Joint Enchantment/San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Meeting:
Speaker - Robert Plummer, Systems Engineering the World’s Most Energetic Laser
Abstract: The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is the world’s foremost user facility for high-energy-density physics research in support of national security, basic science, and alternative energy research. NIF is the world’s largest and most energetic laser, capable of achieving temperatures (100 million degrees) and pressures (100 Mbar) relevant to research on exoplanets, plasma astrophysics, inertial confinement fusion, and nuclear weapons. The successful design, construction, and sustained high-performance operation of NIF are enabled by a strong systems engineering culture that permeates nearly every aspect of how work is done. Through a graded approach, systems engineering principles and methods are employed to manage the risks associated with integrating new systems and upgrades to the 24/7 operating facility. In this talk, we will highlight the interplay of systems engineering and project management, how applied systems engineering has evolved over time to support the needs of the program, and what it looks like to field real systems on NIF.
Speaker: Since 2010, Robert Plummer has worked at LLNL and the National Ignition Facility. He currently serves as the Chief Engineer for Advanced Photon Technologies within the NIF & Photon Science Directorate and is the Project Engineer for a petawatt class rep-rated laser upgrade being developed for the SLAC LCLS beamline. He also chairs the Systems Engineering Board at LLNL, charged with maintaining and expanding the systems engineering discipline in support of delivering trained practitioners to executing programs. He previously served as the Head of Engineering and Maintenance for the NIF Optics organization in charge of designing, upgrading, and maintaining state-of-the-art optics processing equipment. Prior to working in NIF Optics, Robert led system design and upgrades for various transport & handling systems and diagnostic platforms used to record data from NIF experiments. He holds a Professional Engineering license in Mechanical Engineering, received his Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford University, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rice University.