Public Release: 

Six PNNL scientists among select group of highly cited authors

Lab's strengths in energy storage, climate, and chemistry lead the way

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

RICHLAND, Wash. - Six scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are included in a new analysis of scientists whose work is cited most often by their peers.

The analysis published this week by Thomson Reuters recognizes scientists who are among the top 1 percent of researchers worldwide when it comes to other researchers citing their work. The analysis covers citations in a number of scientific areas from 2003 through 2013.

A citation is evidence that one's work is considered important by one's peers - that the work provided an important building block for other scientists to build upon to make discoveries. It's one way to measure a phenomenon that Isaac Newton gave voice to when he said, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

The six PNNL scientists are recognized for work in disciplines where PNNL is highly regarded internationally - climate science, energy storage, materials science, and chemistry. The lab's research in these areas addresses some of the biggest challenges facing the nation today, including the needs for better energy storage, reduction of fossil fuel use, and better tools to model climate change.

Climate Science

The three scientists recognized in this area are Richard Easter, Steven Ghan, and Philip Rasch. All three are developing new ways to understand a very important climate issue that currently poses a lot of uncertainty: What is the impact of clouds and small particles in the atmosphere as the climate changes? The particles can be natural, such as from a volcano or from waves breaking on the ocean, or they can come from processes such as energy production. The particles form the core of clouds, which hold huge sway in how energy is shunted around the globe; the chemistry and physics involved in understanding the process are formidable. At PNNL, Easter, Ghan and Rasch are part of one of the world's top teams studying these processes.

Chemistry, energy storage, and materials science

The three scientists recognized for this work include Ji-Guang (Jason) Zhang, Jun Liu, and Yuehe Lin. Zhang and Liu focus their work on materials science and energy storage, particularly batteries that are smaller, more efficient, less expensive, and even fundamentally different than current technologies. Developing better batteries is key not only for common devices like laptops and cell phones; it's central to the world's ability to develop improved electric cars and to store renewable energy generated from wind, solar and hydropower for later use. Zhang was recognized in the magazine's engineering category, while Liu was recognized for his work in both the materials science and chemistry fields.

Lin, whose primary appointment is at Washington State University and who has a joint appointment at PNNL, was recognized for his research in chemistry. Much of his work involves chemical and biological sensors based on nanomaterials, with applications including disease diagnosis and drug delivery, and research on new materials for fuel cells and batteries.

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