One of the most formidable scientific challenges is assuring the continued safety, security, and effectiveness of America’s nuclear arsenal in the absence of underground nuclear testing. The solution, called stockpile stewardship, relies on the most sophisticated computer simulations and (non-nuclear) experiments on world-class facilities. Stockpile stewardship also requires the expertise and resourcefulness of outstanding scientists such as physicist Juliana Hsu, the LLNL Program Manager for the W87-1 Warhead Modification Program.
Juliana received her Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After a postdoctoral assignment at UC Berkeley and a year as a visiting scientist at LLNL working in astrophysics, she joined the Laboratory in 1996. For several years she helped develop supercomputer codes that simulate the behavior of atoms under the most extreme states of temperature and pressure. Juliana served as lead primary designer for two programs to life-extend warheads in the stockpile, and her research led to the development of new metrics for the program. She was the Deputy Program Director for Weapon Physics and Design prior to taking on the W87-1.
In her current role she is restarting efforts on an important stockpile modernization program. She routinely interacts with colleagues within LLNL and other national labs including Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), other NNSA sites, Department of Defense, and universities. Juliana is a Distinguished Member (emeritus) of the Technical Staff (a small group of Livermore’s most respected researchers) and also serves on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.
“Working at the Laboratory means that you are working on interesting and challenging problems while serving the National interest,” she observes. “The work environment and the support for researchers are fantastic.” Juliana advises young people to “do what you want to do and love what you are doing, or you won’t be that good at it.” For Juliana there is an added advantage of doing what she loves at Livermore: “It’s important to me that what I do supports a greater purpose. I learn something new every day and get to think of new ideas that no one has thought of before.”