News Archive


John Howard graduated with his Ph.D. in Physics in the Fall of 2014. His dissertation is titled “Li+ Ion Transport in Select Lithium-Rich Antiperovskites”, with Dr. Yusheng Zhao as the advisory committee chair.
John studied high pressure physics under the direction of the late Malcolm Nicol during his undergraduate and M.S. studies, but made the transition to synthesizing and characterizing solid state electrolytes for his Ph.D. project. John plans to continue to work in the field of solid state electrolytes for battery applications.


Graduation ceremony: Chris Cline and Pamela Burnely

Graduation ceremony: Chris Cline and Pamela Burnely

GRADUATION! Chris Cline graduated with his M.S. degree in May 2014.  His thesis is entitled “The Effect of Single Crystal Elastic and Plastic Anisotropy on Stress and Strain Heterogeneity: Comparison of Olivine and Other Common Minerals”.  Chris became interested in high pressure research while he was an undergraduate working on HiPSEC projects in Pamela Burnley’s research group.  He is now working on a Ph.D. with Ian Jackson at the Australian National University.  He is studying the effects of water, defects and grain boundaries on the  attenuation of seismic waves in mantle rocks.

Fellowship! A NEUP-NE (Nuclear Energy University Program in Nuclear Engineering) fellowship worth $155,000 was awarded to Daniel Mast, beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year. Daniel is a second year Ph.D. student in the Radiochemistry program working in the Forester research group. His research is focused on the high pressure behavior of technetium metal and related technetium compounds. This fellowship will support Daniel’s work at UNLV for the next three years. The NEUP-NE provides fellowships and scholarships for students studying nuclear science and engineering. More information about the Nuclear Energy University Program can be found on their website, NEUP.

Fellowship! The recipient of the Malcolm F. Nicol Graduate fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year is Emily Siska. Emily is a first year Ph.D. student in the chemistry department working in the Forester research group. Her research is focused on the development of novel waste forms for the long term storage of nuclear waste using high pressure and temperature conditions. The MFN Graduate Scholars Program is a research assistantship program that supports incoming Ph.D. students in HiPSEC. More information about the MFN Graduate Scholars Program can be found here.

AWARD! On February 19, 2014, Daniel Sneed received the “OUTSTANDING POSTER” Outstanding Poster Award_NNSA SSAP MUEC symposiumaward at the 2014 SSAP symposium “Materials under Extreme Conditions”. His poster presentation was titled “Molecular Diffusion at Extreme Conditions”.


Dr. Pamela Burnley of the High Pressure Science and Engineering Center and Department of Geoscience has discovered a new paradigm for understanding the deformation behavior or polycrystalline materials.   Many familiar solid objects are composed of polycrystalline materials. Common examples of polycrystalline materials include metals, ceramics and rocks. Burnley’s work demonstrates that when these materials are forced to deform, their response is governed by a branch of mathematics known as percolation theory.   Familiar examples of percolation behavior include the path water takes as it moves through dry sand or the tracks made by raindrops running down a windshield. Burnley used mathematical models to show that stress travels through polycrystals in much the same way, focusing in some parts of the polycrystal while leaving other parts relatively untouched. Her work provides a single theoretical framework for a surprising diversity of phenomena ranging from the formation of gneissic banding (the layering of light and dark minerals that defines the metamorphic rock referred to as gneiss) to the formation of faults deep in the Earth’s lower crust and mantle. Her work has broad applications in geoscience, solid state physics, mechanical engineering and materials science.