6 PNNL scientists elected 2010 AAAS Fellows
RICHLAND, Wash. ? Six scientists from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their exceptional efforts to advance science and apply it to real-world problems.
The PNNL honorees and the AAAS sections that elected them are: Leonard Bond, engineering; Liem Dang, chemistry; César Izaurralde, atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences; Allan Konopka, biological sciences; Bill Morgan, biological sciences; and Greg Schenter, chemistry. This year’s elections bring a total of 46 PNNL researchers who have been named AAAS fellows.
Bond specializes in developing methods and instruments that use ultrasound, a high-frequency sound that’s inaudible to humans, to examine everything from cells to power plants. Often used to view a fetus inside a pregnant woman’s belly, ultrasound hits an object and bounces back a signal that helps describe the object’s makeup. He also uses computer models to better understand ultrasound wave movement and behavior. Bond currently uses ultrasonics to help inspect both aging nuclear power plants and advanced nuclear reactor systems, but he has also employed it to examine gas pipelines, rocket motors and defense systems, among other applications.
Bond is a PNNL laboratory fellow. He was also the founding director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Idaho National Laboratory. He’s a fellow of the U.K. Institute of Physics and a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Dang develops and uses computer models to study how molecules interact at liquid interfaces. His models specifically focus on the potential for molecules to be polarized, or have slight differences in electric charge, and how that affects molecular behavior at liquid interfaces. Dang and his then-postdoc, Tsun-Mei Chang, developed a widely used and cited chemical model called the Dang-Chang model, which accurately portrays the properties of water-based systems in changing environments. His research helps explain how pollutants react in the atmosphere and how toxic metals are transported across liquid interfaces.
Dang is a member of PNNL’s molecular theory research group and a fellow of the American Physical Society. He’s also an adjunct professor in chemical engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia, and is on the editorial board for the Journal of Physical Chemistry.
Izaurralde researches how carbon and nitrogen cycle within agricultural soil, and how soil, water and plants are affected by human actions and climate change. He has helped develop and improve computer models that examine climate change in agricultural systems and biogeochemical cycles in soil. Izaurralde has also contributed to several climate change assessments and is often asked to provide scientific information regarding climate change to policymakers. His research has advanced scientists’ understanding of soil carbon sequestration as a tool to mitigate climate change and sustainability issues associated with biofuels production.
Izaurralde is a PNNL laboratory fellow at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a collaboration between PNNL and the University of Maryland. He’s a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy and an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland.
Konopka examines the ecology of microbes to understand how they adapt to changes in their habitats, including water and soil that’s either above or below the Earth’s surface. For example, he investigated how cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce sugar polymers to sink so they can access nutrients lower in the water column and then get rid of the polymers to rise and take advantage of the sunlight they need for photosynthesis. He currently studies how microbial communities in below-ground soils affect the movement and chemical form of contaminants like radionuclides at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state.
Konopka is a PNNL laboratory fellow and is an associate director in PNNL’s biological sciences research division. Before joining PNNL, he was a biological sciences professor at Purdue University for 30 years. He’s on the editorial boards of the scientific journals Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Ecology and The ISME Journal.
Morgan’s research focuses on the biological effects of low-dose radiation on human health. He and his PNNL colleagues examine radiation’s effects on humans by using a 3-D skin model. Morgan’s research in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and other fields helps protect people against radiation’s adverse effects.
Morgan directs PNNL’s radiation biology and biophysics low-dose radiation research program. He serves as a scientific representative for several national and international regulatory agencies. Morgan is also a consultant for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. And he’s an adjunct professor at Washington State University Tri-Cities, the University of Washington and the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore.
Schenter develops mathematical models to advance how scientists simulate molecular behavior. He calculates how small, light molecules and atoms move and react in solids and in solution. To do this, he considers the effects of quantum mechanics, a branch of physics. This research is helping build better batteries and alternative fuels. Schenter also developed a theory of how droplets form, or nucleate, that improved on previous theories and is changing the way scientists see cloud formation, fuel cells and more.
Schenter is a PNNL laboratory fellow, as well as a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has been a mentor to many scientists and students at the postdoctoral, doctoral, graduate and undergraduate levels.