Five BNLers Receive Awards For Engineering, Computing

At the annual Employee Recognition Ceremony held on June 22 in Berkner Hall, Deputy Lab Director for Operations Michael Bebon presented the Engineering & Computing Award, which recognizes distinguished contributions to the engineering and computing objectives of the Laboratory over one or more years, to Gregory Flett, Modernization Project Office; Jesse Schmalzle, Superconducting Magnet Division; Emerson Vernon, Instrumentation Division; Alexander Zaltsman, Collider-Accelerator Department (C-AD), and Wu Zhang, C-AD. Their citations are featured below.

Engineering & Computing Award winners enlarge

Pictured are the Engineering & Computing Award winners (from left) Jesse Schmalzle, Emerson Vernon, Wu Zhang, Alexander Zaltsman, and Gregory Flett.

Gregory Flett

Greg Flett serves as Project Director for Line Item Projects in the Facilities & Operations’ newly formed Modernization Project Office. This office will lead the implementation of BNL’s master plan for replacing outdated facilities with the modern laboratory infrastructure needed for competitive modern science.

Flett is recognized as a versatile engineer, who has been assigned some of BNL’s largest infrastructure projects. He has a proven track record of success in completing projects on time and within budget. He is also frequently sought to serve on review teams across the DOE complex for his expertise in project engineering and project management. His experience with DOE project management requirements helps navigate the “critical decision” process required on all line item projects. His work has included environmental restoration, utility upgrades, and new building projects. Flett is currently Project Director on three ongoing projects totaling over $130 million, funded by the Office of Science’s Infrastructure Modernization Initiative. He has successfully managed seven line item projects including the $18 million Research Support Building — the first BNL building to achieve certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. Flett is a licensed professional engineer, a certified Project Management Professional and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Jesse Schmalzle

Jesse Schmalzle of the Superconducting Magnet Division serves as the lead engineer for BNL’s contribution to the U.S.-Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Accelerator Research Program in which magnets are developed for a future upgrade of the LHC at CERN, the European particle accelerator in Switzerland. The magnets must achieve a high magnetic field, which requires developing the technology for wind-and-react niobium tin superconductor, a very brittle material. The combination of high magnetic field forces and brittle material creates great difficulty in building working magnets.

Schmalzle was responsible for all technical aspects of the “four-Meter Long Racetrack” coil program, the first milestone in proving the technology. The coils tested successfully at BNL, reaching 98 percent of the theoretical current-carrying capacity of the superconductor. This success was due in large part to Schmalzle’s technical expertise and attention to detail. As a result, he has continued to work on research and development of two more coil programs, the LQ and the HQ, which are needed elements for the planned LHC upgrade. This success has brought international acclaim to BNL and enhanced its reputation in the high energy physics community. While this success is a product of a cohesive hard working team, Schmalzle stands out as a critical team leader.

Emerson Vernon

Emerson Vernon, a staff engineer in the Instrumentation Division, was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the Lab’s scientific mission, and in particular, for developing highly specialized monolithic circuits for a wide range of radiation detectors. These circuits, also known as application specific integrated circuits (ASIC), contain several hundred thousand transistors in an area of a few square millimeters and provide many channels of low-noise charge amplification and signal processing.

Vernon’s advanced design and layout techniques enabled the realization of highly reliable high-performance, user-friendly mixed signal (analog and digital) circuits, and made it possible to develop high-density and high-functionality detectors. He has been a key contributor to tens of different ASIC prototypes for solid-state and gas detectors, all fully successful and achieving — in some cases surpassing — the targeted circuit performance. His contribution has been crucial in bringing and maintaining the Lab’s capability in this field to a state-of-the-art level, and his work has had an impact on all BNL programs, from photon science to homeland security. He is now a key contributor in the BNL ASIC design group.

Vernon’s achievements would have not been possible without his outstanding dedication, talent, and reliability. Additionally, his performance is always highly appreciated for his exemplary interpersonal skills and safety awareness.

Alexander Zaltsman

Senior Research Engineer Alexander Zaltsman of the Collider-Accelerator Department (C-AD), Group Leader for the C-AD RF Group, is recognized for outstanding technical contributions in radio frequency (RF) engineering for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) accelerator facility and his managerial leadership in implementation of systems and maintenance of world-class productivity.

Zaltsman’s technical contributions span a wide range, from the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS), AGS Booster, and RHIC RF acceleration systems, to projects such as the electron beam ion source (EBIS), the RHIC Energy Recovery Linac, the RHIC stochastic cooling system, and the BNL accumulator ring for the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His technical contributions include RF cavities, amplifiers and tuning systems. He also designed the RF component for the Rapid Cycling Medical Synchrotron, intended as a cancer irradiation treatment facility.

Other laboratories and DOE recognize Zaltsman’s technical expertise with requests for his participation in technical reviews. His managerial leadership of the C-AD RF group has resulted in a very robust and exceptional productivity with the minimum of personnel resources. Throughout his career, Zaltsman has been a leader in the Department and the Laboratory and he has consistently advocated and worked in a safe and conscientious manner.

Wu Zhang

(Arlene) Wu Zhang, a senior research engineer and Pulsed Power Systems Group Leader in the Collider-Accelerator Department (C-AD), is being recognized for her outstanding contributions in support of accelerator systems operations. Since joining BNL in 1987, she has worked on the technically challenging research and development of high-voltage, pulsed power supplies for the Booster, Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, g-2 experiment, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and the Spallation Neutron Source.

The gigawatts or sub-gigawatts class pulsed power systems Zhang designs must switch on in nanoseconds and provide currents in thousands of amps with variations of less than one percent and have a pulse width measured in microseconds. Her focus on careful calculation, detailed design, system testing, and safety have greatly contributed to the successful operation of the C-AD particle accelerator/storage ring system.

An active member of the engineering community, Zhang has supported technical committees and engineering student development. She served as chair of the local IEEE Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society and has been an invited speaker at IEEE conferences. She has authored or coauthored more than 60 scientific and technical papers.

Zhang also has promoted visibility for women in engineering. She was instrumental in founding the Brookhaven Women Engineers’ Network, and she served on the advisory board of the Stony Brook University Women in Science & Engineering Program.

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