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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society


I’m happy to report that the 2022 NPSS Society Awards have been decided. This year we have 13 winners, which have been chosen by the NPSS Awards Committee consisting of all eight Technical Chairs, plus two subcommittees for the Barker Award and the Knoll Awards. Big congratulations to all winners also from my side. We had very strong nominations, and it was not an easy job. You will find below the biographies of all 2022 award winners. If you know a colleague or student who is as outstanding as one of our winners, please consider nominating her or him for our 2023 round of awards, which has a deadline of January 31, 2023. All the application forms can be found on the IEEE NPSS web site at

Stefan Ritt, Chair of the IEEE NPSS Awards Committee, can be reached by E-mail at

Richard F. Shea Distinguished Member Award

Janet L. Barth retired from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in 2014. At her retirement, she served as the Chief of the Electrical Engineering Division (EED) where she was responsible for the delivery of spacecraft and instrument avionics to several of NASA’s science missions, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the SWIFT Burst Alert Telescope, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). She also oversaw development of microwave and optical communications systems and suborbital avionics systems at the Wallops Flight Facility. Early in her career, she worked as a radiation hardness assurance engineer and developed radiation environment requirements for over 35 missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST, the Earth Observing Missions, and the NOAA Geostationary Environment Satellites. She was a member of the team that developed NASA’s systems engineering approach to radiation hardness assurance for emerging technologies.

Starting in 1999, Janet worked on the development of NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) Program as a member of the science pre-formulation/proposal team and the LWS Program Science Architecture Team. In 2001 she was selected as the Project Manager for the LWS’s Space Environment Testbed. In 2005 she proposed, organized, and chaired the 2005 LWS Program’s International Space Radiation Model Development Workshop, the outcome of which established and documented the requirements for new models of the Van Allen belts. In March 2015 the long awaited for new Van Allen belt models (International Radiation Environment Near Earth /AE9 and AP9) were released to the international community.

From 2002 to 2008, Janet was a branch manager in GSFC’s EED. She was appointed to the GSFC Center Director’s Advisory Council, serving on the committee from 2006 to 2014, and she chaired NASA’s Avionics Steering Committee in 2013. She received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1999 and the Robert H. Goddard Award of Merit in 2014. In addition to her technical achievements, Janet was a member of the NPSS Administrative Committee from 2008 to 2022. She was the President of the NPSS from 2013 to 2014. Other roles include the Awards Committee Chair, the Liaison for Women in Engineering, and an elected member for Radiation Effects. She was the Executive Chair of the NPSS Radiation Effects Technical Committee from 2018 to 2021 and is currently the Past-chair of the Technical Committee. In 2014 she was presented with the Radiation Effects Award. She is actively involved with the IEEE Nuclear and Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC), teaching the Short Course in 1997, serving as the Guest Editor of the Transactions on Nuclear Science from 1998 to 2000, the Technical Program Chair in 2001, and the General Conference Chair in 2006. She is a regular participant in the European Radiation and its Effects on Components and Systems (RADECS) Conference. Currently, Janet is a Subject Matter Expert for Cornell Technical Services, Norfolk, VA and is a member of the Board of Advisors for MERC Aerospace, Inc., Pasadena, MD. Janet is a Life Fellow of the IEEE.

Citation: For outstanding leadership in all realms of NPSS activity – technical contributor, conference chair, technical committee member, technical committee chair, AdCom member, president.

Charles K. Birdsall Award

John P. Verboncoeur received a B.S. (1986) from the University of Florida and a M.S. (1987) and Ph.D. (1992) in nuclear engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). He currently serves as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU).

Following appointments as a postdoctoral researcher at UCB and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and as a Research Engineer at UCB, he joined the UCB Nuclear Engineering faculty in 2001, where he founded and chaired the Computational Engineering Science Program 2001-2010. In 2011, he was appointed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at MSU. In 2015, he added an appointment as Professor of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, which he cofounded. His research interests are in theoretical and computational plasma physics and applications. He has authored/coauthored over 400 journal articles and conference papers, with over 5000 citations, and has taught 13 international workshops and mini-courses on plasma simulation. He became an IEEE Fellow in 2013, received the IEEE NPSS Shea Distinguished Member Award in 2018, the IEEE Plasma Sciences and Applications Committee Award in 2019, and the IEEE Charles K Birdsall Award in 2022.

Prof. Verboncoeur is Past President of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, past IEEE Director, past Acting VP of IEEE Publications, Services, and Products Board, VP-elect of IEEE Technical Activities overseeing all 46 IEEE Societies and Councils and about $500M in revenue. He serves on the Board of Directors for the American Center for Mobility national proving ground. He is Associate Editor of Physics of Plasmas and serves on the DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. He has led a number of successful startups, including computerized fitness equipment, digital health systems, and distributed publication software, with a role in the USPS mail forwarding system and the consumer credit reports for a big-three credit bureau.

Citation: For pioneering leadership in computational plasma science research, education, student mentoring, curriculum innovation, supportive professional community leadership, and helping to define the field of computational plasma physics.

Early Achievement Award

Cédric Virmontois (S’10–M’12–SM’19) received the Engineering degree in Physics from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA), Toulouse, France, in 2008 and the Ph.D. degree in Microelectronics from the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE Supaero), Toulouse, France, in 2012. His Ph.D. research focused on displacement damage-induced degradation effects in CMOS image sensors. He modeled the degradation of the sensor performance parameters, especially the dark current and its associated random telegraph signal and he deduced hardening-by-design techniques to mitigate space radiation effects in CMOS imagers. Cedric presently works for the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) in Toulouse, France, in the Technology & Digital Directorate. He started as Detection Chain specialist from 2012 to 2018, his work involves the development of imagers for future space imaging missions, electro-optical characterizations, analysis and testing of imagers. He has extended his research to several solid-state imagers dedicated to visible and infrared imaging using ground and in-flight data in order to find generic ways to predict and mitigate space radiation effects. Cédric has also contributed to the understanding and modeling of dark-current Random Telegraph Signals (RTS) in image sensors. He contributed to the discovery of total ionizing dose-induced RTS in silicon-based image sensors. In 2014, he was in charge of the Supercam Remote Micro-Imager, the French contribution to the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, where he was particularly active to push the selection of the CMOS image sensor for this space mission. Since 2019 he has been recognized as an expert at CNES in the field of solid-state image sensors and radiation effects. In 2021 he became the head of the Opto-Electronic detection department. Cédric has served the IEEE community as a reviewer for the IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC) and for publications in the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science and Transactions on Electron Devices. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has received several awards including the Radiation Effects Early Achievement award in 2020, four best conference papers and the IEEE Paul Phelps Continuing Education Grant for recognition of contributions to the fields of nuclear and plasma science.

Glenn F. Knoll Postdoctoral Scholar

Thuy Linh Tran is currently a research fellow at the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP), University of Wollongong (UOW) and is coordinating and leading research in experimental microdosimetry. She received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics at International University of Nature, Society and Man “Dubna” – Dubna, Russian Federation in 2008. Following this, she completed her Ph.D. on an advanced semiconductor silicon detector for dosimetry and microdosimetry in radiation protection and hadron therapy at the CMRP, University of Wollongong under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld.

Her research interests include development of semiconductor microdosimeters, relative biological effectiveness (RBE) in proton and heavy ion therapy, Boron Neutron Capture therapy (BNCT) and fast neutron therapy (FNT) as well as research on theoretical radiobiological models in hadron therapy and Monte-Carlo simulation for applications in aviation and space. She has published 62 peer review papers in the field of radiation detectors for space and medicine.

Dr Tran is a recipient of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Farrington Daniels Award for best paper in Medical Physics, 2018. She was named a UOW Impact Maker (2019) and a recipient of Dame Bridget Ogilvie Award for Research Excellence (2021). Dr Tran recently received the prestigious and highly competitive award – the Career Development Fellowship grant from the Cancer Institute, New South Wales (2022-2025).

Glenn F. Knoll Graduate Scholar Award

Stefano Marin is a fifth-year nuclear engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is working in Prof. Sara Pozzi’s research group studying the angular momentum of fission fragments and its effects on n-γ emission correlations. Stefano’s main interest is the implementation of novel analytic techniques for neutron, γ, and charged-particle data. Over the course of his Ph.D., Stefano has experienced many facets of nuclear science research, from designing and performing experiments to working with theorists on improving our understanding of fission. This work resulted in several journal publications. Stefano has mentored students at all levels during his Ph.D. career, ranging from other graduate students to high-school students.

Stefano was born in Torino, Italy, and frequently returns to visit his family and dog. After finishing high school, he moved to Rochester, NY, to study physics. While there, he developed a passion for research and mentoring. He worked in theoretical atomic and molecular physics in his undergraduate days, investigating the effects of externally applied electric and magnetic fields on spin and geometric phases of molecules. He enjoyed immensely his time working on theoretical problems, and he now enjoys dealing with practical problems in the lab.

In his free time, Stefano enjoys reading, cooking, and attempting to repair his broken motorcycle. His favorite fiction and nonfiction books are by H. Hesse and M. E. Rose, respectively.

Edward J. Hoffman Early Career Development Grant

Dr. Elena Maria Zannoni is a postdoctoral research associate at the Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological   Engineering Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), USA, under the supervision of Prof. Ling-Jian Meng. Elena received a B.Sc. degree with honors (2013) and a M.S. degree (2015) in Biomedical Engineering from University of Pisa, Italy. She earned a Ph.D. in Bioengineering at UIUC in 2021. Her research focuses on the development of advanced SPECT imaging systems based on state-of-art semiconductor detectors and collimator designs for which she holds a patent. For her Ph.D. she designed, developed, and characterized a preclinical SPECT system, in collaboration with University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Currently, she is involved in the development of the Dynamic Extremity SPECT (DE-SPECT) system for imaging peripheral vascular disease in lower extremities, in collaboration with University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, and in a U01 grant for the development of the AlphaSPECT system, a full-body hyperspectral SPECT system for targeted alpha therapy applications, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. The NPSS Edward J. Hoffman Early Career Development Grant will support these developments and short-term visits at the collaborating clinical institutions.

Elena has presented her research at every IEEE MIC since 2017 and in other international conferences, authoring and co-authoring 40+ presentations and workshops. She received young investigator awards for best oral presentations at IEEE NSS/MIC and SNMMI Annual Meetings, and several grants from the IEEE Women in Engineering Society and the NPSS, including, twice, the Valentin T. Jordanov Radiation Instrumentation Award.

Magne “Kris” Kristiansen Award

Brad W. Hoff (S’04-M’10-SM’18) is a Senior Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). His research background includes high power RF source technology, pulse-power systems and diagnostics, PIC modeling, and electromagnetic interactions with high-temperature materials. Current research interests involve high-power microwave sources, nonlinear transmission lines (NLTLs), microwave-driven plasmas, applications of additive manufacturing techniques to HPEM sources, directed energy interactions with high-temperature materials, and power beaming. Dr. Hoff holds degrees from the U. S. Naval Academy (B.S. in Physics) as well as the University of Michigan (M.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering, M.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering). Dr. Hoff is a Fellow of the Air Force Research Laboratory, an IEEE Senior Member, and a Member of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS).

Robert J. Barker Graduate Student Award

Daniel Maler was born in Israel in 1991. He received his Bachelor’s degree in physics from the Faculty of Physics at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in 2018 and joined the plasma and pulsed power research group under the supervision of Prof. Yakov Krasik. In 2020 he transitioned to a direct track toward a Ph.D. in physics. During his Master’s studies, he constructed, tested and used a Photonic Doppler Velocimetry system for the determination of the velocity of a metal target accelerated by the shockwave and waterflow generated by an underwater electrical wire explosion. This method of target acceleration, commonly used for shock compression, was demonstrated both in microsecond and sub microsecond generators as being rather efficient and scalable. Moreover, using two-dimensional hydrodynamic numerical simulation, surprising observed phenomena, such as wire second acceleration without energy input, were explained. Another part of his research is utilizing the advantages of underwater electrical explosions and resulting strong shocks for the generation of supersonic water jet using the explosion of cylindrically and conically symmetric arrays. The observed water jets in experiments reached velocities close to 4 km/s with only few kJ of energy stored in the different time-scale generators. Two-dimensional FLASH simulations helped explain the mechanism behind the formation of these extreme jets. As for the future, he hopes to take an active part in the research and to further advance the science and technology behind sustainable nuclear fusion.

Graduate Scholarship Awards

Connor Bevington is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He holds a B.Sc. (Physics, 2017) from the University of Waterloo and a M.Sc. (Physics, 2019) from UBC. He conducts medical physics research in the UBC PET/ MRI Imaging Centre under the supervision of Prof. Vesna Sossi, developing image processing, modeling, and analysis algorithms for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and MRI, aimed at mitigating noise in the raw data and increasing quantitative interpretability of PET/MRI images. His current projects include improving task-related detection of dopamine release using PET, as well as quantifying brain energetics—the usage and production of energy in the brain—by applying intricate denoising and pattern analysis to PET/MRI images. These methods are being applied to two clinical studies: the first investigates a potential loss of segregation of brain function in early Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and the second investigates the modulating effect of exercise on brain energetics in PD. In addition to the NPSS Graduate Scholarship award, Connor also holds a NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship, a BC Graduate Scholarship, and several medical imaging conference awards. During his undergraduate studies Connor performed research in cosmology. Upon entering graduate school, he noticed methodological similarities between image processing in cosmology and medical physics. Always having a casual interest in neuroscience, a transition to medical imaging provided the ideal merger between his interests and academic background. Outside of research, he enjoys reading, cooking, triathlon, music production, and flying small aircraft.

Jingchen Cao was born in Changchun, China. He received B.Eng. (2015) in Information and Communication Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, and M.Eng. (2018) in Microelectronics and Solid-state electronics from the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing China. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree with the Radiation Effects and Reliability group in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Jingchen’s research interests include: 1) develop and verify a surface-potentialbased compact model of 2D material field effect transistors, 2) evaluate single-event response of FF designs in advanced bulk FinFET technologies for exposures including alpha particles, fast-neutron heavy ions and so on, and 3) research on total ionizing dose effects and reliability mechanisms for advanced nonvolatile memory devices. Jingchen has over 20 publications in the field of electrical engineering, about 10 of those are on radiation effects in microelectronic devices and materials. These papers have been cited ~250 times (citation h factor = 7, Google Scholar).

Abbas Jinia is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan. He is a Physics graduate from Kishinchand Chellaram College, Mumbai, India. In 2018, he earned his master’s degree from Purdue University in the U.S. Abbas has distinguished himself in his research productivity. He has authored/ co-authored five peer-reviewed journal articles, four conference papers, and has presented his research at several conferences and workshops. One of his articles has already obtained 35 citations, an outstanding number for a journal paper in our field published only in 2020. Abbas is conducting fundamental research in digital pulse processing and machine learning for active interrogation applications. This research seeks to advance capabilities for detecting concealed special nuclear material. Abbas’ research results were selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration at their workshop for Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence for Proliferation Detection. In addition to excelling in research, Abbas has served as a graduate student instructor (three times) for NERS 535: Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation, a laboratory course where students perform radiation detection experiments, data analysis, and Monte Carlo simulations with MCNP and MCNP-POLIMI.

Yang Zhou is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan State University under the supervision of Prof. Peng Zhang. His research interests are in theory and modeling of electron emission physics, including field emission, photoemission, and thermionic emission. In the past few years, he has been focusing on the study of electron emission with the effects of laser properties, e.g., wavelength, intensity, the corresponding laser-induced heating, as well as the effects of cathode surface states, e.g., coatings, contaminants, and nearby ions. His studies provide insights into both the fundamental physics and the design of cathodes of higher stability and efficiency. He is also interested in electrical contacts, which is a limiting factor for devices made of dissimilar materials, e.g., carbon nanotubes (CNTs) field emitters on a metallic substrate. In his spare time, he likes hiking, badminton and photography.

Women in Engineering Leadership Development Travel Grant

Enxia Zhang received her B. S. and M. S. degrees in Material Science from Nanjing University of Science and Technology in 2000 and 2003. She received her Ph. D. degree in Microelectronics and Solid-State Electronics from Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT), Chinese Academy Sciences, in 2006. Enxia worked at SIMIT as a Research Assistant Professor after graduation (2006-2007) and then joined the Shanghai University of Engineering Science as an Associate Professor (2007 -2009). In 2009, she joined the Radiation Effects and Reliability Group in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, as a post-doctoral research assistant. She was promoted to Research Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in 2010 and to Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Material Science in 2017. Enxia’s research interests include: 1) research on radiation response and reliability mechanisms for microelectronic devices built in advanced semiconductor technologies and emerging materials; 2) radiation-induced single events/transients and charge collection in advanced devices; and 3) radiation detection and measurements for space and medical application and detector reliability. Enxia is the author of more than 200 publications on radiation effects in microelectronic devices and materials, seven of which have been recognized with outstanding conference and/or student paper awards. These papers have been cited ~4000 times (citation h factor = 33, Google Scholar). Enxia is a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She has served as a session chair for the IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference, NSREC in 2013 and will serve again in 2022, on the NSREC Awards Committee (2018- 2020), on the program committee for several meetings of the American Vacuum Society (2012- 2014), and on the radiation effects safety committee for Vanderbilt University since 2017. Enxia has also volunteered as a Chinese language and Bible school teacher within the local community.