Genomic Science Program
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Biological and Environmental Research Program

BER-Funded Scientist Jennifer Pett-Ridge wins 2021 E.O. Lawrence Award

The Lawrence Award recognizes mid-career U.S. scientists and engineers who have advanced new research and scientific discovery

Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced ten U.S. scientists and engineers as recipients of the prestigious Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for their exceptional contributions in research and development supporting the Energy Department’s missions in science, energy, and national security. Established in 1959, the Lawrence Award recognizes mid-career U.S. scientists and engineers who have advanced new research and scientific discovery in nine categories representing the broad science and engineering missions of DOE and its programs. The awards are among the longest running and most prestigious science and technology awards bestowed by the U.S. Government.

“I am thrilled to recognize these researchers and the significant advances they have contributed to society. Scientists like these individuals are the backbone of DOE and we cannot achieve our mission without them. I’m excited to see what the future holds for them and where they may lead us,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science.

In honor of the recipients and their accomplishments, DOE will host a hybrid award ceremony in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2022. Proceedings will be broadcast live online, and a recording will be available following the event. For more information, and to RSVP for the Lawrence Awards ceremony, go to Please RSVP by September 15, 2022.

The 2021 Ernest O. Lawrence Award recipients are:

Matthew C. Beard (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) – Atomic, Molecular, and Chemical Sciences – Honored for his “groundbreaking research providing understanding and control of solar photochemical processes, interfacial phenomena, and next-generation photovoltaics, including nanoscale and organic-inorganic hybrid systems.”

Luis Chacón (Los Alamos National Laboratory) – Fusion and Plasma Sciences – Honored for his “seminal contributions in multiscale algorithms for fluid, kinetic, and hybrid simulation of plasmas, enabling scientific breakthroughs in fast magnetic reconnection and self-organization in magnetic fusion systems, and in reactivity degradation in inertial fusion systems.”

Andrew J. Landahl (Sandia National Laboratories and University of New Mexico) – Computer, Information, and Knowledge Sciences – Honored for his “groundbreaking contributions to quantum computing, including the invention of transformational quantum error correction protocols and decoding algorithms, for scientific leadership in the development of quantum computing technology and quantum programming languages, and for professional service to the quantum information science community.”

Jennifer Pett-Ridge (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and University of California, Merced) – Biological and Environmental Sciences – Honored for her “pioneering work in quantitative microbial ecology and leadership in developing and applying isotopic tools that help us discover and quantify how changing climate shapes the roles of microorganisms and plants in environmental biogeochemical cycles.”

Sofia Quaglioni (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) – Nuclear Physics – Honored for her “seminal contributions unifying the theory of structure and reactions of light nuclei, providing predictive capability critical for understanding inertial fusion and nuclear astrophysics, and for pioneering applications of quantum device simulations for nuclear dynamics.”

Philip C. Schuster (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University) and Natalia Toro (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University) – High Energy Physics – Honored for their shared contributions in “originating new fields of study with pioneering innovative searches for Dark Sectors using high ­intensity particle beams and the invention of Simplified Models for new physics searches at the Large Hadron Collider.”

Rachel A. Segalman (University of California, Santa Barbara) – Condensed Matter and Materials Sciences – Honored for her “significant fundamental materials science and engineering contributions to self-­assembly and structure-property relationships in functional polymer systems, with specific applications to photovoltaic, thermoelectric, and membrane technologies.”

Daniel B. Sinars (Sandia National Laboratories) – National Security and Nonproliferation – Honored for his “pioneering development of seminal X-ray diagnostics and their innovative application to z-pinch implosions that transformed the experimental capabilities on the Z pulsed power facility and enabled novel, record-breaking platforms supporting our nation’s nuclear security.”

Jie Xiao (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and University of Washington) – Energy Science and Innovation – Honored for her “significant scientific contributions in integrating materials science and electrochemistry across scales to advance both the state of science and the state of technology in emerging electrochemical energy storage systems.”

The Lawrence Award was established to honor the memory of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron – an accelerator of subatomic particles – and was named the 1939 Nobel Laureate in Physics for that achievement. Lawrence later played a leading role in establishing the U.S. system of national laboratories, and today, the Energy Department’s national laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore, California bear his name. Each Lawrence Award recipient receives a citation signed by the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal bearing the likeness of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and a $20,000 honorarium; co-winners in a category share the honorarium equally.

The DOE is committed to supporting a diverse cadre of investigators and fostering safe, diverse, equitable, and inclusive work, research, and funding environments; read the Office of Science’s Statement of Commitment for more information on this commitment. For information on nomination requirements, selection processes, and previous award recipients please visit