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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Theoretical Division

Theoretical research encompasses all disciplines of science.
  • Physics and chemistry of materials

  • Nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology

  • Fluid dynamics and solid mechanics

  • Physics of condensed matter and complex systems

  • Applied mathematics and plasma physics

  • Theoretical biology and biophysics

Contacts  

  • Deputy Division Leader
  • Joel Kress
  • Email
  • Point of Contact
  • Tanya Lynn Jackson
  • (505) 667-4401
  • Email

Furthering knowledge of the physical world for national security

Our strong interdisciplinary teaming and unique research facilities allow us to develop solutions to complex problems, and to support partners and collaborators, all with the goal of strengthening national security and making a safer world.

Why our theory research matters

At Los Alamos, theoretical work is a combination of basic research and applications, with each aiding the other in making progress. Theory is the backbone of all sciences. Theories have multiple roles to play in the furtherance of knowledge including:

  • explaining what is already known
  • predicting what will happen in unknown situations
  • providing foundations for furthering scientific knowledge

Theoretical research encompasses all disciplines of science and ranges from fundamental issues to the modeling of complex systems. Theoretical results contribute to computer modeling, and the tests and applications that result from modeling help define new directions in basic research.

Capabilities
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Theoretical Physics
Research
  • Physics and Chemistry of Materials
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology
  • Fluid Dynamics and Solid Mechanics
  • Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems
  • Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics
  • Theoretical Biology and Biophysics
Core strategies, programs

To accomplish its national security mission, the Laboratory has assembled the components of a core expertise by integrating theory, modeling, simulation, and visualization. It is a bold strategy to provide new cutting-edge tools to interpret and guide experiments and to further the fundamental understanding of and predictive capabilities for complex phenomena.

The science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program—the centerpiece of the Department of Energy Weapons Complex—depends critically on the viability of this strategy. However, its applicability extends well beyond the stewardship program; in fact, virtually every major initiative at the Laboratory relies heavily, if not critically, on this integrated capability.

The coupling of computational simulations and experiments as a cornerstone of technical programs in

  • weapons,
  • threat reduction
  • biology
  • nanomaterials
  • energy
  • infrastructure
  • frontier science

requires a new generation of ideas and concepts to greatly improve the fidelity, reliability, certainty, and usability of these tools.


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