Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Charles Verdon
Principal Associate Director

Portrait of Charlie Verdon

Charles Verdon is the Principal Associate Director within the Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) Directorate since May 2013. In this role, he is responsible for the management and coordination of weapons program activities within Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Prior to this position, Verdon was the Principal Deputy Principal Associate Director within WCI starting in November 2009 and Program Director for the former Secondary Nuclear Design Program and the AX-Division Leader, a position he assumed in October 2003.

Verdon holds membership in the American Physical Society where he was selected as a Fellow in 1997. He was awarded the Excellence in Plasma Physics Research Award for outstanding theoretical work, computational design and analysis, and experimental work leading to quantitative and predictive understanding of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability in high-energy-density plasmas from the American Physical Society in 1995. He has chaired numerous committees and served as Associate Editor of Physics of Plasmas from 1998–2004. Verdon earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of Arizona.

Michael Dunning
Principal Deputy Principal Associate Director

Portrait of Michael Dunning

Michael Dunning is WCI’s Principal Deputy Principal Associate Director since January 2015. Prior to this role, Dunning was the Program Director and Division Leader for the former Primary Nuclear Design (PND) within WCI. Under his leadership, PND operated a large-scale experimental facility at Site 300 and LLNL’s High Explosives Applications Facility—both are national resources for the study of high explosives, conventional munitions, and propellants. PND also maintained a vigorous code-development and simulation capability, using some of the world’s most capable supercomputers. Prior to 2006, Dunning served as the Nevada Experiments and Operations Program Leader and was responsible for the LLNL program and operations executed at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Dunning also led LLNL efforts to detect, assess, and disable unauthorized nuclear and radiological dispersal devices. Dunning joined the Laboratory in 1989 as a postdoctoral researcher. He completed his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan.

Desmond Pilkington
Program Director, Weapon Physics and Design

Portrait of Des Pilkington

Desmond Pilkington is the program director for WCI's Weapon Physics and Design (WPD) Program, whose mission is to develop and apply validated, science-based capabilities in support of the current and future U.S. nuclear stockpile, and to innovate technical solutions to anticipated national security problems. The program is responsible for assessing the performance and safety of nuclear weapon systems, and improving the science that underwrites those assessments. He is also the division leader for WCI's Design Physics Division, whose mission is to achieve the potential of our weapons science experts in support of LLNL national security programs. He brings 35 years of experience in the nuclear weapon design field, drawing on experience in primary and secondary design, as well as code development and experimentation. His past roles within WCI include: AX program director, advanced physics project leader, computational physics deputy associate program leader, and physicist. He also served on assignment to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in England, where he served as head of the High-Performance Computing (HPC) Department and was responsible for their HPC strategy, development, and delivery. Pilkington received his BSc in mathematics and his MSc in astrophysics, both from the London University and served over 20 years in various code development and management roles at AWE before joining LLNL in 2001.

Derek Wapman,
Program Director, Weapon Technologies and Engineering

Portrait of Derek Wapman

Derek Wapman is the program director for WCI's Weapon Technologies and Engineering (WTE) Program, which supports activities in stockpile weapon monitoring and weapon life extension studies. The program also conducts component fabrication development projects to maintain effectiveness of the aging stockpile and to improve safety and security. The core of the WTE Program is the Defense Technologies Engineering Division (DTED) in the Engineering Directorate, which performs design studies of nuclear warheads to ensure the readiness to implement a weapon development process is maintained. It also develops sophisticated engineering software such as DYNA, NIKE, and PARADYN and performs leading-edge modeling and analysis of complex engineering problems in solid mechanics and heat transfer.

Michel McCoy,
Program Director, Weapon Simulation and Computing

Portrait of Michel McCoy

Michel McCoy is the program director for WCI's Weapon Simulation and Computing (WSC) Program, which plays a fundamental role in the NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program at LLNL. Responsible for the strategic direction of the Livermore Computing (LC) Center, McCoy also leads the development and improvement of applications used by the nuclear design community at LLNL to support the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nuclear stockpile. These applications form the integrating element of the stockpile stewardship program, pulling advanced theory and experimental results into the codes in order to make the predictions with the confidence necessary to support certification of weapon systems. McCoy received his bachelor's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and joined the Laboratory in 1975.

Michael J. Edwards
Program Director, Inertial Confinement Fusion

Portrait of Michael J. Edwards

John Edwards is the program direction for WCI's Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program. In this role, he is responsible for the direction of the program, consistent with the needs of stockpile stewardship goals, and is the LLNL lead for developing the national ICF program roadmap. Since joining LLNL in 1998, he has led groups exploring most aspects of target physics for ICF and initially helped to lay much of the foundation for today’s high-energy-density (HED) laser program. Prior to joining LLNL, he was a group leader at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in U.K. where he was responsible for designing HED applications to study physics related to nuclear weapons. He has 30 years of experience in the application of laboratory drivers for the exploration of the physics of HED matter. He earned his doctorate from Imperial College, London, and is an American Physical Society Fellow and author of over 100 publications. Edwards received the 2014 Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award and is currently the U.S. international co-chair of the Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications conference.