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Dr. James Peery
Dr. James Peery has made remarkable contributions to the field of computational physics and national security at several key national laboratories | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Nuclear engineering former student Dr. James Peery ’90 was named a 2020-21 outstanding alumni by the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University for his significant contributions and leadership in technological development, policies and strategies essential to national security. 

Peery graduated from the Department of Nuclear Engineering with a doctoral degree in 1990 and went on to join Sandia National Laboratories, where he worked on massively parallel computations for radiation hydrodynamics and managed a computational physics group. Peery left Sandia in 2002 to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) where he led the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program under the National Nuclear Security Administration’s stockpile stewardship program and later the hydrodynamics experiments division.

 Nuclear engineering professor of practice Warren “Pete” Miller worked with Peery during his time at LANL. “Dr. Peery’s expertise in advanced modeling and computer systems, cybersecurity and nuclear weapons is well known throughout the national laboratory complex,” said Miller. “He did an admirable job advancing Los Alamos National Laboratory’s computational program and it was clear he had a bright future ahead of him.” 

Peery returned to Sandia in 2007 but left in 2017 for Oak Ridge National Laboratory to work on national security programs. In January 2020, he returned to Sandia as the laboratories director where he provides leadership and management direction for all Sandia missions. Previously, he had directed Sandia’s Information Systems Analysis Center as well as the Computation, Computers, Information and Mathematics Center. 

He has been responsible for the development of state-of-the-art, massively parallel computational tools spanning the fields of high-energy density physics to structural dynamics. He is widely considered to be an expert in his discipline and this award acknowledges his outstanding service to the nation beyond his research field.

“Without the outstanding education and mentorship by the Texas A&M nuclear engineering faculty and staff, there is little chance that I would have had the diversity set of opportunities to support our national security.  I want to thank the nuclear engineering department and the university for providing a remarkable foundation in science, engineering and continuous learning.”

Peery has previously served on the Department of Nuclear Engineering’s advisory council and he continues to contribute to the department’s development.

“James Peery has been a strong voice when it comes to advocating for the excellence of our program,” said Dr. Michael Nastasi, nuclear engineering department head. “His insightful comments on curriculum changes and senior project designs have helped us meet the needs of national laboratories. He is clearly an outstanding leader in the nuclear research and development community.”