The Eugene P. Wigner Fellowship Program was established in September 1975 to honor the Nobel Laureate (1963) and first Director of Research & Development at ORNL (1946-47). The program was formed to provide research opportunities for exceptional new scientists in honor of Professor Wigner (deceased). The appointment of Eugene P. Wigner Fellows to ORNL's staff provides an opportunity for outstanding engineers, life, physical, and social scientists to select and pursue research in an area related to national energy problems and interests. Fellows must be exceedingly well qualified in their fields of expertise and should be no more than three years beyond the doctorate. Fully competitive salaries are offered for these prestigious two-year appointments. Benefits, travel, and relocation expenses will be borne by the Laboratory.
Learn more about the Wigner Fellowship
John Canik received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering this year from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. John also earned an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, and a B.A. in physics and computer science from New York University. He received several awards as a student, including the Samuel F. B. Morse Medal and the David W. Grainger Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, and has nine publications, with two as first author.
John joins the Experimental Plasma Physics Group, Fusion Energy Division, under the direction of Don Hillis. His research plans at ORNL focus on the plasma edge in fusion experiments, modeling the particle and power exhaust from magnetic confinement devices and developing the treatment, and of the 3D geometry of these experiments.
Chris Griffin joined the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division as a Wigner Fellow working with Rick Sheldon in December 2007. He received his Master’s degree in 2004 in Mathematics and his Ph.D. in 2007 in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Pennsylvania State University.
Before joining the ORNL, Chris worked at the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory. Chris’ current research interests include statistical learning, particularly when applied to problems of learning adversarial strategy. He is currently funded by the Office of Naval Research for work in this area. Chris is also working on a program of analysis of flows in random structures and control problems that result in these systems. Outside of work, Chris enjoys exercising regularly and taking walks with his wife Amy and Beagle Phoebe.
Paul Kardol joined the Environmental Sciences Division as a Wigner Fellow working with Aimee Classen in February 2008. He received his Master’s degree in 2000 in Landscape Ecology / Animal Population Biology from the University of Utrecht. Paul earned his Ph.D. in Ecology in 2007 from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) / Wageningen University.
Paul’s current research interests include rhizosphere interactions, plant-soil feedbacks, and plant community dynamics and invasions under climate change. Outside of work, Paul enjoys biking (quite a challenge in Tennessee, he thinks…), hiking, climbing and travelling to exotic and far-away countries around the globe.
Henry Lin joined the Biosciences Division as a Wigner Fellow working with Ram Datar in January 2008. He received his B.S. in 2002 in Bioengineering from University of California, Berkeley, where he worked in Professor Arun Majumdar’s group on the development of array-based microcantilever biosensors.
Henry earned his Ph.D. in Pathology in 2007 from Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California under Professors Richard Cote and Ram Datar to continue the work with microcantilever biosensors and also developed a filter-based microdevice for enumeration and characterization of circulating tumor cells. Henry’s current research interests include the development of biosensors for diagnostic applications and research enabling platforms to tackle complex biological problems such as metastasis. Outside of work, Henry enjoys cycling, running, hiking and playing basketball.
Chris Mann is one of the most recent recipients of ORNL’s Wigner Fellowship. In 2006, he received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the University of South Florida. Chris completed an MS and BS in Physics with Astrophysics (2002 and 2001), from the University of Birmingham, England, UK.
Chris' dissertation was entitled "Quantitative biological microscopy by digital holography," was the winner of the outstanding dissertation award from the University of South Florida. His successful efforts with optics research have garnered him honors and awards such as the "Frank E. Duckwall Optics Graduate Fellowship, and the Fred L. & Helen M. Tharp Physics Graduate Fellowship. In the Image Science and Machine Vision group of the Engineering Science and Technology Division, his work will focus on biomedical imaging and digital holography. Outside of work, Chris enjoys soccer, badminton and hiking
Petro Maksymovych received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, working at the Surface Science Center under the directorship of Prof. John T. Yates, Jr. Peter earned his B. Sc. in chemistry from the Kiev Taras Shevchenko University in Ukraine.
Petro has 20 publications, with 12 as a first author, including 3 papers in Physical Review Letters, and he has received two awards for his work on single molecule chemistry and physics on metal surfaces: the Morton M. Traum Award from the American Vacuum Society in 2006 and the Wayne B. Nottingham Prize from the Physical Electronics Conference in 2007. Peter joins the Materials Science and Technology Division and the Center for Nanophase Materials Science under the supervision of J. F. Wendelken. His research plans at ORNL focus on the nanoscale phenomena in ultrathin ferroelectric and multiferroic oxide films as well as advanced scanning probe microscopy for functional imaging at the nanoscale.
Michael McGuire received his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 2006. Prior to this he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of Mississippi. During his academic career he received several awards, including the Michael A. McGuire Award for Academic Excellence, a Taylor Medal, and a Graduate Achievement Award from the University of Mississippi, and a Cornell University Fellowship.
Before beginning his work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Wigner Fellow, he spent one year at Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate. Michael’s research career has focused primarily on the discovery and characterization of new, inorganic, solid-state compounds, with particular emphasis on bulk thermoelectric materials. He has coauthored 19 publications, seven of these as first author. Michael is now a member of the Correlated Electron Materials Group in the Materials Science and Technology Division, supervised by David Mandrus, where he will continue pursuing his interest in bulk materials for thermoelectric conversion as well as exploratory syntheses targeting new materials with interesting electrical, magnetic, and structural properties
Roger Melko completed his Ph.D in physics this year from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Roger has also attained the M.A. in physics from the University of California and the M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in physics from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. In addition to several scholastic awards as both an undergraduate and graduate student.
Roger has 11 publications, including 4 Physical Review Letters and 7 as first author, in notable journals. Roger joins the Theory Group, Condensed Matter Sciences Division, under the direction of David Singh, where he will pursue his expertise in computational studies of strongly correlated many-body systems, with applications in electronic properties, low-temperature atomic systems, and magnetic materials.
Kevin Shuford received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Florida in 2003. Kevin is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, where his studies were in nanophotonics Currently, Kevin has 14 publications, including a book chapter, with nine as first author. He has also received several university fellowships and awards for his achievements in chemical physics and inorganic chemistry.
In August 2006, Kevin joined the Laser Spectroscopy and Chemical Microtechnology Group in the Chemical Sciences Division, Working with Bob Shaw. His Research plans include investigation of nanoparticle4 coupling mechanism, energy transfer in complex architectures, nanoparticle based sensing devices, and theoretical method development.
Athena Safa-Sefat joined the Materials Sciences and Technology Division as a Wigner Fellow in December 2007. She is in Correlated Electron Materials Group, working with David Mandrus. She received her B.S. in 2001 and her Ph.D. in 2005 at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), in Solid State Chemistry. Her doctorate thesis was completed under John Greeden’s supervision and on the magnetic and electronic transitions of vacancy-doped oxide materials.
Prior to joining ORNL, Athena worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Ames Laboratory (Ames, Iowa) in Paul Canfield’s Condensed Matter Physics Group for ~ 2 years. At Ames, her research focused on intermetallic crystals, their structures, and magnetic and transport properties. To date, she has coauthored 20 publications. Athena’s current research interests include the syntheses of new and improved functional oxides, in polycrystalline and single crystal forms. Outside of work, she enjoys outdoor activities, the company of friends, and spending time with her dog, Max.
Paul Snijders joined the Materials Science and Technology Division as a Wigner Fellow in January 2007. He received his Ph.D in 2006 in low dimensional condensed matter systems from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. As a student, Paul was a 2006 recipient of the Wayne B. Nottingham Prize at the Physical Electronics Conference.
In the Low-Dimensional Materials Physics group in the Materials Science & Technology Division, his work with John Wendelken will focus on spin-order in highly correlated electron systems at surfaces using state-of-the-art scanning probe techniques.
Outside of work, Paul, who is originally from The Netherlands, enjoys photography and riding motorcycles.