Dr. Suhithi M. Peiris, a member of the scientific and technical cadre of senior executives, is Senior Scientist, Munitions Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. She is the principal scientific authority and independent researcher in the field of Enhanced Energy Effects. She initiates, technically plans, coordinates, evaluates and conducts research and development that increase the Air Force capabilities relative to this critical technological area. She supports the Munitions Directorate in technical reviews, assessment of programs and new study areas, and interacts with other Air Force and government agencies in matters relating to technology for producing, transporting, and coupling energy from munitions to targets (inclusive of high explosives, initiation sciences, damage mechanisms, penetration and fuzing).
Dr. Peiris has conducted research and led the development of research projects for the Department of Defense since 1997, when she joined the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., soon after receiving her Ph.D. Then she moved to Naval Surface Warfare Center – Indian Head Division, Maryland, where she led a group specializing in high-pressure, high-temperature effects and time-resolved spectroscopy of energetic materials and nanomaterials. In 2008, Dr. Peiris joined the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, to execute the then nascent basic research program and lead a research portfolio on “Science to Defeat Weapons of Mass Destruction.” She provided technical expertise and guidance to over 70 research projects on penetration of hard and deeply buried targets; explosives that can yield energies that are 10xTNT; energetic materials for chemical and biological agent defeat producing biocidal or chemicidal gases; modeling of explosives and their initiation, deformation and reactions of reactive inter-metallic materials, kinetics, turbulence and dispersion of agents; and simulations from quantum mechanics to micro-scale crystals to meso-scale heterogeneous materials to macro-scale weapon payloads and finally to the continuum weapon effect and lethality.
Dr. Peiris has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters and one book titled “Static Compression of Energetic Materials” published by Springer-Verlag in 2006. Her personal favorite quote “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” by Sir Isaac Newton, has kept her informed and active in the weapons community. She chaired the International Detonation Symposium in 2006 and 2010 and the American Physical Society’s Shock Compression of Condensed Matter conferences in 2015. She has been an invited speaker at several Gordon Research Conferences on Energetic Materials and on High Pressure, a plenary speaker at the 2017 SCCM and plenary speaker at several international conferences.
1991 Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1996 Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry, University of Chicago, Illinois
1. 1997 – 2000, Research Chemist, High-Energy Materials Section, Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, District of Columbia.
2. 2000 – 2003, Research Scientist, Dynamics and Diagnostics Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center-Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md.
3. 2003 – 2006, Group Leader - Static Pressure Group, Dynamics and Diagnostics Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center – Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md.
4. 2006 – 2008, Assistant Program Manager, Hard-Target Defeat Branch, Counter-WMD Systems Department, J9-Research and Development Directorate, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.
5. 2008 – 2015, Program Manager, Physical Science Group, Basic and Applied Sciences Department, J9-Research and Development Directorate, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.
6. 2015 – present, Senior Scientist, Munitions Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin AFB, Fla.
AWARDS AND HONORS
1992 Physical Sciences Division Prize for Excellence in Teaching of Undergraduates, University of Chicago
2000 Alvin Van Valkenburg Early Career Scientist Award, Gordon Research Conferences – High Pressure
2002 Invited to speak to the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Advanced Energetic Materials and Manufacturing Technologies
2008 Defense Threat Reduction Agency Employee of the Quarter, 4th Quarter
2011 Defense Threat Reduction Agency Employee of the Quarter, 3rd Quarter
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Fellow, American Physical Society
Member, Materials Research Society
(Current as of April 2018)