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NEWS | July 27, 2011

NRL Researchers Receive Navy's Top Scientists and Engineers Award

By Daniel Parry

Five Naval Research Laboratory scientists representing five NRL research divisions were awarded, July 15, the prestigious Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Navy Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award.

The award ceremony held in Arlington, Va., opened at the Pentagon with welcoming remarks by Mary E. Lacey, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy - Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation. The opening address was provided by the Honorable Sean J. Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA), with awards and additional remarks presented by the Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Nevin Carr. The ceremony closed with remarks presented by the Honorable Dr. Delores M. Etter.

Dr. Etter, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy RDA, established the award in 2006 to recognize Navy civilian and military personnel for superior scientific and engineering achievements, and to promote continued scientific and engineering excellence.

Nearly 35,000 Navy scientists and engineers are eligible each year to receive the award. Honorees represent various commands across the Department of the Navy that has demonstrated exceptional scientific and engineering achievement in their field during the preceding calendar year.

The awarded nominations for the five NRL recipients honored as the 2010 Top Scientists and Engineers were presented as follows:

Tactical Electronic Warfare Division

Dr. Robert Gover is recognized for his work on the development, implementation, and application of high-fidelity physics-based digital models to rapidly permit the development of optimized Electronic Warfare (EW) countermeasures against modern anti-shipping cruise missiles. These models provide a high-confidence simulation based analysis for the development and implementation of electronic warfare systems to counter these anti-ship missile threats. Dr. Gover's simulations included a class of modern anti-ship missile systems that are becoming an increasing threat to Navy ships. His analysis identified the capabilities of the EW system during simulation runs that combined threat, ship, and countermeasure models. This work has led to the refinement of the countermeasure concepts. Dr. Gover's detailed simulations and analysis have been essential to the timely development of robust countermeasures that will be effective in defeating modern anti-shipping cruise missiles in the protection of Navy ships.

Physical Acoustics Branch, Acoustics Division

Dr. Brian H. Houston is recognized for developing and applying structural acoustics-based techniques to detect and classify bottomed targets. Dr. Houston has developed an exciting new technology in applying structural acoustics based detection and classification to sonar. Bringing together physics-based algorithms developed in the laboratory, a new class of single crystal, broadband acoustic projector technology, and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), Dr. Houston developed an AUV- based capability that measures high quality, broadband scattering. This AUV- based approach does not rely on imaging; rather, this new approach uses broadband synthetic aperture sonar techniques and target strength for detection and classification. In 2010, Dr. Houston led a team of researchers to demonstrate, during a fleet exercise, the ability of this technology to detect and classify a bottomed submarine target. These developments provide the Navy with the technical basis for detecting bottomed targets in high clutter environments.

Center for Reactive Flow and Dynamical Systems, Laboratory for Computational Physics & Fluid Dynamics

Dr. Kazhikathra Kailasanath is recognized for leading and conducting the basic research and the necessary applied engineering studies that have demonstrated the use of simple mechanical chevrons on jet exhaust nozzles as an effective noise-reducing retrofit for Navy F/A-18 jet aircraft engines. Additionally, Dr. Kailasanath is recognized for pulsed detonation combustor retrofit for shipboard gas turbine engines, demonstrating a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption with no loss in generated power.

Systems Analysis Section, Space Systems Development Department

Dr. Kenneth Senior is recognized for the development of major advances in techniques and algorithms for system synchronization and determination of Global Positioning System (GPS) time for the next generation of operational control segment (OCX) of the GPS. The advances that he has developed were selected as the basis for the OCX to determine GPS time and maintain synchronization of the system to accuracies not possible before. The revolutionary new capability provided by GPS III will enhance performance of Navy, DoD and civilian capabilities throughout the world. GPS time is also the primary comparative means of maintaining the international time scales with the major timing centers throughout the world.

Laboratory for Bimolecular Dynamics, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering

Dr. Chris Taitt is recognized for her leading role in development of technologies capable of detecting the occurrence of unidentified, uncharacterized, or unanticipated pathogens. Dr. Taitt has spearheaded development of tests using antimicrobial peptides for semi-selective recognition of virtually any microbe; these tests detect microbial pathogens and classify them into broad categories for follow-on identification. In 2010, Dr. Taitt transitioned these tests from low-throughput optical biosensor systems to a high throughput platform, supporting the viability of this technology for personnel protection.

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