Former intern, a ‘Voice to Tomorrow,’ wins Rieser award

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Jake Tibbetts, who interned at LLNL’s Center for Global Security Research from May 2019 to May 2020, is the recipient of the 2020 Leonard Rieser Award from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

A former intern from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) has been named the recipient of the 2020 Leonard Rieser Award from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Jake Tibbetts, who worked as a research associate at CGSR from May 2019 to May 2020, won the honor for a “Voices of Tomorrow” essay he wrote for the Bulletin.

The announcement that Tibbetts won the Rieser award, which carries a $1,000 cash prize, will be made today (Dec. 15) in a newsletter run by the Bulletin.

“It is an honor to be chosen as the Rieser award recipient,” Tibbetts said. “This article was the capstone of my work at CGSR, and I could not have written it without the support and mentoring I received during my time there.”

During his year at LLNL, Tibbetts provided support to the Project on Nuclear Gaming (PoNG), a collaboration of LLNL, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and the University of California, Berkeley. As part of PoNG, the team developed a game called SIGNAL, which serves as the first example of the large-scale, experimental gaming approach for examining nuclear deterrence and conflict escalation dynamics.

Tibbetts also performed a research project for the Lab’s Office of Defense Coordination and conducted research on the impact of quantum computing for securing national security information.

“In his piece, Jake Tibbetts accomplished the kind of deep, thoughtful and well-crafted journalism that is the Bulletin’s hallmark,” editor-in-chief John Mecklin said. “Quantum computing is a complex field; many articles about it are full of strange exaggerations and tangled prose. Tibbetts’ piece, on the other hand, is an exemplar of clarity and precision and genuinely worthy of the Rieser award.”

His paper, “Keeping Classified Information Secret in a World of Quantum Computing,” was published in the Bulletin’s February 2020 edition.

The Rieser award is the capstone of the Bulletin’s Next Generation Program, created to ensure that new voices, steeped in science and public policy, have a platform from which to address existential challenges posed by nuclear proliferation, climate change and disruptive technologies.

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