Ames Laboratory Names Duane Johnson Chief Research Officer

For release: July 9, 2010

Contacts:
Kerry Gibson, Public Affairs, 515-294-1405

AMES, Iowa – Duane D. Johnson has been named Chief Research Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory following a national search that spanned several months. Johnson becomes the first to hold the CRO position, which is responsible for initiating, developing and supervising the Lab’s scientific programs and overseeing the scientific division, including approximately 90 researchers, 200 students, and 20 support staff.

In announcing the selection of Johnson, Ames Laboratory Director Alex King said, “This is a very important leadership position for the Ames Lab. The search has been long, but the outcome is definitely worthwhile. Duane is a superb match for us and he is going to make a big difference here. I am looking forward to working with him to move our scientific achievements up to the next level.”

In addition to his role as Ames Lab’s CRO, Johnson will be appointed the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Energy Sciences at Iowa State University, with a tenured faculty appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and courtesy appointments in the

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Duane Johnson

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and the Department of Physics, subject to receiving the necessary approvals.

Johnson comes to the Ames Laboratory from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was the Ivan Racheff Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He was also a professor of physics and mechanical engineering, principal investigator in the interdisciplinary Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, and the director of the National Science Foundation-supported Materials Computation Center. He was affiliated with the UI College of Engineering’s Computational Science and Engineering program, which fosters interdisciplinary, computationally oriented research among all fields of science and engineering.

As the new leader of research efforts at the Ames Laboratory, Johnson plans to utilize that background to develop new scientific research areas that build upon expertise at the Ames Laboratory, establish stronger interactions with other DOE laboratories and universities, and create solid connections between experiment and computational materials science and chemistry that result in increased innovation of new materials, including those created by computational, data-enabled design.

“The Ames Laboratory has built a quiet legacy of exceptional materials and chemistry developments that result from quality basic energy sciences with engineering applications that have contributed to our nation’s economic competitiveness,” Johnson said. “I am truly excited about the prospects at the Ames Lab and Iowa State University. We plan to expand the Lab’s leadership and national visibility in energy sciences and critical materials development, both from experiment and theory, while further developing our instrumentation facilities for the continued prominence expected of a Department of Energy laboratory.”

He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1985 from the University of Cincinnati, performing his thesis work in the Metals and Ceramics division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Bristol, England, and a National Research Council post-doctoral fellowship at the Naval Research Laboratory, he was a senior research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif. Johnson joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1997.

Johnson is an internationally recognized leader in the area of materials theory and computational materials science, with more than 150 publications and approximately 100 invited presentations. His research melds modern theoretical methods and their computational solution to predict properties and interpret characterization experiments. By developing new theoretical methods and computational algorithms, he addresses materials design in important classes of materials, while explaining many phenomena and accurately predicting new ones. He combines electronic-structure methods and statistical thermodynamics to predict the structural and thermodynamic behavior of alloys and molecular solids, catalytic nanoparticles, hydrogen-storage and other energy-related materials, and multiscale mechanical properties of materials, including structural and nuclear materials, so they can be used effectively for societal needs.

He has received several professional recognitions, including a Fellowship of the American Physical Society, where he also chaired the Division of Computational Physics from 2008-10. He shared the 2006 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Silver “Humie” Award, which is a machine versus human competitive award. At UIUC, he has been the Faculty Fellow of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, a Bliss Faculty Scholar and a Collins Scholar in the College of Engineering, and has also received the Xerox Award for Faculty Research from the university. He received an Award of Excellence for his work at Sandia National Laboratory. He is currently a special editor of the journal Computer Physics Communications, and an invited professor at the École Centrale Paris.

Johnson will be joining the Ames community with his wife, Cindy, college-bound daughter Francesca, and son, Conor.

 Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory operated for the DOE by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global challenges.

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