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MSEE Seminar: Dr. Marc C. Welliver, “Light Speed Grand Challenge — Accelerating Fundamental Predictions of Optical Signals from Explosive Fireballs”

July 12 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Please contact Veronica Turner for connection information.

Satellite detection of explosive sources is critical to deterring nuclear proliferation and terrorist threats. Timely and credible analysis of remotely detected signatures from nuclear detonations and conventional munitions requires advancing the state-of-the-art in explosive science and optical signal prediction. The Light Speed Grand Challenge proposes foundational research that accelerates and adds critical physics to explosive fireball simulations while quantifying uncertainty. Faster and higher fidelity explosive signature predictions will advance the nation’s ability to provide actionable intelligence on accelerated timelines, responding to rapidly evolving and unpredictable nuclear threats.

Bio: Dr. Marc C. Welliver is the LSGC Lead PI, and his research focuses on hydrodynamic and emission modeling from nuclear and conventional detonations. Dr. Welliver is an internationally recognized expert in explosive fireball modeling and optical signal prediction for Nuclear Forensics and Nuclear Nonproliferation missions. He has over twelve years of experience developing end-to-end modeling capabilities for shock hydrodynamics, reactive turbulent flow, and optical emission from nuclear and conventional detonations.

Dr. Welliver’s current research focuses on accelerating 3D fireball simulations via development of sub-grid models using physics-informed machine learning (ML) and other reduced-order techniques within a rigorous validation hierarchy. Previously at Sandia, Marc was the multi-lab lead for optical signature modeling on the NNSA quad-lab Helios venture, and the modeling lead for requirements development for DTRA’s Ground Based Optical Skyshine sensor. Dr. Welliver served as the Blue Team prompt optical lead for the Mighty Saber technology demonstration, and the Red Team prompt optical lead for the London Pride joint technology demonstration with the United Kingdom’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

Prior to joining Sandia, Dr. Welliver earned his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Welliver’s graduate research focused on electroweak Standard Model theory, particularly parity-violating observables in atomic and nuclear systems. He subsequently worked as a research scientist for six years at Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies, developing capabilities for laser- based remote sensing applications. Specific areas of research included coherent laser radar theory and design, optimal measurement theory, high-performance computing, quantum optics, and quantum information theory.