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July 17, 2001

Ralph James Named Brookhaven National Laboratory's Associate Director for Energy, Environment & National Security 

UPTON, NY - Ralph James has been named Brookhaven National Laboratory's Associate Laboratory Director for Energy, Environment & National Security (EENS), effective June 25. Internationally recognized for pioneering materials research that led to the development of a new class of radiation sensors and medical imaging devices, James comes from Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California. Both Sandia and Brookhaven are U.S. Department of Energy laboratories.

With a staff of 282 and an annual budget of about $78 million, EENS encompasses Brookhaven's Department of Environmental Sciences, Energy Sciences & Technology Department, Nonproliferation & National Security Department, and the Center for Data-Intensive Computing, as well as the Research and Business Operations Offices.

In his new position, James oversees a wide range of basic and applied research. For example, the work includes such projects as aerosol chemistry and how it relates to global warming and air pollution; research in biological and chemical processes to produce ultra-clean fuels; and development of new technology to safeguard nuclear materials. The Center for Data-Intensive Computing joins the computational and software expertise of Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University to contribute to data-intensive computing in numerous scientific endeavors.

James will encourage researchers in EENS to pursue long-term projects with stable funding, and he seeks to maintain an excellent rapport with customers. "I want to think big and deliver big," he said. "I plan to increase our involvement with our customers and offer creative and comprehensive solutions to their problems." Brookhaven's major customer is the U.S. Department of Energy, which funds over 80 percent of the research done at the Laboratory.

James hopes to expand EENS's interactions with universities, and to bring in more students and summer faculty. He also wants the number of patents and licensing opportunities at the Laboratory to grow. He commented, "Science-based technology can improve the lives and livelihoods of Long Islanders and people of the nation."

James earned a B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Tennessee at Knoxsville in 1976, an M.S. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1977, another M.S. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1978, and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Caltech in 1980. He was a Eugene P. Wigner Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1981-84, and in 1984, he joined the technical staff of Sandia National Laboratories.

James's research results are extensive and fundamental, and the impact of his work has been immediate and lasting. He holds nine patents, has authored more than 280 scientific publications and 11 book chapters, and edited 10 books. In addition, he is recognized for a long history of dedicated mentorship and for leadership contributions to professional societies. For example, he has served as the chair of 15 international conferences sponsored by both scientific and engineering societies.

Among his honors, James won Discover magazine's "Innovator of the Year" award in 1997 for developing radiation detection devices. He also is a three-time winner of R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Award, which honors the top 100 inventions of the year. In 1998, 2000, and 2001, he won the awards for developing various compact sensors to detect and image radiation and a new method to grow semiconductor crystals. The detectors have numerous applications, particularly in the field of high-resolution imaging for medical uses. James is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the International Society for Optical Engineering.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.