Los Alamos scientists selected as American Chemical Society Fellows
- Nancy Ambrosiano
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Chamberlin and Porterfield named ACS Fellows
LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Aug. 7, 2014—Rebecca Chamberlin and Donivan Porterfield, both of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Actinide Analytical Chemistry group, have been selected as a 2014 Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
An inorganic chemist and radiochemist, Chamberlin is currently the co-principal investigator for development of novel microreactor-based systems for plutonium process chemistry and one-step extraction and separation of rare earths at the Laboratory. She is also managing the startup of newly constructed nuclear material analysis laboratories in the Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building.
In addition to her scientific role, Chamberlin has been serving as a program manager for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation research and development since 2008. In this position, she oversees R&D initiatives intended to improve the United States’ capabilities for detection and characterization of worldwide nuclear proliferation.
“I’m so pleased that the American Chemical Society acknowledges the important contributions that Laboratory chemists are making to national security,” Chamberlin said. “This has been a rewarding career path, and I am honored to be recognized by the ACS.”
Chamberlin started her career at the Laboratory in 1993 as a director’s Postdoctoral Fellow after receiving her doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from Cornell University. In 2010, she was recognized with a Los Alamos National Laboratory STAR Award for her mentoring and professional accomplishments. Chamberlin has also received a Distinguished Performance Award at Los Alamos and four Defense Program Awards of Excellence.
Chamberlin served the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division of the ACS in various leadership capacities for 11 years, including one term as the National Meetings Program Chair and two terms as Treasurer. At Los Alamos, she has served on the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund advisory committee for five years and has mentored students, postdocs, scientists and engineers at all levels.
Porterfield is a radiochemist engaged in research and development and analytical services supporting stockpile stewardship and nuclear forensics and nonproliferation. His work also includes plutonium heat source fabrication for deep space exploration and national security applications, nuclear material safeguards, radiobioassay, environmental monitoring and more.
He contributes significantly to the Laboratory’s nuclear forensics mission, where his work involves development and qualification of radioanalytical methods for plutonium and other actinides. Porterfield has also assisted in developing numerous American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards related to the nuclear fuel cycle and to water quality standards. He received the Max Hecht Award, the Harlan J. Anderson Award and the Standards Development award, which are three major ASTM awards, and was made a fellow of the ASTM for his service.
“While such recognition focuses on the individual, such is only possible in an environment of cooperation and collaboration that the Laboratory and organizations such as the American Chemical Society both encourage and nurture; a little bit of hard work doesn’t hurt either,” Porterfield said.
In addition to his technical skills, Porterfield has held numerous positions within the ACS, including serving as chair of the Central New Mexico Local Section and as a member of the ACS Leadership Advisory Board. His commitment to chemistry is reflected in his work with chemistry education and outreach. He has supported, coordinated and staffed countless outreach efforts on behalf of chemistry and science. He has supported K-12 science education in northern New Mexico, and he created an ACS local section affiliate member category for K–12 teachers. This initiative, and similar efforts in other local sections, led the Division of Chemical Education to develop a national program that provides similar benefits to teachers across the nation.
At the Laboratory, Porterfield has won two Distinguished Performance awards, the Distinguished Mentor Award and a Pollution Prevention Award. He received a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas-Austin in 1990 and began working at the Laboratory in 1997.
The ACS fellows program began in 2009 as a way to recognize and honor ACS members for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession and ACS. The selection of Fellows is highly prestigious with only one to two percent of the ACS membership selected. It reflects not only scientific excellence, but also the diverse contributions made by ACS members. Currently membership stands at about 161,000.
In 2014, 99 ACS members were selected as fellows. ACS Fellows are recognized and honored at fall ACS National Meetings.
Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWXT Government Group, and URS, an AECOM company, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.