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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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

Capabilities: Science Pillars

The Lab’s four Science Pillars harness our scientific capabilities for national security solutions.

Science Pillars: Harnessing our capabilities

The Laboratory has established the Science Pillars under four main themes to bring together the Laboratory's diverse array of scientific capabilities and expertise.

Information, Science and Technology (IS&T)

Information, Science, and Technology Pillar Modern computational science (e.g., Monte Carlo methods) has its roots in the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. Today, a Los Alamos strength continues to be the Monte Carlo research, methods development, and applications that run on the world's most powerful computers to help solve the nation’s most urgent needs.

In IS&T, we are leveraging advances in theory, algorithms, and the exponential growth of high-performance computing to accelerate the integrative and predictive capability of the scientific method, in particular in the areas of data science at scale, computational co-design, and complex networks.

Materials for the Future

Materials for the Future Pillar At Los Alamos, we are transitioning from observing and exploiting the properties of materials to a science-based capability that creates materials with properties optimized for specific functions. We are pursuing the discovery science and engineering required to establish design principles, synthesis pathways, and manufacturing processes that control functionality in materials relevant to our missions.

Nuclear and Particle Futures

Nuclear and Particle Futures Pillar Los Alamos is the premier laboratory in the United States for “all-things nuclear,” with capabilities that are grounded in its Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) and Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrotest (DARHT) facilities, its leadership in critical assembly work, and extensive capabilities in nuclear experiment, theory, and simulation. By integrating nuclear experiments, theory, and simulation, we are working to understand and engineer complex nuclear phenomena.

Organizations in Nuclear & Particle Futures

Principal Associate Directorate for Science, Technology & Engineering (PADSTE)

Principal Associate Directorate for the Weapons Program (PADWP)

  • Weapons Physics Division (ADX)
  • X Computational Physics Division (XCP)
  • X Theoretical Design Division (XTD)

Principal Associate Directorate for Global Security (PADGS)

  • Associate Directorate for Threat Identification and Response (ADTIR)
  • Nuclear Engineering and Nonproliferation Division (NEN)

Science of Signatures (SoS)

Science of Signatures PillarSignatures are the unique elements that allow us to locate threats within their environments and describe them (e.g., the pattern variation that lets us distinguish spinach from poison ivy). The Los Alamos scientific leadership in signatures extends from nuclear and radiological to chemical and materials, biological, energy, climate, and space signatures. Our scientific strategy is to discover new signatures, revolutionize the measurement of signatures, and engineer and deploy advanced signature-related technologies from the lab to the field.

Organizations in Science of Signatures

Principal Associate Directorate for Science, Technology & Engineering (PADSTE)

Principal Associate Directorate for Global Security (PADGS)

  • Associate Directorate for Threat Identification and Response (ADTIR)
  • Intelligence and Space Research Division (ISR)
  • Explosive Science and Shock Physics Division (M)
  • Nuclear Engineering and Nonproliferation Division (NEN)

Principal Associate Directorate for the Weapons Program (PADWP)

  • Nuclear Threat Assessment Group (XTD-NTA)

Purpose of the Science Pillars

  • The Science Pillar concept is the primary tool the Laboratory uses to manage our multidisciplinary scientific capabilities and activities.
  • Each Science Pillar allows the Laboratory to rapidly and effectively draw on the necessary scientific capabilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory, so we can address national security challenges as they arise and offer viable solutions.

Benefits of the Science Pillars

  • Each of the four Science Pillars has an overarching theme and discrete science goals, encompassing distinct capabilities found across the Laboratory.
  • Like pillars holding up a building, the Science Pillars support each other and together ensure the integrity of accomplishing our current and future missions.
  • As a management tool, the Pillars allow us to apply our broad range of science, technology, and engineering activities to national security challenges with a flexible, agile, and forward-looking approach.
  • The Pillars guide and inform the Laboratory's strategic investments in science, facilities, and recruitment.
  • The Pillars serve as a framework for our partnerships with other leading research institutions worldwide.

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