Jordan McDonnell

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Fellow 2008-2012

Without the fellowship’s introduction to the Department of Energy national laboratories, Jordan McDonnell undoubtedly wouldn’t be where he is today.

McDonnell earned a physics Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2012 and now is a postdoctoral researcher in the Nuclear Theory and Modeling Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He uses high-performance computing to optimize a model for the force binding the atomic nucleus.

The models McDonnell studies are especially adept at describing processes like nuclear fission and the formation of superheavy elements. That makes them a good fit with his career goals: making fundamental discoveries that contribute toward securing more reliable energy solutions, such as nuclear power.

Along those lines, the fellowship’s exposure other disciplines “has been helpful in placing my work in nuclear physics in a grander context, giving me opportunities to make connections with, for example, radiochemists.”

That interdisciplinary training also will help McDonnell reach his ultimate goal: a faculty post at a college or university. His ties to Livermore Lab and through the program “will be a valuable resource in guiding my future students’ research and in connecting them with other scientists.”