Courtesy of The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Zacharia, who is credited with building ORNL into a global supercomputing power, most recently served as ORNL’s deputy for science and technology, according to a news release Thursday from UT-Battelle, the partnership that operates ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Thomas has a compelling vision for the future of ORNL that is directly aligned with the U.S. Department of Energy’s strategic priorities,” said Joe DiPietro, chair of the UT-Battelle Board of Governors and president of the University of Tennessee.
Zacharia, whose appointment will be effective July 1, was chosen through an open, competitive search by the UT-Battelle board.
He succeeds Thom Mason, who announced in February that he was stepping down after 10 years to serve as senior vice president for laboratory operations at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio.
Zacharia came to ORNL in 1987 as a postdoctoral researcher after receiving his Ph.D. in engineering science from Clarkson University.
In 2001, he was named associate laboratory director for the new Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate.
“Over the next eight years he built a scientific enterprise that brought more than 500 new staff to Oak Ridge and opened the nation’s largest unclassified scientific computing center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, a user facility of DOE’s Office of Science,” the release states.
Among the goals Zacharia outlined if chosen as director: leading ORNL to be the world’s premier research institution; building on the lab’s original sense of mission – winning World War II while pushing the boundaries of research – to reshape its creative energy for the future; celebrating a science and technology culture that encourages individuals to be the best in their fields; and pursuing institutional excellence that advances U.S. leadership in neutron science, computing, materials, nuclear science and engineering.