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Adjunct Professor Among Department of Energy Award Winners

June 23, 2022

Jennifer Pett-Ridge, an adjunct professor with the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences and a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been honored by the Department of Energy for her “pioneering work in quantitative microbial ecology and leadership in developing and applying isotopic tools that help us discover and quantify how changing climate shapes the roles of microorganisms and plants in environmental biogeochemical cycles.”

UC Merced graduate student Leila Wahab, who received the DOE’s highly competitive Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) fellowship , will begin working in Pett-Ridge’s lab in August.

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced 10 U.S. scientists and engineers as recipients of the prestigious Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for their exceptional contributions in research and development supporting the Energy Department’s missions in science, energy and national security.

Other recipients come from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore, Pacific Northwest, Los Alamos and Sandia national labs, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, UC Santa Barbara and National Laboratory and the University of Washington.

Established in 1959, the Lawrence Award recognizes mid-career U.S. scientists and engineers who have advanced new research and scientific discovery in nine categories representing the broad science and engineering missions of DOE and its programs. The awards are among the longest-running and most prestigious science and technology awards bestowed by the U.S. government.

The Lawrence Award was established to honor the memory of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron — an accelerator of subatomic particles — and was named the 1939 Nobel Laureate in Physics for that achievement. Lawrence later played a leading role in establishing the U.S. system of national laboratories, and today, the Energy Department’s national laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore bear his name. Each Lawrence Award recipient receives a citation signed by the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal bearing the likeness of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and a $20,000 honorarium; co-winners in a category share the honorarium equally.

“I am thrilled to recognize these researchers and the significant advances they have contributed to society. Scientists like these individuals are the backbone of DOE and we cannot achieve our mission without them. I’m excited to see what the future holds for them and where they may lead us,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, director of the DOE Office of Science and a professor at UC Merced.

In honor of the recipients and their accomplishments, DOE will host a hybrid award ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22. Proceedings will be broadcast live online, and a recording will be available following the event. More information is available online .