Tony Mezzacappa, a leader in the field of computational astrophysics and supernova science, has been named director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS) at University of Tennessee (UT) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Mezzacappa is UT-Battelle Corporate Fellow and group leader for theoretical physics in the Physics Division at ORNL and joint professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UT. With this new position, he will become the department’s Newton W. and Wilma C. Thomas Endowed Chair in Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics.
UT and ORNL established JICS to advance scientific discovery, state-of-the-art engineering and knowledge of computational modelling and simulation. It does this by taking full advantage of petascale computers housed at ORNL and educating a new generation of scientists and engineers well versed in computational modelling and simulation.
At ORNL, Mezzacappa directed the Terascale Supernova Initiative for five years, leading the multi-million dollar, multi-year US Department of Energy initiative involving several dozen researchers at institutions around the world. He has been involved in several community outreach efforts, including being a founding member of the Sequoyah Elementary Foundation and leading a major IT upgrade for Sequoyah Elementary School that saw Activboards installed in every classroom.
‘Dr Mezzacappa’s exceptional strengths as a research leader will be a valuable asset for JICS as UT and ORNL continue working to achieve our shared goals in research and education,’ said ORNL director, Thomas E. Mason. ‘As the power of computational simulation increases, JICS will play an important role in the development of researchers with the skills needed to harness this power and tackle the kinds of challenging problems that Dr Mezzacappa has successfully solved.’
Prior to UT and ORNL, Mezzacappa held positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his doctorate in 1988 from the University of Texas. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and received a Department of Energy Young Scientist Award. In addition, he received the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from President Bill Clinton in 1999.