Imagine a sphere much smaller than a pea releasing enough energy to supply all of the electricity needs of the United States for a brief moment in time! How could this be possible? At the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a huge laser in Livermore, California, scientists and engineers are nearly ready to make this a reality. NIF will compress and transform electrical energy into 192 extraordinarily powerful laser beams capable of safely igniting a small star in its experimental facility. Come and see how this will be accomplished and learn how energy can be compressed to extreme power levels to potentially provide for a future of clean energy for our world.

Speaker Bios

Dr.Edward Moses

Project Manager and Principal Deputy Associate Director
National Ignition Facility (NIF)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Ed Moses grew up working for his dad in construction. He earned his B.S. from Cornell University in 1972 in electrical engineerings and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1977 in laser physics. He began his professional career at Hughes Aircraft Company where he was a scientist and program manager from 1977 to 1980 developing high average power visible light lasers. In 1980, he joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on new ways to use lasers to process materials. In 1987, he became the Program Manager for the Isotope Separation and Materials Processing Program while also serving as Deputy Associate Director for Lasers.

In 1990, Dr. Moses left the Laboratory, when he became the Executive Vice President of Advanced Technology Applications, but returned to the Laboratory in 1996 as Deputy Associate Director for Program Development in the Physics and Space Technology Directorate. There he became the Project Manager for PEREGRINE, a program that developed and licensed a new method to treat cancer using radiation therapy.

In 1998, Dr. Moses joined the National Ignition Facility (NIF) Project at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and became the Project Manager for NIF in 1999. The NIF is a $3.5B, project to build and commission the world's largest laser facility for the purpose of studying high energy density physics and attaining thermonuclear burn in the laboratory.

He is currently the Associate Director for the NIF Programs Directorate and the Director of the National Ignition Campaign and plays a key role in the development of the applications for the use of the NIF in pursuit of national strategic security, national energy security and basic science.

Ed holds patents in laser technology and computational physics.

He wants everyone to learn about this exciting and growing field.

Richard Sawicki

Chief Engineer, National Ignition Facility Program
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Richard Sawicki is the Chief Engineer for the National Ignition Facility Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Having worked on this program since 1993 he has contributed to many aspects of the NIF Project including assisting in establishing the technology development program in support of NIF, Associate Program Leader for NIF's special equipment during design and early construction activities, and Mechanical Engineering Division Leader for the Directorate. Richard started working at LLNL in 1980 in the Nuclear Explosive Engineering Division being responsible for conducting analyses of various nuclear and non-nuclear weapons systems. Following this assignment he took on different project management responsibilities in other programs at LLNL including the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation Program and Brilliant Pebbles. Prior to working at LLNL Richard worked at several aerospace facilities including Rockwell International, American Science and Engineering, Ford Aerospace and Hughes Aircraft, Electron Dynamics Division where he contributed as a design engineer and thermo/structural analyst.

Richard has several patents in the area of deformable mirror technologies. He received his BS degree from Dartmouth College in 1971 and his MS degree from UCLA in 1974. His hobbies include playing and building guitars, sound recording, editing and production, photography and art appreciation.

Dr. Christopher A. Ebbers

Dr. Chris Ebbers received his undergraduate physics degree from Northwestern University and his doctorate from the University of California, Davis. A physicist in the NIF and Photon Science directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Chris is currently the manager for the Mercury laser program.  Mercury is a high-energy diode-pumped solid-state laser designed to demonstrate the reliability and scalability of high power lasers for fusion energy research.

In addition, Dr. Ebbers is recognized as an expert in lasers and nonlinear frequency conversion and is the recipient of three R&D 100 awards for the technical development of innovative solid state laser components.  He is an adjunct faculty member at Las Positas College where he teaches courses on optical instrumentation and high power lasers. In addition he has been a mentor and advisor to several graduate students and can be reached at See the NIF Website for further information on Photon Science and Applications or the Mercury Laser system.

Dan Burns

Earth and Space Science and AP Physics Teacher
Los Gatos High School

Dan Burns has been teaching Earth and Space Science and AP Physics at Los Gatos High School since 1992. He is the LGHS science department chair and past president of the Northern California/Nevada American Association of Physics Teachers. He has worked on curriculum development and teacher workshops for the SETI Institute, the USGS, NASA, AAPT, and San Jose State University. He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois. Prior to becoming a teacher Dan was a senior research specialist for the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. Dan is an avid amateur astronomer and astrophotographer and has had several pictures published in astronomy magazines.