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John Lazarz: Senior Federal Program Manager for Ground-based Nuclear Detonation Detection at the NNSA Heading link


John Lazarz is a CDAC alum now working at NNSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. John was a member of Academic Partner Steven Jacobsen’s research group at Northwestern University and studied for his Ph.D. thesis the effects of water on the structure of Earth’s transition zone through high-pressure experiments. He was also deeply involved in instrument development for high-pressure diffraction and ultrasonic interferometry and published widely as a graduate and undergraduate student.

As a CDAC-supported student, he also interned at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a Post Doc in the Shock and Detonation Physics group, where he used spectroscopy techniques such as Brillouin spectroscopy and impulse stimulated thermal scattering to study the optical and thermoelastic characteristics of high explosives and their analog materials such as acetaminophen.

Following a postdoc in the Shock and Detonation physics group at LANL, John currently serves as the Senior Federal Program Manager for Ground-based Nuclear Detonation Detection in the Office of Nuclear Detonation Detection at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D). In this position, he directs research and development efforts at the DOE/NNSA national laboratories to improve U.S. capabilities to detect, locate, and identify underground nuclear explosions at regional and teleseismic distances. John’s current research interests include seismic, infrasound, and hydroacoustic waveform modeling and simulation as well as atmospheric radionuclide emissions as signatures of underground nuclear explosions.

Among John’s papers is a study of pressure-induced phase transitions ichain silicates using single-crystal X-ray diffraction at HPCAT. He discovered that the pyroxene-group mineral clinoenstatite (Mg2Si2O6) undergoes a second phase transition from its high-pressure form above 6 GPa to a new structure above 45 GPa with edge-sharing Mg-octahedra [Lazarz, J. D., et al., High-pressure phase transitions of clinoenstatite.  American Mineralogist 104, 897-904 (2019)].


Katie Hilleke joins the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester Heading link


CDAC Postdoctoral Researcher Katie Hilleke, from the group of Academic Partner Eva Zurek at the University at Buffalo, has recently taken a position as an Assistant Scientist in Computational/Theoretical High Energy Density Physics at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester. She will use her experience in the use of density-functional electronic structure methods to develop exchange-correlation functionals and computational software for orbital-free density functional theory.

Katie recieved her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019 and as a CDAC postdoctoral researcher, she worked on developing theoretical methods for addressing problems in high pressure chemistry, particularly in the area of structure and bonding. Collaborating with Tadashi Ogitsu at LLNL, Katie identified many novel boron structures that could exist at high pressures, which has provided guidelines for future high pressure experiments, both static and dynamic. Her work on elucidating the role of chemical pressure in stabilizing the metal hydride clathrate structures has contributed to the understanding of the superconducting behavior of these materials.

Katie also contributed to a new release of the XtalOpt evolutionary algorithm for structure prediction, and has made important contributions to the scientific literature with several comprehensive reviews, which have brought new chemical perspectives to the field of high pressure research.

The CDAC community wishes Katie continued success with her research in her new position, and offers its thanks for her many contributions to the Center.  Congratulations, Katie!

Course on Equations of State at the University of Pavia Heading link


For the academic year 2023/2024 within the PhD course in Earth sciences of the University of Pavia, Prof. Ross J. Angel and Prof. Matteo Alvaro will hold the course entitled “Equations of State”. The course is designed for PhD and Master’s degree students in Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering. Postdocs and Young Researchers are welcome. Here are some details.

First lesson: 24 October 2023

Duration: semester (24 lessons of 90 minutes normally held twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday)

Procedure: entirely online (zoom platform)

Credits: 11 ECTS (CFU) after passing the in-course tests and the final exam

Course language: English

Cost: Free

Pre-registration: mandatory by October 15th

Further info

Workshop Announcement -- The Capabilities of the New HEX Beamline at NSLS-II Heading link


Save the date! We are pleased to announce a workshop on The Capabilities of the New HEX Beamline at NSLS-II. This workshop will be held onsite at Brookhaven National Laboratory on October 24, 2023.

The High Energy Engineering X-ray Scattering (HEX) beamline at NSLS-II will be open to general users in January 2024. HEX will be a versatile beamline designed to advance research in energy storage, energy conversion, and materials engineering. The instrument will offer high-energy X-ray diffraction and imaging with a monochromatic or white beam to enable the study of atomic structures under working conditions and in real time. The beamline is located at port 27-ID and utilizes a superconducting wiggler as its source for the most intense high-energy X-rays at NSLS-II. HEX construction is supported by New York State, through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Prior to going into user operation, we are holding a one-day workshop to educate potential users about the capabilities of the new HEX beamline. We invite attendees from the fields of renewable energy and materials engineering to come together to hear about the available techniques and scientific potential of the beamline. Attendees will learn about the state-of-the art capabilities that HEX adds to the NSLS-II portfolio, and we will discuss options for future needs including instrumentation, sample environments, and data analysis. The workshop will teach potential users about the capabilities of the beamline, and it will help HEX staff to prioritize scientific commissioning activities before user operations begin early next year.

For the best educational experience, the workshop will be limited to 30 participants.

Important Dates:

  • August 18: Registration opens
  • September 1: Deadline to register in Guest Information System (onsite access approval)
  • September 1: Registration closes

Additional information coming soon. Workshop is currently pending final DOE approval.

Workshop Announcement -- Uncertainty and Error Analysis Across Scales Heading link


This first-of-its-kind workshop, sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, is organized by Elif Ertekin (U. Illinois), Giulia Galli (U. Chicago), and Ali Sayir (AFOSR). This workshop will be held at the Basic Research Innovation Collaboration Center (BRICC) on June 8-9, 2023 in Arlington, VA.

This workshop, “Systematic Analysis of Errors and Uncertainty Across Scales from Materials Modeling & Discovery to Manufacturing” will promote a vigorous discussion of the need, challenges, and opportunities for quantifying errors and uncertainty in areas of modeling that are key to materials discovery, manufacture, and deployment

There is funding available to support the participation of students (undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at institutions in the United States or Canada) to attend the workshop, especially students coming from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines – please contact via e-mail Elif Ertekin ( for inquiries.

For program, more information, and registration:

Register for the 2023 High Energy Density Science Summer School Heading link


This 2-week summer school will promote scholastic development through technical lectures given by field experts as well as professional development sessions aimed at early-career researchers in HEDS fields of study.

Registration is now open!  The deadline to register and to submit supporting materials is May 1, 2023.

The school will take place in person at UC San Diego, July 17-28, 2023.

The goal of the Summer School is to introduce new talent to the breadth of the U.S. High Energy Density Science (HEDS) community through lectures, engaging workshops, and discussion sessions with leaders in academia and the national laboratories. The objectives are to inspire young scientists to pursue graduate and professional careers in the fields of high energy density science, teach them fundamental HED science and critical skills, and grant them the opportunity to network with leading academic and national laboratory researchers. Our focus is to attract promising early-career students from across the country.

This will be the sixth time the Summer School is held in person at UC San Diego, and the third time its duration is extended to two weeks with added hands-on experiences. In 2021, the program was hosted by UC San Diego and held online.

School will consist of classroom-based teaching and tutorial workshops. Students will be encouraged to practice code modeling under the guidance of topic experts. The lecture format will cover HEDS fundamentals, multidisciplinary links, and state-of-the-art science.


Call for DC Field and Pulsed Field Facility magnet time requests at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Heading link


The next round of magnet time for the DC Field and Pulsed Field Facility at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
will be May 15, 2023 to September 17, 2023. Please submit your magnet time requests by March 17, 2023.

The 2023 User Summer School will be held the week of May 15. For further information and application instructions available here.

The MagLab will be at the APS March Meeting in Las Vegas. Please stop by and see us at Booth 900 in the Exhibit Hall.

Please contact Tim Murphy ( or Renee Luallen ( for DC Field Facility questions or Ross McDonald ( or John Singleton ( for Pulsed Field Facility questions.


Scottish Universities Summer School in Physics 78: High Pressure Summer School in Edinburgh Heading link


SUSSP 78 will be on the theme of high-pressure research and be held at the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions at the University of Edinburgh. The summer school will take place from the 18th – 23rd of July 2023, immediately prior to the Joint AIRAPT and EHPRG International Conference on High Pressure Science and Technology.

The Conference website can now be found here.

The School is aimed at young researchers, and experimentalists wanting a grounding in theory and vice versa. We anticipate this being a face-to-face school only. We will be hosting some short workshops at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre during the AIRAPT/EHPRG, to promote collaborations and connections between early career and more senior researchers.

It is a unique platform exclusively for early-career researchers to strengthen their background on high pressure physics while exchange ideas, and to discuss cutting-edge ideas.

Registration is open until 30th of April 2023, but spaces are limited, and early application is recommended. Students are expected to contribute with a poster presentation, while some posters will be invited will be invited to provide a short (~5 minute) presentation of their work. The school will offer 20 ECTS credits for participants.

Limited financial support is available for selected candidates. To apply, please send a brief summary of your intended poster contribution and motivation to attend the school, along with a letter of support from your supervisor, to


CDAC welcomes Ibo Matthews to Center Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC) Heading link


We are thrilled to have Manyalibo “Ibo” Matthews join the Center Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC). Matthews will make an excellent contribution to the committee’s mission of reviewing long-range planning, scientific direction, and overall management of the CDAC.

Matthews leads the Materials Science Division (MSD) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where he oversees more than 500 staff. The division is organized into 18 scientific capability groups, who together execute research projects representing more than $250M in annual investments to support LLNL missions. The division’s research includes energetic, optical, and quantum materials, as well as ceramics, actinides, and materials for energy applications and extreme environments.


APS Meeting on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter 2023 Heading link


The 23rd Biennial American Physical Society (APS) Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (SCCM) Conference will be held June 18-23, 2023, at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The organizers are planning an in-person meeting with some components that would be available for virtual participation. While the overall theme of the conference is shock compression, for this 23rd conference, the list of topics for the meeting has been expanded to include static compression. The meeting will also feature many speakers from the various user facilities where both static and dynamic compression experiments are performed. There will be 18 technical topics -– detailed descriptions of the topical sessions are provided on the meeting website here.

Abstracts are due on February 10, 2023 and are welcome from APS members and non-members alike. Submit an abstract here.

There will be an Early Career Symposium on Sunday June 18, 2023 which is open to students, post-docs, and early-career researchers who have completed their PhDs within the last 5 years.

Abstracts for the early career symposium may be submitted through a separate Google form to be available soon at SCCM23. Abstracts are also due February 10, and travel funding will be available for a select number of applicants. Please email Belinda Pacheco ( for additional information.


William Shaw: Staff Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Heading link


William Shaw received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and was a member of the research group of CDAC Academic Partner Dana Dlott. Will’s work focused on the development of tabletop shock compression experiments and the design of experiments for understanding chemical processes taking place under shock compression. Will joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and has been a Staff Scientist at LLNL since 2019.

Currently, Will is Deputy Group Leader within the Reaction Dynamics Group and carries out experiments as part of the Energetic Materials Center at LLNL. His research interests focus on material aging, compatibility, and performance of initiation train components. This includes the development of energetic formulations, accelerated aging capabilities and test fire diagnostics. Will’s overarching goal is to correlate various non-destructive techniques to elucidate the underlying material and chemical drivers that change material performance for new and existing high explosives.

Read more about Will’s work at LLNL here


Sandia National Laboratories is looking for an experimental high pressure materials physics postdoctoral appointee Heading link

Are you looking for challenging and impactful work that contributes to security, peace and freedom worldwide? Sandia National Laboratories is looking for a dedicated Postdoctoral Appointee to pursue research in materials under extreme conditions! Research will involve the structural and transport characterization of superconducting metal hydrides using diamond anvil cells, and dynamic experiments using pulsed power and hypervelocity guns. Research is conducted within a diverse team with theoretical and experimental expertise in hydride chemistry, physics, and measurements under extreme conditions.

This postdoctoral position is a temporary position for up to one year, which may be renewed at Sandia’s discretion up to five additional years. The PhD must have been conferred within five years prior to employment. Apply Here

CDAC collaborator Eva Zurek named a Fellow of the American Physical Society Heading link


Congratulants to CDAC collaborator Eva Zurek on being named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. a theoretical and computational chemist at the University at Buffalo. Zurek, PhD, is a theoretical and computational chemist at the University at Buffalo.

Zurek, PhD, has been recognized “for the application of forefront computational electronic structure methods to reveal microscopic processes occurring in large molecules and nanostructures, for the design of hydride superconductors, and for related educational innovations in computational science.”

Read the full story here!

CDAC collaborator Danna Freedman named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow Heading link


Congratulants to CDAC collaborator Danna Freedman being named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow.

Danna Freedman is a synthetic inorganic chemist creating novel molecular materials with unique properties directly relevant to quantum information science. Using the tools of synthetic chemistry, Freedman is designing molecules that can act as qubits—the building blocks of quantum systems—in conditions that are more readily achievable than those previously required.

Read the full story here!

CDAC collaborator Richard Kraus wins Neil Ashcroft Award Heading link


Congratulants to CDAC collaborator Richard Kraus for winning the first Neil Ashcroft Award for Studies of Matter at Extreme High Pressure.

This inaugural award was given “For extraordinary achievements and leadership within extreme high-pressure science, including novel measurements on material properties, laboratory constraints on planetary evolution, creation of complete equations of state, and the future of programmatic science.”

Read the full story here!

CDAC Students Featured in Top Story in APS News Heading link


We’re delighted to see the work of two CDAC students: Bethany Chidester and Hannah Bausch featured ‘above the fold’ in the current issue of APS News. Notably their two studies, both conducted at Z, were the featured highlights of SHOCK22 in Annaheim in the article.

Bethany is a former CDAC student from the University of Chicago (and before that CDAC undergraduate summer intern), now a Director’s Fellow at LANL, and Hannah is currently a CDAC graduate student at Northwestern.

Read the full article on the APS Website

CDAC Personnel Chair Sessions, Present Results at the Gordon Conference on Research at High Pressure Heading link


The 2022 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Research at High Pressure, entitled Exploring High Pressure Science at the Extremes Through Experiment and Computation was held on July 17-22 at New Hampshire’s Holderness School. CDAC students and postdoctoral researchers, as well as CDAC faculty and collaborators, were well represented at this event, which was held in-person for the first time since 2019. Established in 1955, this Gordon Conference is one of the longest running meetings in the Gordon Conferences portfolio.

The opening session, Challenges to Our Understanding of Dense Matter, featured a lecture by CDAC Partner Eva Zurek entitled “Predicted Light Element Superconductors Under Pressure.” CDAC Director Russell Hemley (University of Illinois Chicago) chaired the following session on Hydrogen-Rich Systems, and former CDAC postdoctoral researcher Amy (Lazicki) Jenei (Livermore National Laboratory) chaired the session Beyond Earth : Pressure as an Experimental Probe. CDAC collaborator and Beamline Scientist Guoyin Shen from HPCAT chaired the session on New Phenomena at High Density.

Graduate students affiliated with CDAC groups made a number of presentations at the poster session held on July 21, and UIC’s Anmol Lamichhane received one of the conferences’s Best Poster Awards.

The complete schedule is available at :

On July 16-17, immediately preceding the GRC was the Gordon Research Seminar “Research at High Pressure” for graduate students and early career scientists. In the session Novel Chemistry and Syntheses, CDAC postdoctoral researcher Katie Hilleke (University at Buffalo) presented her work on “Chemical Pressure in the Structures of Superconducting Metal Hydrides : Stabilization and Design.”

The program for the Gordon Research Seminar is available at

For more on the Gordon Research Conferences, go to


Allison Pease Receives the 2022 Kraus Crystallographic Fund Research Grant from the Mineralogical Society of America Heading link


Allison Pease, a CDAC graduate student from the research group of Academic Partner Susannah Dorfman at Michigan State University, is the 2022 recipient of the Edward H. Kraus Crystallographic Research Fund Grant from the Mineralogical Society of America. The Kraus award is based on a competitive proposal process and provides up to $5000 for research in the field of mineralogical crystallography. Proposals for research in the areas of mineralogy, crystal chemistry, petrology, mineral physics, biomineralization, and geochemistry are all eligible for funding, and studies may be pursued using crystallographic, spectroscopic, analytical or computational methods. The award may go to undergraduate or graduate students as well as beginning faculty and young researchers.  The title of Allison’s proposal is “Structural Variation in Silicate Perovskites.”

Other CDAC-supported graduate students receiving the Kraus award include Arianna Gleason (University of California-Berkeley, 2013) and Josh Townsend (Northwestern University, 2012). Current CDAC Academic Partner Steven Jacobsen (Northwestern University) also received the Kraus award as a graduate student at the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2001.

Allison is a graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, and she also holds an M.S. degree from the University of Michigan. The entire CDAC community sends its best wishes to Allison in recognition of this outstanding achievement.  Congratulations Allison!


CHESS workshop: Computing, Machine Learning, and Data-Intensive Science at Synchrotron Facilities, July 26-27 Heading link


Research at synchrotron light sources hold transformational promise to address some of the most pressing scientific questions in society. They provide the unique ability to probe matter from atomic to mesoscopic length scales; enable experiments at physically-relevant conditions with respect to parameters such as temperature, chemical environment, mechanical loading, and so on; and can probe phenomena over time-scales spanning many orders of magnitude. While these capabilities have enabled scientific breakthroughs across multiple fields, recent dramatic improvements in x-ray source brightness and advances in detector technology have led to an explosion in sophisticated measurement techniques and raw data volumes, presenting technological and computational challenges as well as scientific opportunities.

To fully realize the promise of these facilities, we need new strategies for managing, interacting with, and extracting relevant physical information from increasingly large and complex datasets. This workshop will bring together experts in x-ray and domain science, machine learning, scientific computing, cyberinfrastructure, and data management to share knowledge and brainstorm ways to advance computational tools and infrastructure for data-intensive x-ray science.

Workshop goals:

  • Inform future facility directions and initiatives
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration within and across disciplines
  • Identify community training and support needs

Topical sessions:

  • On-the-fly data analysis
  • Machine learning
  • Computational- and data-intensive applications
  • Data curation
  • Workflows, visualization and systems for big data

JULY 26 & 27
Passcode: CHESS


Broader Impacts Beyond CDAC : Lectures on the Use of XTALOpt Heading link


In June 2022, CDAC Academic Partner Eva Zurek (University at Buffalo) gave a 4hr hands-on workshop on using the XtalOpt evolutionary algorithm for crystal structure prediction to a group of graduate students and postdoctoral associates at the recent 56th Course at the International School of Crystallography: Crystallography Under Extreme Conditions: The Future is Very Bright and Compressed.  The course, held in Erice, Sicily from June 3-11 also featured two lectures by Professor Zurek, one on state-of-the-art techniques for computational structure prediction, and another on how these techniques have been used to understand the structures and properties of hydrogen-rich materials at very high pressures.  In 2022 Professor Zurek has also given three (virtual) seminars at primarily undergraduate institutions: St. Bonaventure University, California State University-San Bernardino, and California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, during which she described how crystal structure prediction is being used in materials design, and provided case studies of the successful application of these techniques.


Beam Time Proposals for NSLS-II: Deadline January 31, 2023 Heading link


The deadline for new proposals and beam time requests (BTRs) for the May – August 2023 cycle at NSLS-II is Tuesday, January 31 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. If you already have an active beam time proposal, you must submit a beam time request (BTR) against that proposal for every cycle that you wish to request beam time.

  • COVID-19 controls at Brookhaven Lab depend upon the CDC Community Level Designation. Please refer to the Brookhaven Lab Resumption of Operations Website for further guidance.
  • For new General User proposals, up to 3 beamlines may be selected. For new BAG, Partner User, and Proprietary proposals, up to 5 beamlines may be selected. For all proposals, each resource request must be justified separately in the proposal. Please see the User Guide for more details.
  • For guidance on writing a good beam time proposal, we encourage all users to read our short PDF Guide to a Good Proposal.

To find beamlines and techniques available for new proposals this cycle, please see the Beamline Guide.

All proposals and BTRs must be submitted online using the Proposal Allocation Safety Scheduling (PASS) System. Please note the User Services, Communication, Education & Outreach Office will be available until 5:00 pm on January 31. If you feel you may need help during the submission process, please create your proposal as early as possible.

For complete instructions on how to submit beam time proposals at NSLS-II, see the User Guide or contact the NSLS-II Proposal Coordinator.


CDAC Collaborator Jorge Muñoz Receives Cottrell Scholar Award Heading link

Jorge Munoz photo

Jorge Muñoz, an assistant professor of physics at The University of Texas at El Paso, has been named a 2022 Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

Muñoz, who was a CDAC graduate student working with former CDAC Academic Partner Brent Fultz at the California Institute of Techology is one of 24 teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics, and astronomy to receive this highly prestigious award, which recognizes excellence in research and teaching as well as the recipient’s potential to become an academic leader.  The award comes with a financial prize of $100,000.

More information can be found here.


Post Master's Summer Internship Heading link

The MST-8 Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamic Extremes Group in Materials Science and Technology Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has a summer internship opening (May-September, 2022) for a creative and resourceful Post Master’s student with background in Laue diffraction and high-pressure diamond anvil cell experiments for understanding structure property relationship in materials.

The in situ Laue diffraction at high pressure studies have the potential to probe materials deformation and microstructural changes in real-time. Although these methods are having a large impact on material science and on the understanding of materials at the mesoscale, one of the major challenges is real-time data analysis and automation. As a Post Master’s student the selected candidate will work with LANL mentors and collaborators at the Advanced Photon Source to develop workflow utilizing novel machine learning and deep learning techniques for enabling automated in situ data analysis and interpretation with minimum human intervention.

More information can be found here.


Symposium : Shining Light on Matter at Extremes 2023 Heading link


Registration is open now for  Shining Light on Matter at Extremes 2023 (SLME-23), a one-day symposium to be hosted on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas on March 11, 2023. This immediately follows the 2023 APS March Meeting that will take place in Las Vegas from March 6-10. SLME-23 will be an in-person only event and is not affiliated with the APS March Meeting.

Interested persons should complete the registration form.  Registration and attendance at this symposium are both completely free.

Organizers are working on the meeting program, and are currently accepting abstract submissions for those interested in providing a talk. Abstracts can be submitted by email directly to Dean Smith (, and should be provided by Saturday, January 28. The programme and instructions to find the venue will be distributed to the mailing list generated by completing the Google Form.


CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: APS Conference on Shock Compression Heading link

The 22nd Biennial APS Shock Compression of Condensed Matter Conference will be held in Anaheim, CA on July 11-15, 2022 at the Anaheim Marriott. We are planning an in-person meeting and are currently researching a hybrid option. Additional details will be provided as soon as we have them.
Abstract submission and hotel reservations are currently open! Abstract submissions close March 4, 2022 and can be submitted here: []PHYSICS.p

Hotel reservations are open until June 17, 2022. Reservations are available at GSA per diem rate. If you’re planning to attend, please make your reservations early and use this link:
It is very important to make reservations through the conference link to ensure we make our room block commitment.

Conference Website:


Eva Zurek Receives Chancellor's Award Heading link


Congratulations from the entire CDAC community go out to Academic Partner Eva Zurek from the University at Buffalo, who received the 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.  Second from left in the accompanying photo, Professor Zurek is pictured with other Chancellor’s Award recipients.

The Chancellor’s Awards are conferred to acknowledge and provide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the pursuit of excellence. Chancellors Awards in the SUNY (State University of New York) group of universities are made in five categories: Faculty Service, Librarianship, Professional Service, Scholarship and Creative Activities, and Teaching.

Congratulations, Eva !


Predicting synthesizability of crystalline materials via deep learning Heading link


Sara Kadkhodaei, a CDAC affiliated faculty member at UIC and a co-PI with CDAC Partner Eva Zurek, CDAC Director Russell Hemley, and CDAC affilliated faculty member Michael Trenary on the DMREF award, “Machine Algorithm Prediction and Synthesis of Next-Generation Superhard Functional Materials” is a co-author on a new paper on the use of machine learning in materials science published recently in Nature Communications Materials.

The paper describes a method whereby the latent information that is inherently embedded in the structure of a crystalline material is used to create an image representation of a crystal structure based on its chemical attributes.  This image representation allows the use of a “convolutional encoder” that learns the features of chemical and structural features of materials that allow synthesis.  Materials are then classified into synthesizable materials and crystal anomalies.  The deep learning approach holds the promise of streamlining the synthesis of new materials with tailored properties by enabling the targeted search of parameter space, and replacing the time-consuming and inefficient trial-and-error method.

[Davariashtiyani, A., et al., Predicting synthesizability of crystalline materials via deep learning.  Nature Communications Materials 2, 115 (2021)]


UIC Physics Colloquium Speaker: Kimberly Budil Heading link

November 3, 2021

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a Department of Energy national laboratory dedicated to applying leading edge science and technology to address the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world today, from pandemic disease to climate change to national security and beyond. This talk will explore the mission applications, science and technology foundations, and unique environment of LLNL and offer insight into building a career at the national labs. Budil holds a BS in Physics from UIC (1987), and holds a PhD in Engineering and Applied Science from UC Davis (1994).


Sekazi K. Mtingwa Scholarship Heading link

The Sekazi K. Mtingwa Scholarship supports the increased participation of identities (African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx,and Indigenous) that are historically underrepresented in the study and workforce of Accelerator Science and Engineering (AS&E). This merit-based award is named in honor of Professor Sekazi Mtingwa. Prof. Mtingwa, a pioneering accelerator physicist, received the 2017 Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators for his innovative work on the theory of intrabeam scattering. Throughout his illustrious career he has actively sought to broaden participation in the physical sciences.

More information can be found in the link below.


Bismuth Under Pressure Heading link

Bismuth is nominally the heaviest element stable to radioactive decay;
accordingly, it possesses a significant amount of spin-orbit coupling. We are
harnessing this spin orbit coupling to perturb the properties of other atoms. Our
effort spans molecules and materials, with a key emphasis on reconstituting a
magnetic moment from its two constituent components – spin and orbital angular
momentum. Bismuth offers orbital angular momentum, while paramagnetic
transition metals provide spin. Here we are creating new transition metal bismuth
interactions and probing their magnetic properties. Research on Fe-Bi
compounds will be presented, with an emphasis on unusual magnetic and
spectroscopic approaches to probe these materials.

Livestreaming at 10:00 AM (CT) THURS., October 21, 2021


The Dynamic Response of Biological and Associated Materials Heading link

The next edition of the APS Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (GSCCM) virtual seminar series; information on the seminar and how to join are below.

Shock Physics is widely described as a multi-disciplinary area with strong connections to Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Computing and many Engineering disciplines. The depth of understanding of different material classes along with the ability to predict the dynamic and shock response of materials varies markedly. The behaviour of metals is widely reported, the level of detail is very deep, challenges exist but there is a strong and wide range of expertise. Polymers are increasingly understood and insights into the marked effects of temperature and strain rate are being developed into a range of predictive material models. Biological materials and systems are amongst the least studied or understood, there large areas still to be addressed.

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Sep 14, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: GSCCM Virtual Seminar by Bill Proud

Please click the link to join the webinar:


Congratulations to Livermore's Brad Wallin Heading link

Congratulations to Livermore’s Brad Wallin for his selection as LLNL Principal Associate Director for Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI):

Brad is a former CDAC Program Manager and Advisory Committee Member.


Dynamic Materials Science at High Brilliance X-ray Light Sources Heading link

Dana M. Dattelbaum
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time

High brilliance x-ray light sources are undergoing a transformation both in the U.S. and abroad, with facilities such as the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) and Advanced Photon Source (APS) undergoing upgrades. Within NNSA, the brilliance and pulse structure of many of these sources provide an opportunity to study materials dynamics under extreme conditions of high pressures, temperatures, and strain rates. In many instances, the data obtained from x-ray diffraction and scattering fill the “micron gap,” providing information on materials structures at the mesoscale, which are foundational to next generation materials physics models. Most of the measurements performed using time-resolved x-rays are setting new precedents in terms of the detailed physics and chemistry they have revealed; examples range from measurement of carbon clustering in high explosives to the dynamics of solid-solid and melt transformations in metals under shockwave compression. In this presentation, I will provide examples from Los Alamos’ portfolio in dynamic materials science at U.S. light sources, providing several examples of recent work on low-Z materials using x-ray scattering, diffraction, and imaging. Lastly, information on a recent tri-lab response to NNSA of recommendations for future investments at U.S. light sources will also be provided.

Click here, or join using the Webinar ID: 964 4874 0346 and Passcode: 495577


Openings for UIC Postdoctoral Positions in Experimental High-Pressure Materials Sciences Heading link

More information can be found here


Congratulations Susannah Dorfman Heading link

Congratulations to CDAC Partner (and former CDAC student) Susannah Dorfman on her promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor with tenure at Michigan State University! Linkedin


Stressing So Much That Defects Don't Matter Heading link

Please join us for the next edition of the APS Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (GSCCM) virtual seminar series; information on the seminar and how to join are below. We would like to solicit nominations for future seminars and anticipate having a mix of a single speaker or two speakers during an hour time slot. Please email your nominations to Tracy Vogler ( Information on upcoming and past speakers can be found on the APS website. Recordings of some past seminars will also be available there.

GSCCM Virtual Seminar Series Organizing Committee
Minta Akin, Dana Dlott, Dan Eakins, Christopher “Kit” Neel, Laura Smilowitz, and Tracy Vogler

Stressing So Much That Defects Don’t Matter
Professor Neil Bourne
The University of Manchester (U.K.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time
Wouldn’t it be marvellous to live in world where we knew that matter had a single strength so that response could be predicted precisely and damage could be avoided? In our daily lives, failures can occur in people, organisations or structures when stresses mount to a point that the weakest link fails and local collapse ensues. However, matter has a limiting strength beyond which varied behaviours at lower compression change to uniform flow in the regime beyond. This threshold also opens a state in which materials transform their electronic states, change conductivity and transparency and emit radiation. That response above this threshold is predictable, allows extreme engineering to precede with less risk of failure than in the defective world in which we live. We shall explore these behaviours and discuss applications for this framework going forward.

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: June 8, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: GSCCM Seminar by Professor Neil Bourne
Please click the link below to join the webinar
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Accidental synthesis of a previously unknown quasicrystal in the first atomic bomb test Heading link

This article reports the discovery of a heretofore unknown icosahedral quasicrystal created by the detonation of the first nuclear device at Alamogordo, NM, on 16 July 1945 (the Trinity test). Like all quasicrystals, the new example violates crystallographic symmetry rules that apply to ordinary (periodic) crystals. It was found in a sample of red trinitite, a combination of glass fused from natural sand and anthropogenic copper from transmission lines used during the test. The new quasicrystal is the oldest extant anthropogenic quasicrystal known, whose place and moment of origin are known from the historic records of the Trinity test. The thermodynamic/shock conditions that formed it are roughly comparable to those that formed natural quasicrystals recently found in meteorites.

L. Bindi et al., PNAS June 1, 2021 118 (22) e2101350118;


Atomic-scale mixing between MgO and water in the deep interiors of water-rich planets Heading link

Water-rich planets exist in our Solar System (Uranus and Neptune) and are found to be common in the extrasolar systems (some of the sub-Neptunes).  In conventional models of these planets a thick water-rich layer is underlain by a separate rocky interior. Here we report experimental results on two rock-forming minerals, olivine ((Mg,Fe)2SiO4) and ferropericlase ((Mg,Fe) O), in water at the pressure and temperature conditions expected for the water-rich planets. Our data indicate a selective leaching of MgO, which peaks between 20 and 40 GPa and above 1,500 K. For water-rich planets with 1–6 Earth masses (>50 wt% H2O), the chemical reaction at the deep water–rock interface would lead to high concentrations of MgO in the H2O layer. For Uranus and Neptune, the top ~3% of the H2O layer would have a large storage capacity for MgO. If an early dynamic process enables the rock–H2O reaction, the topmost H2O layer may be rich in MgO, possibly affecting the thermal history of the planet.


High pressure Laue diffraction at High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT) Heading link

Date: Monday, May 24, 2021 – 2pm (CDT)
Speaker: Dmitry Popov, (HPCAT-XSD, Argonne National Laboratory)
Title: High pressure Laue diffraction at High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT)

Laue diffraction technique is a powerful tool to investigate mechanisms of pressure induced processes including phase transitions, deformation, recrystallization, chemical reactions and so on. Experimental setup specifically optimized for in-situ and en-operando Laue diffraction studies in diamond anvil cells (DACs) is available for user operation at 16BMB beamline. Data collection and analysis routines implemented with the setup will be presented in details along with some recent scientific examples.

HPCAT organizes a High Pressure Special Interest Group Meeting each month. The meeting is held in the Conference room at building 434

*Note – Meetings will be held in a virtual format until further notice.  If you’d like to be added to the announcement email list, send a request to


Q&A: Lawrence Livermore director Kimberly Budil on the evolving nuclear weapons enterprise Heading link

Named as the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March, Kimberly Budil now leads a workforce of approximately 7400 employees and manages an annual operating budget of about $2.7 billion. She is the first woman to lead the California facility and the second to head a US nuclear weapons laboratory.

Budil previously served as Livermore’s principal associate director for weapons and complex integration. She came to the lab in 1987 as a graduate student in laser programs, and she has worked in the lab’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), global security, and physical and life sciences programs. She has been detailed twice to DOE and was vice president for national laboratories at the University of California, which comanages Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. She holds a PhD in engineering and applied science from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Physics Today spoke with Budil last month.


Classical chemical kinetics in shock physics: Rate constants, order and applications in initiation and detonation Heading link

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us for the next edition of the APS Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (GSCCM) virtual seminar series; information on the seminar and how to join are below. We would like to solicit nominations for future seminars and anticipate having a mix of a single speaker or two speakers during an hour time slot. Please email your nominations to Tracy Vogler ( Information on upcoming and past speakers can be found on the APS website; recordings of some past seminars will also be available there.

GSCCM Virtual Seminar Series Organizing Committee
Minta Akin, Dana Dlott, Dan Eakins, Christopher “Kit” Neel, Laura Smilowitz, and Tracy Vogler

Classical chemical kinetics in shock physics: Rate constants, order and applications in initiation and detonation
Bryan Henson
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time

Work has been ongoing in our group to produce globalized chemistry models of thermal ignition for secondary explosives valid over the entire temperature range of energetic response from thermal ignition by direct heating to detonation. We have made considerable progress recently, resulting in both the first broadly accurate global chemistry models of this type and the possible identification of a crucial component of the chemical mechanism governing the initial decomposition of the crystalline solid. We show that this initial component is based on the condensed phase thermodynamics of the explosive. We further show that it is a common feature of several members of the class of secondary explosives, and may constitute a fundamental, defining aspect of the insensitivity of this family of explosives. In this talk we present models for 1,3,5,7-octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-tetrazocine (HMX), 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene (TATB) and 1,3-propanediol-2,2-bis[(nitrooxy)methyl]-tetranitrate (PETN), defined over the temperature range spanning 150 to 2500 C. We will also present a number of applications of these models to problems of ignition, initiation and detonation in these materials.

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When: May 18, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: GSCCM Seminar by Bryan Henson
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60th Anniversary of the Discovery of 'Dense Silica': Stishovite Heading link


Sixty years ago today, April 19, 1961, Sergei Stishov — then a graduate student at Moscow State University — together with Svetlana Popova first identified silica in the rutile-type structure from x-ray diffraction in high-pressure experiments, testing the hypothesis proposed a decade earlier about the high-pressure behavior of the common mineral quartz.

Upon learning about the discovery, Edward Chao of the U.S. Geological Survey found that their reported x-ray diffraction pattern matched that of material he had collected on the shocked Coconino sandstone at Meteor Crater, Arizona. He and his colleagues quickly announced the finding and proposed that the mineral be named stishovite.

The discovery was a landmark in both high-pressure physics and studies of the Earth’s deep interior. The story — indeed the geopolitical back story — is recounted in a memoir that Stishov published in 1995.  Additional information and pictures, from the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the discovery in 2011, are here and here.

Academician Stishov is currently a Staff Member at the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), and is the former Director of the Institute of High Pressure Physics of the RAS. He has held numerous visiting appointments in the U.S., including LANL starting in 1993, as well as Caltech, Berkeley, and Stony Brook.  Svetlana Popova, who passed away five years ago, was a long-time Staff Member at the Institute of High Pressure Physics.

Neutrons -- Hard Diamonds, High Pressures, at the Spallation Neutron Source Heading link

March 1, 2021

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source have developed a diamond anvil pressure cell that will enable high-pressure science currently not possible at any other neutron source in the world.

Using the SNAP instrument, the team measured high-quality powder diffraction data on a material above 120 gigapascals, shattering the previously held record of 62 GPa for meaningful structural data.

What’s more, the tiny submillimeter-sized sample used in the experiment is likely the smallest neutron sample ever measured and yet is also one of the largest powder samples ever held at such a high static pressure.

While scientists have used X-ray powder diffraction at such pressures for decades, it was previously not possible using neutrons.

“This breakthrough enables new studies on the structures of high-pressure super-hydrides that exhibit room-temperature superconductivity. It even enables investigations into materials at earth-core pressure conditions,” said ORNL’s Bianca Haberl.


CDAC Advisory Committee Member Dana Dattlebaum Receives E. O. Lawrence Award Heading link

Dana Dattlebaum

Long-time Center Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC) member Dana Dattelbaum of Los Alamos National Laboratory has been named as one of eight winners of the 2020 E. O. Lawrence Award.

Dana was honored “for her transformative scientific and intellectual achievements, including her pioneering work providing physical insights into shock and detonation physics, her innovations in the development of the equations of state of a spectrum of energetics and polymers, and providing critical data for hydrodynamic simulations essential to the nuclear weapons program.  She has played a pivotal and leading role in advancing the experimental study of materials under extreme conditions at LANL.”

Dana Dattlebaum has been a member of CDAC External Advisory Commitee (ESC) or its CSAC since the founding of the Center in 2003.