Sandia Labs News Releases

Sandia Labs names three fellows

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers Jerry Simmons, Ed Cole and John Rowe have been named Sandia Fellows.

That status — stellar at Sandia and nearly as rare as hen’s teeth — is reserved for those who are nationally or internationally recognized pioneers in their fields. It is considered a promotion to the highest level of Research and Development staff, equivalent to the level of management immediately below Sandia’s vice presidents.

Sandia Fellows

Newly appointed Sandia Fellows Jerry Simmons, left, Ed Cole, middle, and John Rowe gather outside Sandia’s Joint Computational Engineering Laboratory. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

There have been only six previous fellows in Sandia’s history, five of whom are retired.

“The three new fellows have histories of sustained and equally distinguished accomplishments in their fields,” said Sandia President and Labs director Paul Hommert in announcing the appointments.

Simmons made notable discoveries in the physics that examines electron tunneling — how an electron can turn up where by rights it shouldn’t be. He is well-known for linking fundamental scientific understanding with engineering impact and has demonstrated leadership in helping to advance solid-state lighting, terahertz sources and detectors and quantum qubits.

Said Simmons, “I am honored to be recognized and thank colleagues I’ve worked with over the years. Almost everything I’ve done has been a team effort with very talented people. As a fellow I hope to spend more time working with others to explore new ideas, and then build new teams to bring those ideas closer to reality.”

Cole is internationally recognized for his widely used work in failure analysis and reliability physics. His pioneering work and leadership in applying failure analysis techniques to the most challenging national security problems has led to methods for finding almost entirely hidden defects.

Said Cole, “I am honored and excited by the Sandia Fellow appointment and the opportunity it affords to work with staff, leadership and external partners in Sandia’s national security mission.”

Rowe’s expertise and technical leadership in space-based multispectral remote sensing systems have helped shape U.S. capabilities and are widely recognized in national security fields. His deep technical understanding of national sensing and detection systems makes him a highly regarded and sought-after expert in the Department of Defense and intelligence communities.

Said Rowe, “It is a huge honor to be appointed a Sandia Fellow and I look forward to continued collaboration with my colleagues and labs leadership as we work to address current and future challenges to our national security.”

Fellows are chosen from fields that coincide with areas in which Sandia intends to maintain or grow its presence. Fellows are expected to bring the very best science and engineering to Sandia and the U.S., shape the future of Sandia’s science and engineering enterprise, expand the breadth of their influence, mentor others and maintain extensive professional networks.

Sandia’s last promotions to fellow took place in 2002 and 2003, when Gordon Osbourn (retired), Jeff Brinker and Jim Gosler (retired) were selected for their pioneering work in strained layer superlattices; sol-gel processing of ceramics and self-assembling nanostructures; and information security, respectively.

The first fellow appointment was made in 1986.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Neal Singer,,  (505) 845-7078