controller itself is a quantum device, it can establish quantum correlations with the system under scrutiny. A greater amount of information then flows between them, without damaging the system properties. Yet, it is unknown how to control a real-world quantum process, as uncontrollable error sources perturb the system and the controller. By employing correlated quantum controllers, he will conceive protocols to control quantum systems that outperform classical strategies, reducing the cost of quantum information processing.

Bio: Davide is co-mentored by Wojciech Zurek, Lukasz Cincio, and Malcolm Boshier. His PhD thesis was on quantum correlations. He was a postdoc in Singapore, working on quantum metrology. Before arriving at Los Alamos, he held an EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Junior Research Fellowship in Oxford, where he worked on quantum coherence and its interplay with quantum correlations. Davide joined the Lab as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow before becoming an Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow.


Jessica Goodman

Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Theoretical Division: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2)

Jessica Goodman

Education: Ph.D. and M.S. in Physics - University of California, Irvine
B.S. in Physics and Mathematics - University of Arizona

Research: While the Standard Model has been amazingly successful in describing fundamental interactions of particle physics, many questions remain unexplained. The recent discovery of the Higgs particle exacerbates one of these issues: why is the Higgs mass so light? This is known as the hierarchy or fine tuning problem. Additionally, astrophysical data provide us with strong, albeit indirect, evidence for the existence of dark matter. However it is clear that no Standard Model particle can completely fill this role. Jessica’s research interests lie in addressing these and other questions in Beyond the Standard Model Particle Physics.

More specifically, Jessica is currently considering general extensions of the Higgs sector. Quantum field theory tells us that we cannot add a scalar field with arbitrary isospin and hypercharge to the Standard Model. The size of a new Electroweak field is bound by perturbative unitarity. Given this, she is working on constraining the model space of extended Higgs sectors using Electroweak precision observables. This will place general limits on new physics participating in Electroweak symmetry breaking.

Additionally, Jessica is exploring new methods to allow for larger coverage of dark matter model space for collider applications beyond effective operators. The different types of dark matter experiments probe different dark matter-Standard Model interactions; effective operators allow one to translate between these different types of detection. Based on work she did as a graduate student, much experimental collaboration now present their constraints in the language of effective theories. However, it has become increasingly clear that not all effective theories correspond to sensible theories at collider energies; and simplified models are being explored as a way around this breakdown. But, simplified models are non-generic and may rely on assumptions with no physics motivation. By comparing loop to tree completions of effective operators one can gain a better understanding of how inclusive simplified models are.

Background: Jessica did her Ph.D. studies under the guidance of Prof. Yuri Shirman. As a graduate student, she mostly focused on dark matter and models of supersymmetry breaking. Prior to joining the Lab as a Feynman Fellow, Jessica held two postdoc positions. After obtaining her Ph.D., she joined the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics at The Ohio State University as a postdoc working with Prof. Linda Carpenter. Most recently, she worked as a member of the Particle Theory Group in the physics department at Carleton University.


Conrad Goodwin

Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Chemistry Division: Inorganic, Isotope, and Actinide Chemistry

Education:Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemistry – University of Manchester

Research: Conrad works in the area of f-element chemistry, focusing on electronic structure, new oxidation states, and oxidation state/structure/bonding interrelations. Specifically, he is interested in exploring structure/oxidation state relationships in metal-ligand covalency, and how these factors perturb f-element properties such as magnetic response and optical phenomena. The discovery of new oxidation states throughout the f-block in recent years has opened up a new and unexplored regime where our fundamental knowledge is almost completely absent; the nature of the metal-ligand interaction, and electronic structures are not fully understood yet. Tied into this is the concept of covalency, which describes ligand-bonding throughout the periodic table, however our current knowledge of f–element and in particular trans-uranic covalency is sparse. The elucidation of this information along with how oxidation state affects these properties is a fundamental synthetic, computational and experimental challenge, and will greatly add to our understanding of these technologically relevant elements.


Ari Le

Feynman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
X Computational Physics Division: Plasma Theory and Applications (XCP-6)

Ari Le, Feynman Postdoctoral Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Physics - Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
BA in Physics, French, and Math - Brown University.

Research: Ari’s main research focus involves plasma kinetic effects, processes that occur on small scales outside the scope of typical fluid models. His computational work has applications to space plasmas and laboratory experiments, including those on inertial confinement fusion.

Bio: Ari is co-mentored by Bill Daughton, Andrei Simakov, and Tom Kwan. His doctoral research, performed under the direction of Prof. Jan Egedal, focused on magnetic reconnection, which heats and accelerates plasmas in a variety of space and astrophysical systems. He spent two years as a postdoc in the space plasma simulation group at UCSD, as well as half a year as a NASA-funded research scientist at the Space Science Institute. He joined the Lab in 2015 as a Director's Postdoc Fellow prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment. His current research interests include kinetic simulations, magnetic reconnection, inertial fusion, and plasma shocks and turbulence.​

Bio: Conrad Goodwin received his Ph.D. under Dr. David Mills. His thesis focused on the use of novel bis(silylamide) ligands, {N(SiR3)2}– for the synthesis of extremely low coordination number f-block complexes, and the study of the electronic structures of these complexes. A major sub-theme of his work to date has been on the synthesis of designer f-block Single Molecule Magnets (SMMs), single molecules that can act as tiny bar magnets. The culmination of this work was the synthesis of a Dy(III) complex that functions as a magnet at 60 K, a world record and the closest yet to functioning at liquid nitrogen temperature (77 K). In 2018 he received the Dalton Emerging Researcher award from the RSC, as well as a School of Chemistry Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Manchester. In 2018, he joined LANL as a Distinguished Postdoc Fellow to work with Dr. Andrew Gaunt.


Duff Neill

Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Theoretical Division: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2)

duff neill picture by pond

Education: Ph.D. in Physics - Carnegie Mellon University;
B.A. in Physics - University of Chicago.

Research: Duff's research focuses on understanding the behavior of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) in high energy collisions, such as found at the Large Hadron Collider or the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. He develops methods to resume the perturbation series that describes the scattering processes at the shortest distances in these collisions, enabling precise predictions for experiments, as well as developing ways to describe how non-perturbative contributions can be captured by universal functions measurable in many different experiments. Moreover, he is always on the lookout for interesting effective field theories in diverse physics contexts.

Bio: After completing his PhD, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Physics Department as a Pappalardo Fellow, a self-directed research fellowship. In 2016, he joined the Lab as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow, before becoming a Distinguished Feynman Postdoctoral Fellow.


Ivan Popov

Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Theoretical Division: Physics and Chemistry of Materials (T-1) and Center for Non-linear Studies (T-CNLS)

Education: Ph.D. in Chemistry - Utah State University
M.S. and B.S. in Physical Chemistry – Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia.

Ivan Popov

Research: Ivan’s research involves accurate quantum mechanical calculations of electronic properties, chemical bonding interactions, and spectroscopic signatures of actinide and transition-metal containing compounds. He is currently working on the computational prediction of novel redox flow cells for large-scale energy storage that are critical for the deployment of power grids with significant renewable energy. Specifically, Ivan’s work is focused on the development of design principles needed for the discovery of novel electrolytes with higher energy density storage characteristics. The proposed complexes and their electrochemical properties will be chemically and spectroscopically verified by the experimental groups in the Materials Physics and Applications (MPA) and Chemistry (C) Divisions at LANL.

Bio: Ivan received his Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Alexander I. Boldyrev. His Ph.D. research focused on the rationalization of the structure, stability, and development of chemical bonding models for various exotic molecules and solid-state materials, including gas-phase clusters produced in a molecular beam (e.g. CoB16- cluster with 16 coordinate metal atom), condensed-phase cryptand salts (e.g. aromatic [Au2Sb16]4- cluster) as well as unique periodically extended materials exhibiting unprecedented structures and unconventional chemical bonding patterns (e.g. hexacoordinate Cu2Si monolayer, high-pressure Na2He compound). In 2017, Ivan joined the Lab as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow before becoming an Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow. He is co-mentored by Ping Yang (T-1) and Enrique Batista (T-CNLS). For more information, access Ivan's Google Scholar page.


Andrey Sadofyev

Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Theoretical Division: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2)

Andrey Sadofyev

Education: Ph.D. in Physics - MIT;
M.S. and B.S. in Physics – Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Research: Andrey is interested in dynamics of quark-gluon plasma (QGP): a novel state of matter produced in experiments on heavy ion collisions. Currently, his work is focused on non-perturbative phenomena and strongly coupled dynamics in quantum chromodynamics at finite temperatures and densities. In particular, Andrey’s research relies on the rapidly developing tool of holographic duality, which relates higher-dimensional gravity and a strongly coupled gauge theory in one lower dimension.  Combining various approaches, this research provides theoretical insights helping to understand the details of QGP behavior that is seen in experiments.

Bio: Andrey started his scientific research as an undergraduate under the supervision of Valentine I. Zakharov at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Moscow. He then completed his Ph.D. studies under the guidance of Krishna Rajagopal.


Samantha Schrell

Hoffman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Chemistry Division: Inorganic, Isotope, and Actinide Chemistry (C-IIAC)

Samantha Schrell

Education: Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry-Florida State University;
B.S. in Chemistry-Ithaca College.

Research: Samantha is currently working in area of actinide chemistry. Specifically she is interested in exploring how to control covalency in actinide-ligand bonding. Covalency is a fundamental concept in chemistry used to describe chemical bonding in s-, p-, d-, and f-block elements. Many studies indicate that covalency is closely correlated with the chemical and physical properties for with many d-block transition metal complexes. Whether the f-block elements engage in covalent bonding has been heavily debated for decades. Unraveling the nature of covalent bonding for actinides remains a computational and experimental challenge. These efforts can directly impact actinide separations, coordination chemistry, solid-state synthesis, and superconductivity.

Bio: Samantha Schrell (formally Samantha Cary) received her Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt. Her thesis focused on studying the structure and bonding of late actinide systems. During this time Schrell developed proficiency in handling large (mg scale) quantities of Np, Pu, Am, Cm, Bk, and Cf in support of the coordination chemistry studies associated with her thesis. In 2015 she received the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy for her work with californium. In 2016, she joined the lab as an Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellow, before becoming a Hoffman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow.


Daniel Trugman

Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Earth and Environmental Science Division: Geophysics (EES-17); Theoretical Division: Physics and Chemistry of Materials (T-1)

Andrea

Education: Ph.D. and M.S. in Earth Sciences / Geophysics - Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
B.S. in Geophysics - Stanford

Research: Daniel’s research applies machine learning techniques to tackle challenging problems in the solid earth sciences, with a particular emphasis on understanding earthquake source processes and quantifying seismic hazard. Current projects at Los Alamos National Laboratory include data-driven analyses of the waveform features radiated during the initial rupture process of large earthquakes, and imaging of failure stresses and stress transfer from human-triggered earthquakes that occur during industrial mining operations.

Bio: Daniel is co-mentored by Paul Johnson (EES-17), Andrew Delorey (EES-17), and Kipton Barros (T-1). He was born and raised in Los Alamos, and began work at the lab as a high school summer student in the Materials Physics and Applications (MPA) division. Daniel studied Geophysics as an undergraduate student, and returned to the Laboratory for one year as post-baccalaureate researcher in EES-17. Daniel’s Ph.D. research was advised by Peter Shearer, and spanned a broad range of problems in observational seismology.


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