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News Release Archive | Awards

October 7, 2002

American Physical Society awards C. Paul Robinson
the George E. Pake Prize
Retired Sandian James Asay receives Shock Compression Science Award
Atomic Anchors
C. Paul Robinson
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Sandia National Laboratories Director C. Paul Robinson the George E. Pake Prize for his outstanding leadership and research accomplishments.

In addition, APS awarded retired Sandia scientist James R. Asay its Shock Compression Science Award. Asay retired from Sandia Oct. 1 and is now a research professor and associate director at the Institute for Shock Physics at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. He still serves as a consultant to Sandia.

Robinson joined Sandia in 1990 and became labs director and president in August 1995. He served as chief negotiator from 1988-90 and headed the U.S. delegation to the U.S./U.S.S.R. Nuclear Testing Talks in Geneva.

In awarding Robinson the Pake Prize, APS cited him “for his leadership roles as Director of Sandia National Laboratories and as head of the U.S. delegation to the U.S./U.S.S.R. arms control talks in Geneva, and for his pioneering contributions to the development of high explosives lasers, e-beam initiated chemical lasers, and molecular laser isotope separation methods.”

Said Robinson of his award, “I could not be more pleased that the APS selected me for the George E. Pake Prize. I’ve always felt that I must be one of the luckiest people on the Earth, to be able to pursue a career in physics and also get the chance to serve the nation as a U.S. ambassador. But the Pake Prize is yet another unexpected reward. I want to thank all of the people at Sandia who team with me daily to do the wonderful work of this great laboratory; I am quite sure that it was your contributions that made the difference in this selection.”

The George E. Pake Prize recognizes and encourages outstanding work by physicists combining original research accomplishments with leadership in the management of research or development in industry. The prize consists of $5,000, a certificate recognizing the recipient’s achievements, and an allowance for travel to an award ceremony.

Robinson earned a B.S. in physics from Christian Brothers College, a Ph.D. in physics from Florida State University, and an honorary doctorate from Christian Brothers University.

In awarding Asay the Shock Compression Science Award, APS cited him “for pioneering personal research in shock compression science, for leadership in developing programs and tools that have strongly impacted the field, and for leadership in the technical community.”

Asay worked at Sandia for nearly 32 years, working most of that time in the shock physics group performing research on the high-pressure properties of materials. He has a Ph.D. in physics, with a specialty in shock physics.

“Jim has always been one of Sandia’s best, and he has produced a large volume of technical work of the highest quality over his career,” said Robinson. “The recent work he did on equation-of-state measurements represents a major breakthrough in shock physics science and is of enormous value to the nation in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. As is often the case, this exceptional programmatic work is also of fundamental scientific value and will be used by many scientists in the study of astrophysics and the formation of the universe. How fitting that the APS should recognize Jim for this work and a terrific career.”

Sandia Media Relations contact: Chris Miller,, (505) 844-5550

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