Tom Melhorn Retires from US Naval Research Lab Post

November 7, 2019

Dr. Thomas A. Mehlhorn is retiring from his post as Superintendent of the Plasma Physics Division of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington DC on November 15, 2019.

Tom is a member of the Department of the Navy (DON) Senior Executive Service with responsibility for a broad spectrum of research programs in plasma physics, laboratory discharge and space plasmas, intense electron and ion beams and photon sources, atomic physics, pulsed power sources, radiation hydrodynamics, high-power microwaves, EM railguns, laser physics, advanced spectral diagnostics, and nonlinear systems

He earned his bachelors (magna cum laude), masters, and doctoral degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1974, 1976 and 1978. Prior to coming to NRL he worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM as a member of technical staff (1978-1988); department manager (1989-2005); and senior manager (2006-2009). His research interests included intense electron and ion beams; inertial confinement fusion; high energy density physics; Z-pinch physics; dynamic materials and shock physics; and radiography. He is an author on over 160 papers.

He received the University of Michigan Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences in 2004; two NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence (2007 and 2008); a Lockheed Martin NOVA award (2004); an NRL Alan Berman Research Publication Award (1983); and was elected to the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society in 1974. Dr. Mehlhorn is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2011), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Physics (2006), and a Senior Member of the IEEE (2002).

Dr. Mehlhorn chairs the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Advisory Board at the University of Michigan, where he is also a member of the College of Engineering Alumni Society Board. He serves on the DON Space Experiments Review Board and the University of Missouri Research & Development Advisory Board. He has been a member of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Executive Committee and had a two-year appointment on the National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion Targets (2011-2012). In 2011 he earned a DON Certificate in Strategy Deployment and Execution through eCornell and in 2012 he was chosen to participate in the DON Executive Leadership Program (University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School).

Tom is moving to Portland, OR to be near his family. He intends to remain active with Boards, consulting, and being adjunct with both Nuclear Engineering at Michigan and Plasma Physics within Aero at University of Washington.

He can be reached at TAMehlhorn97@gmail.com