U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry May 31 announced that Indian American computer scientist Thomas Zacharia is the new director of the Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory, according to a U.S. Department of Energy news release.
Zacharia, who also serves as a professor at the University of Tennessee, was unanimously selected by the UT-Battelle Board of Governors as the successor of Thom Mason.
“Dr. Thomas Zacharia will be an exceptional director for Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Zacharia has proven success with academic partnerships, broad-based scientific experience, and an exceptional skill set for building relationships,” Perry said in a statement. “During my recent tour of ORNL, he also gave me insight into his vision for the future of ORNL, one of the world’s finest scientific laboratories.”
The Indian American’s career at ORNL dates back to 1987, where he started as a postdoctoral researcher, and has since advanced through a variety of roles that make him extremely well-versed with ORNL, its programs and the DOE National Laboratories system.
Most recently he served as the deputy director for science and technology at the laboratory.
According to the DoE, Zacharia has been successful in extending ORNL’s reach as one of the world’s leading research institutions, and in broadening partnerships with the academic community across multiple disciplines.
He holds two U.S. patents and is author or co-author of more than 100 publications on high-performance computing for manufacturing processes.
Added U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, “Tennesseans know that Oak Ridge provides thousands of jobs for our state and higher family incomes. Dr. Thomas Zacharia is the right person to lead the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he has already helped steer the lab to excellence in supercomputing, science and energy research, and advanced manufacturing.”
Zacharia holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India; an M.S. in materials science from the University of Mississippi, and a doctorate in engineering science from Clarkson University.
The longtime employee of the laboratory will assume the post July 1.