Dr. Robert E. Peterkin, a member of the scientific and technical cadre of senior executives, is Chief Scientist, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. With an annual budget of more than $300 million, the directorate is responsible for all of the Air Force research and development of high energy lasers, high power microwaves and dense plasmas, and advanced optical technologies. The directorate conducts advanced research to support the development of transformational defense concepts such as airborne lasers, sophisticated optical systems for space situational awareness, airborne high-power microwaves systems, long-range non-lethal weapons, and laser communication systems. The Chief Scientist is the directorate's senior adviser on scientific and technical matters, and is the primary authority for the technical content and quality of the directed energy science and technology portfolio. He identifies research gaps and analyzes advancements in a broad variety of scientific fields relevant to the Air Force. He recommends new initiatives and adjustments to existing directed energy programs required to meet emerging and future Air Force needs.
Dr. Peterkin received his Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill focusing on elementary particle physics and quantum gravity. He branched into plasma physics when he began his professional career in industry, developing sophisticated computational algorithms and techniques for numerical simulation of plasmas in complex geometries. He joined the AFRL in 1991 and pioneered the application of high performance computing to Air Force research applications in directed energy. After serving as branch chief and deputy division chief in AFRL's High Power Microwave Division, Dr. Peterkin became Chief Scientist of the DOD High Performance Computing Modernization Program in Arlington, Va. In this position, he was responsible for the technical execution of its $250 million annual investment in supercomputing resources, research and development. He returned to industry in 2004 to work for SAIC as a Vice President in the Intelligence, Security and Technology Group headquartered in McLean, Va. Between 2006 and 2009, he was a member the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, participating in several studies and reviews. These included the 2007 study on thermal management technology solutions and the 2008 study on kinetic precision effects, for which he served as vice-chair.
Dr. Peterkin has authored or co-authored more than 80 papers that appear in refereed journals, published conference proceedings and technical reports, and given approximately 70 presentations at scientific conferences. The New Jersey native is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Air Force Research Laboratory, and he was named an SAIC Technical Fellow in 2006. Dr. Peterkin was appointed as a senior executive in June 2009.
1976 Bachelor of Science degree in physics, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
1983 Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics and astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1. 1983 - 1989, staff scientist, Mission Research Corporation, Albuquerque, N.M.
2. 1989 - 1991, manager, Radiation Hydrodynamics Group, Mission Research Corporation, Albuquerque, N.M.
3. 1991 - 1997, group leader and staff scientist, Advanced Weapons and Survivability Directorate, Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
4. 1997 - 1999, Chief, High Power Microwave Plasma Physics Branch, Directed Energy Directorate, AFRL, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
5. 1999 - 2002, Deputy Chief, High Power Microwave Division, Directed Energy Directorate, AFRL, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
6. 2002 - 2004, Chief Scientist, DOD High Performance Computing Modernization Program, Arlington, Va.
7. 2004 - 2005, Vice President, Applied Sciences Operation, SAIC, Albuquerque, N.M., and McLean, Va.
8. 2009 - 2010, Senior Scientist, High Power Microwaves, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
9. 2010 - present, Chief Scientist, Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
AWARDS AND HONORS
1976 Elected to Sigma Xi as an undergraduate
2002 Fellow, Air Force Research Laboratory
2004 Fellow, American Physical Society
2006 Technical Fellow, SAIC
2009 Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service Award
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Physical Society
Directed Energy Professional Society
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
(Current as of May 2010)