Susan Seestrom

Susan Seestrom, Advanced Science and Technology, Associate Labs Director and Chief Research Officer

Advanced Science & Technology Associate Labs Director & Chief Research Officer

Susan Seestrom has been Associate Laboratories Director for Advanced Science and Technology and Chief Research Officer at Sandia National Laboratories since May 2017.

Prior to coming to Sandia, Susan spent more than 30 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, first arriving as a graduate student while pursuing her doctorate in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Minnesota. Susan subsequently joined Los Alamos as a Directors Fellow and continued as a member of the scientific staff. Her research in nuclear physics ranges from studies of nuclear structure with medium energy probes to studies of the weak interaction using neutrons.

While at Los Alamos, Susan initiated efforts to develop a source of ultra-cold neutrons (UCN). Her work culminated in a world-leading UCN source at Los Alamos and the first measurement of the beta asymmetry in neutron decay using UCN. Most recently, as a Senior Fellow at Los Alamos, Susan was part of a collaboration measuring the neutron lifetime using UCN.

Susan served in a number of leadership positions at Los Alamos over 13 years. She served as Associate Laboratory Director for Experimental Physical Sciences from 2006 to 2013 and was Associate Laboratory Director for Weapons Physics from 2004 through 2006. Prior to that, she was the Physics Division Leader and the Neutron Science and Technology Deputy Group Leader.

Susan is the co-author of more than 140 referred publications. She was named Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1994, and has been an active member of the society, serving in various capacities, including:

  • Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) executive committee (1993-1994)
  • DNP nominating committee (1995-1996; chair, 1996)
  • DNP program committee (1986-1987; 1997-1998; vice chair, 2004; chair, 2005)
  • DNP fellowship committee (1997-1998)
  • APS General Councilor (1996-2000)
  • APS executive board (1998-2000)
  • APS chair, committee on meetings (1999)
  • APS nominating committee (2002-2004; chair, 2003)
  • Division of Nuclear Physics chair, chair-elect, and vice chair (2004-2007)

Susan also served as the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee chair for the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation (2009-2012). In November of 2020, Susan was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her pathbreaking work in nuclear physics, especially using ultra cold neutrons, and her leadership, both in the physics community and at national laboratories.

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