NEWS | Dec. 21, 2011

Dr. Thomas Mehlhorn named American Physical Society Fellow

By Donna McKinney

Dr. Thomas Mehlhorn, Superintendent of the Naval Research Laboratory's Plasma Physics Division, has been named a 2011 Fellow of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics. Election to Fellowship in the APS is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership and is recognition of outstanding contributions to physics. Mehlhorn was recognized for scientific leadership in developing physics-based simulation tools, discriminating diagnostics, and validation experiments, producing a predictive capability that contributed to major advances in ion and electron beam physics, Z-pinches, inertial confinement fusion, and dynamic materials.

Mehlhorn is also a member of the Department of the Navy (DoN) Senior Executive Service with responsibility for a broad spectrum of research programs in plasma physics, laboratory discharge and space plasmas, intense electron and ion beams and photon sources, atomic physics, pulsed power sources, radiation hydrodynamics, high-power microwaves, laser physics, advanced spectral diagnostics, and nonlinear systems.

Mehlhorn earned his bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 1974, 1976 and 1978, respectively. Before coming to NRL in 2009, he worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a member of technical staff from 1978 to 1988; department manager from 1989 to 2005; and senior manager from 2006 to 2009. His research interests included intense electron and ion beams generation, focusing and interactions; inertial confinement fusion; high energy density physics; Z-pinch physics; dynamic materials and shock physics; and advanced radiography.

He received the University of Michigan Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences in 2004. He is the recipient of two NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence (2007 and 2008), a Lockheed Martin NOVA award (2004), an NRL Alan Berman Research Publication Award (1983), and was elected to the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society in 1974. Mehlhorn is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Physics (2006), Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2002), and a member of the American Nuclear Society and the American Geophysical Union.

Mehlhorn served on the Advisory Board for Plasma and Atomic Physics at GSI, Darmstadt, Germany (2004 to 2011, Chair 2006). He is a member of the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Advisory Board at the University of Michigan (1996 to 1999), (2004 to present, Chair 2011), as well as the University of Michigan College of Engineering Alumni Society Board of Governors (2009 to present). Since 2010 Mehlhorn has served on the DoN Space Experiments Review Board, as well as the University of Missouri Research & Development Advisory Board. He is a Member-at-Large on the American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics Executive Committee (11/10 to 10/13). He has been appointed to a two-year membership on a National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion Targets (2011 to 2012).