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James Hamilton Cooley

James Cooley

Phone (505) 606-0421


  • Weapon Physics -- I am a recognized expert in weapon physics with experimental design experience in ICF, HEDLP and explosively driven shock physics. 
  • Emergency Response -- I have extensive experience in the area of nuclear counter terrorism and technical nuclear forensics including being one of three qualified points of contact at LANL for device reconstruction.
  • Computational Physics -- I have a background in computational modeling and methods using high-performance computing in the area of laser-plasma interaction.
  • Verification and Validation -- I have extensive experience in verification and validation methods and practices for multi-physics codes
  • Leadership -- I have leadership experience in line, program and technical project from small teams of three to large teams of more than 50 across multiple organizations.


Ph.D. -- Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, 8/2004 M.S. -- Applied Mathematics, University of Maryland, College Park, 5/2004 Certificate --  Bettis Reactor Engineering School, 7/1995 B. S. -- Physics, University of Texas, Austin, 5/1994


LANL Positions

  • Leadership Positions

Group Leader, Computational Physics and Methods, CCS-2

Deputy Group Leader, Computational Phsyics and Methods, CCS-2

Technical Point of Contact -- L1 milestone Initial Conditions for Boost I -- Completed successfully

Program Manager Verification and Validation (Acting)

  • Technical Postitions

Physicist, Level 4, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Design Modeling Point of Contact (POC) in National Technical Nuclear Forensics (NTNF)

Project Leader -- Implosion Hydrodynamics and Ignition project for Science Campaign Primary Assessment Technology

Physicist, Level 3, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Project Leader -- Physics Validation project for Advanced Scientific Computing


Professional Societies

American Physical Society

American Academy for the Advancement of Science



Defense Programs Award of Excellence, 2013, (Lead) for the Discreet Oculus II-B post-detonation nuclear device reconstruction event

Defense Programs Award of Excellence, 2012, (Lead) for delivery of the Level 1 Milestone on Implosion, within the Predictive Capability Framework

Defense Programs Award of Excellence, 2011, (Lead) for V&V Common Model development

Los Alamos Awards Program, 2011, for Organizing the May review for the Level 1 milestone, Initial Conditions for Boost I

Defense Programs Award of Excellence, 2010, for contribution to a modern energy balance models and methodologies

Los Alamos Awards Program, 2010, for ASC Verification and Validation

Distinguished performance Award, 2008, for contributions to the Oak Phoenix Data Evaluation Team

Defense Programs Award of Excellence, 2007, for "Ground-breaking" work in Verification and Validation and significant contributions to "getting the job done"

Defense Programs Award of Excellence, 2007, for contributions to the Altair 4 development team



  • Selected Publications

M. Tzoufras, C. Huang, J. H. Cooley, F. S. Tsung, J. Viera, and W. B. Mori Simulations of efficient laser wakefield accelerators from 1 to 100 GeV J. Plasma Physics, 2012

P. A. Keiter, J. B. Elliot, B. E. Blue, J. H. Cooley}, J. Edwards, G. A. Kyrala, H. F. Robey, B. Spears , and D. C. Wilson. Measurements and simulations of jet mass caused by high-aspect ratio hole perturbations Physics of plasmas}, 17 062704 --, 2010

H. W. Herrmann, J. R. Langenbrunner, J. M. Mack, J. H. Cooley, et al Anomalous yield reduction in direct-drive deuterium/tritium implosions due to 3He addition Physics of Plasmas, 16, 056312 (2009)

L. Welser-Sherrill, D.A. Haynes, R.C. Mancini, J.H. Cooley, R. Tommasini, I.E. Golovkin, M.E. Sherrill, S.W. Haan, Inference of ICF implosion core mix using experimental data and theoretical mix models High Ener. Dens. Phys. 5, 249}, 2009

 L. Welser-Sherrill, J.H. Cooley, D.C. Wilson, Interactive tools designed to study mix in inertial confinement fusion implosions Comp. Phys. Comm. 180, 835, 2009

 L. Welser-Sherrill, J.H. Cooley, D.A. Haynes, D.C. Wilson, M.E. Sherrill, R.C. Mancini, R. Tommasini, Application of fall-line mix models to understand degraded yield Physics of Plasmas, 15(7):072702 --, July 2008

P. A. Keiter, S. C. Laffite, G. A. Kyrala, J. R. Fincke,  J. H. Cooley}, and D. C. Wilson. A planar-geometry platform for the experimental investigation of be jets. PHYSICS OF PLASMAS, 14(3):034501 --, MAR 2007

J. H. Cooley, T. M. Antonsen, H. M. Milchberg, J. Fan, L. Margolin, and L. Pyatnitskii. Parametric instability in the formation of plasma waveguides. PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 73(3):036404 --, MAR 2006

C. Huang, V. K. Decyk, C. Ren, M. Zhou, W. Lu, W. B. Mori, J. H. Cooley, T. M. Antonsen, and T. Katsouleas. Quickpic: a highly efficient particle-in-cell code for modeling wakefield acceleration in plasmas. Journal of Computational Physics, 217(2):658 -- 79, SEP 2006

D. F. Gordon, R. F. Hubbard, J. H. Cooley, B. Hafizi, A. Ting, and P. Sprangle. Quasimonoenergetic electrons from unphased injection into channel guided laser wakefield accelerators. PHYSICAL REVIEW E}, 71(2):026404 --, FEB 2005

Jianzhou Wu, James H. Cooley}, Thomas M. Antonsen Jr., and Howard M. Milchberg. Effective coupling of ultraintense laser pulse to funnel-mouthed plasma waveguides. Physics of Plasmas, 12(4):1 -- 8, April 2005

J. Fan, E. Parra, K. Y. Kim, I. Alexeev, H. M. Milchberg, J. Cooley, and T. M. Antonsen. Resonant self-trapping of high intensity bessel beams in underdense plasmas. Physical Review E (Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics), 65(5):056408 -- 12, MAY 2002

  • Selected Reports

J. H. Cooley, S. E. Gray, Examples of the effect of Uranium Enrichment on Weapon Performance (U) Report for NA-42, LA-CP 13-00893, 15 July. 2013

J. H. Cooley, Stephanie C. Frankle, and Charles W. Wilkerson, Jr, Results fro calculations of a historic event (U) Report for DTRA, LA-CP 12-01184, 25 Sep. 2012

James H. Cooley, Derek E. Armstrong, Andrew M. Fraser, Karlene Maskaly, Joseph H. Schmidt, and Von Whitely Detailed report for Physics Validation effort in support of the L1 milestone Initial Conditions for Boost I (U) LA-CP 12-01066, 4 September 2012

Mark Short, Toru Aida, Tariq Aslam, Matt Bement, Jim Cooley, Josh Coe, Tavis Perry, James Quirk, Sam Shaw, John Walter, Brad Wescott, and Von Whitely High explosive modeling, Verification and Validation (U) LA-CP 12-01095, 4 Sep 2012

J. H. Cooley, J. H. Schmidt, K. R. Maskaly, D. E. Armstrong, and V. H. Whitley Small-scale and Focused Experiments for Validation of Material Models (U) LA-CP 11-01145, 2011

J. H. Cooley Developing and maintaining weapon design expertise in a comprehensive test ban era A Collection of papers from the 2010 PONI Conference Series, LA-UR 11-01407, 2011

Schmidt, Joseph H, Cooley, James H, Vaughan, Diane E, Buescher, Kevin L Simulation modeling and calibration to data for energy balance (U) Report for Energy Balance Closure, LA-CP-10-01320, 2010

J. H. Cooley, B. Aubert, S. Frankle, J. Mcaninch, and J. Goorley Comparison of an interesting pair (U) Report for Technical Nuclear Forensics, LA-CP-09-00240, 2009

J. H. Cooley and M. R. Douglas Evaluation of an ASC code for secondary applications (U) LA-CP 7-01639, 2007