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Seven ORNL researchers elected AAAS fellows


OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 22, 2016–Seven researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The AAAS is the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. The AAAS Council elects fellows whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished."

Bryan Chakoumakos, lead of the Structure of Matter Group in the Quantum Condensed Matter Division, was nominated by the AAAS section on geology and geography for "outstanding contributions to the physical, chemical, earth and materials sciences through the application of the techniques of neutron and X-ray diffraction and materials synthesis."

Chakoumakos studies structure property relationships in technological and natural materials and the synthesis, crystal growth and characterization of novel materials. He is a fellow of the American Crystallographic Association and the Mineralogical Society of American, and a scientific director of the National School on Neutron and X-Ray Scattering, an educational program for graduate student researchers run by ORNL and Argonne National Laboratory.

David Dean, director of the Physics Division and ORNL Isotope Program, was nominated by the AAAS section on physics for "distinguished contributions to the field of nuclear theory, particularly for development and application of innovative computational techniques and for academic leadership and public service."

Dean is the former director of ORNL's Office of Institutional Planning and Nuclear Theory Group and former Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of Science at the Department of Energy. He served as an associate editor of Physical Review Letters for six years and is a fellow of the Institute of Physics in London and the American Physical Society, where he serves as vice chair of the Division of Nuclear Physics.

Baohua Gu, team lead of Environmental Molecular Processes in the Environmental Sciences Division, was nominated by the AAAS section on industrial science and technology for "distinguished contributions to molecular-scale mechanisms that control cycling of natural organic matter, contaminants and toxic metals and for technology innovations to remediate contaminants in the environments."

Gu is an author of more than 250 journal publications, books and book chapters on biogeochemical transformation and transport of environmental pollutants, such as mercury and uranium, soil carbon degradation, mineral interfacial interactions and spectroscopic studies. He has a joint appointment as a professor at the University of Tennessee and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America.

George Ostrouchov, senior research staff and analytics task lead in the Scientific Data Group of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division, was nominated by the AAAS section on statistics for "distinguished leadership in the field of statistical computing, particularly to enable parallel computation on big data with statistical software, and for service to profession."

Ostrouchov serves as a matrix member of the Advanced Data and Workflow Group at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and as a joint faculty member of the Business Analytics and Statistics Department at the University of Tennessee (UT). He also leads's "Programming with Big Data in R" Project and is a fellow of the American Statistical Association.

Brian Sales, distinguished research scientist and lead of the Correlated Electron Materials Group in the Materials Science and Technology Division, was nominated by the AAAS section on physics for "pioneering research for clean energy technologies, including thermoelectric and superconducting materials, and materials for nuclear waste storage."

Sales has authored more than 350 papers, six patents and five book chapters on the synthesis and characterization of unusual and novel electronic and magnetic materials. He is the deputy lead of the Developing Substitutes Focus Area in the Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and was named an ORNL corporate fellow in 2012.

Tjerk P. Straatsma, lead of the Scientific Computing Group in the Center for Computational Sciences, was nominated by the AAAS section on chemistry for "distinguished contributions in the field of computational science, particularly for the development, efficient implementation and application of advanced chemical physics modeling and simulation methods."

Straatsma has more than 30 years of experience developing computational techniques that provide unique and detailed information essential to understanding complex chemical and biomolecular systems. He leads the Center for Accelerated Application Readiness at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the Applications working group of the Institute for Accelerated Data Analytics and Computing. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama.

Brian Wirth, UT-ORNL Governor's Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering, was nominated by the AAAS section on physics for "advancing knowledge of radiation damage mechanisms and fuel performance in fission and fusion energy via multiscale modeling using high performance computing validated by experiments."

Wirth has also received the 2014 DOE Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for his commitment to making nuclear energy safer and more secure, and the 2016 Mishima Award for outstanding work in nuclear fuels and materials research from the American Nuclear Society. He leads the Fuel Material and Chemistry Focus Area of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, as well as Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) projects on plasma surface interactions and fission gas behavior in nuclear fuel.

The new fellows will be inducted in February 2017 at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.


UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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