A force of nature

By MIchael Padilla

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Inaugural Walter Bauer scholarship awarded to Livermore students

Walter Bauer with his granddaughter. He passed away in 2009.

A scholarship established in memory of former Sandia employee Walter Bauer through the Pedrozzi Foundation has been awarded to two high school students from Livermore. The scholarship honors Walter’s leadership in the scientific community and his love of cycling.

Granada High School senior Taylor Lawsen and Livermore High School senior Harry Yee will each be awarded $1,000 per year for four years. The two scholar athletes received the scholarships at the 2016 Pedrozzi Scholar recognition event on June 2.

Lawsen competed on the varsity track and cross country teams, participated in Girl Scouts and the California Scholarship Federation, and earned a 4.24 grade point average. Inspired by her love of learning and literature, she is pursuing a degree in English at Biola University with the goal of becoming a teacher. She plans to continue running and competing.

Yee competed on the varsity water polo and swim teams, participated in the LHS Math and Livermore Yotsukaido Sister City Organization clubs, and earned a 4.4 grade point average. His creativity and critical thinking skills served him well in winning a video game creation competition. He’ll continue to use both while pursuing a degree in computer science and electrical engineering at UCLA.

Recipients of the inaugural Walter Bauer Scholaship Taylor Lawsen and Harry Yee are flanked by scholarship sponsors Jay Davis of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, left, and Sandia Senior Manager Art Pontau. Davis and Art are among many friends of Walter Bauer who support the scholarship program in his memory.

The scholarships are made possible by former colleagues, collaborators, and friends of Walter. They include Jay Davis (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Glenn Kubiak (former 8600 director, now operations/chief operating officer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Senior Manager Art Pontau (8360), and retired Div. 8000 VP Rick Stulen. Art, Glenn, and Rick worked with Walter during his career at Sandia/California. Rick remembers Walter as a pure scientist in addition to being a great leader who challenged people to perform their best.

A force of nature and legendary researcher

“Walter was a force of nature and a legend in the Sandia research community,” Art says. “A big part of the R&D culture at the site was impacted by Walter’s strength of character and commitment throughout his 33-year career at Sandia. He is dearly missed by many of us who had the privilege to work with him.”

An avid cyclist, Walter rode more than 10,000 miles a year.

“Walter was a driven bicycler and his intensity at the lab and on the road was infectious,” Art says. “Hard and crusty on the outside, he had a heart of gold. He fought for and demanded quality research and quality of life for staff.”

Walter Bauer passed away on April 4, 2009, at the age of 74. Born in Innsbruck, Austria, Walter lived through World War II before moving to the US at the age of 14.

Walter was an early proponent of hydrogen research, which led to the California site creating the Tritium Research Facility and receiving responsibility for gas transfer systems. He was instrumental in pioneering the new field of plasma surface interactions to meet the R&D needs of magnetic fusion energy development and helped found the International Conference on Plasma Surface Interaction.

Working with DOE and the fusion community, he was an author of the DOE Roadmap for Plasma Materials Interactions in 1978, which is still being followed today.

The Pedrozzi Foundation provides college and vocational scholarships and resources to Livermore students. The Foundation was established by Mario Pedrozzi, a Livermore businessman who left his estate as a gift to the community. Other community members are continuing Pedrozzi’s legacy by generously donating to this unique and high-impact community organization.