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John Bell Elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 1, 2012

By Jon Bashor

John Bell

BERKELEY, Calif. – John Bell, an applied mathematician and computational scientist who leads the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering and the Mathematics and Computational Science Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Bell was one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced by the National Academy of Sciences on May 1, 2012, in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by Congress, which can call on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

“John’s election to the National Academy of Sciences is great news and a fitting recognition of his work in developing algorithms to advance the study of a wide range of scientific problems,” said Katherine Yelick, Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab. “John and his team have helped scientists better understand problems ranging from combustion to carbon sequestration to supernovae. We’re proud to have him at Berkeley Lab.”

Bell is well known for his contributions in the areas of finite difference methods, numerical methods for low Mach number flows, adaptive mesh refinement, interface tracking, and parallel computing and the application of these numerical methods to problems from a broad range of fields including combustion, shock physics, seismology, flow in porous media, and astrophysics. He is the co-author of more than 160 research papers. View his web page.

Bell is the deputy director of the Department of Energy’s Combustion Exascale Co-Design Center, a five-year project to investigate numerical algorithms, data management and programming models needed to simulate combustion on future exascale computer architectures.

In 2009, he was one of five Berkeley Lab mathematicians in the first group of researchers elected as fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

In 2005 he was awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering’s (IEEE) Sidney Fernbach Award “for outstanding contributions to the development of numerical algorithms, mathematical, and computational tools and on the application of those methods to conduct leading-edge scientific investigations in combustion, fluid dynamics, and condensed matter."

In 2003, Bell and fellow NAS member Phillip Colella were co-recipients of the 2003 SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering, awarded by SIAM and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for “outstanding contributions to the development and use of mathematical and computational tools and methods for the solution of science and engineering problems.”

Bell earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University after receiving a B.S. from MIT, all in mathematics. He worked as a researcher at the Naval Surface Weapons Center and Exxon Production Research Company before joining Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1986. In 1996, Bell and his group moved from LLNL to Berkeley Lab.

About Berkeley Lab

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 16 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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