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Mark Savage wins high-voltage IEEE Dunbar Award

By Neal Singer

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Mark Savage, recipient of IEEE’s Dunbar award.

Awards arrive at different levels of intensity, but no one can deny that Mark Savage of the Pulsed Power Sciences Center (1600) has won the highest voltage prize of all — the IEEE William G. Dunbar Award, for work achieved at extremely high voltage.

Asked why he was selected for the honor, Mark quips, “Maybe it was for 30+ years of high-voltage testing without getting electrocuted.

A broader assessment of Mark’s worth was offered by Keith LeChien, director of NNSA’s Inertial Confinement Fusion program:  “It would be difficult to find someone who has had a greater influence than Mark on the design and improvement of large-scale, high-current, high-voltage accelerators,” he wrote in his letter of recommendation for the award.

He also used terms like “unparalleled” and “revolutionary” to describe Mark’s technical contributions, and that Mark “… sets the example of what it means to be a great pulsed power scientist.”

Among other achievements, Mark led the electrical redesign and prototype testing for the $90 million refurbishment of Sandia’s 6-million-volt Z machine, completed in 2007. He also made major electrical design contributions to improve the operation of emerging pulsed power machines like Thor. Externally, he helped improve high-voltage technology at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Megajoule Laser Facility (LMJ) in France. He has authored or coauthored nearly 150 publications and conference proceedings.

Mark holds four patents on devices and diagnostics for pulsed power systems, and his name has appeared on six Defense Programs Awards of Excellence and four Sandia Employee Recognition Awards.

The award recognizes individuals “for continuing contributions to high voltage research, development, or testing technology and for transferring that technology to the engineering and scientific community,” according to an announcement accompanying notification of the award.

Mark will receive a plaque and monetary prize on July 7 at the IEEE International Power Modulator and High Voltage Conference in San Francisco.