Dr. Michelle Shinn

Dr. Michelle Shinn was born and raised in Oklahoma, and received her Physics degrees (BS ’78, MS ’80, PhD ’83) at Oklahoma State.  She joined Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) in early 1984, working in the Laser (Y) Division, until 1990.  While there, she and her small team built a laser using radioactive trivalent promethium, one of the few times a radioactive laser has been created.  In the summer of 1990 she left LLNL to join the faculty at Bryn Mawr College as an Associate Professor of Physics, putting to use the best practices she learned at OSU. She planned a long career in academia, but the opportunity to be involved in cutting edge laser research proved to be a siren call she couldn’t ignore, and in 1995 she joined the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) as a staff scientist.   She led yet another small team to develop and operate the optical systems for three revolutionary free-electron lasers (FEL) working from the ultraviolet into the infrared; as this time the Upgrade FEL remains the world’s highest average power tunable ultrafast laser at any wavelength.  During the two decades she was at JLab, she was promoted to Senior Staff Scientist with the title Chief Optical Scientist.  While in academia and at JLab, she mentored many summer research undergraduate students.

But once again, driven by a singular, personal question, "How do I make the world better?" the call to benefit the Nation in a tangible way led her to Federal service, and in early 2016 she joined the DOE Office of Nuclear Physics.  As the Program Manager for Industrial Concepts, she is responsible for the NP Small Business Innovative Research Program.  There she works to strengthen ties with industry and the nuclear physics community in order to foster the development of commercial applications arising from nuclear physics research.

The author or coauthor of over 135 publications, she was elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society for her contributions in the applications of lasers in society.  A "child of 'why?'" she finds time to do public outreach, on a variety of physics subjects that are in the popular press, like dark matter and energy, or what the detection of binary neutron star mergers tells us about the creation of precious metals.  She also enjoys amateur astronomy, beekeeping, historical musicology, and the outdoors.