Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA. The Fellow from the American Physical Society (APS) reward outstanding contributions to research, innovation, and the application of physics to science and technology or teaching. Six have been chosen at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Luis Chacón, Andrea Favalli, Ralph Menikoff, Andrea Palounek, Nikolai Sinitsyn and Blas Uberuaga. In the case of Blas Uberuaga, he was nominated by the Division of Computational Physics at the APS for "the development of accelerated molecular dynamics methods and their application to the understanding of radiation effects in materials, including the amorphization resistance of complex oxides, and the discovery of a new mechanism for point defect recovery at interfaces,” (see the future project that he directs).
Born in the United States and son of a Basque immigrant from Munitibar, Bizkaia, Blas Uberuaga received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Washington in 2000, and soon after joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Uberuaga uses computer simulations to study materials at the atomic scale and understand how they respond to radiation. His work provides fundamental insight into how materials respond to extreme environments such as those in nuclear reactors.
The work ethic he learned at home
He currently leads projects funded by the United States Department of Energy that examine the synergies between radiation effects and corrosion and how radiation damage impacts transport in complex materials. Uberuaga views climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing our planet and nuclear energy as one component to a comprehensive approach to tackling this problem.
In a conversation with EuskalKultur.eus, Blas Uberuaga, told us that he sees this award not only as a recognition to the scientific aspect, “but also as tribute to all of the great people with whom I have worked as well as the support of my family, in particular that of my wife Lisa Van De Graaff. My aita was born in Munitibar, Bizkaia and came to this country when he was 18 in search of a better life. He and my mother worked hard to give us opportunities. My success is largely due to the work ethic that he, like so many immigrants, instilled in me and my siblings,” he says.
Blas Uberuaga with his wife Lisa Van De Graaff and their daughter Rosetta Uberuaga
Remember that Blas Pedro Uberuaga, better known by many internet users as Buber – the creator of “Buber’s Basque Page,” the pioneer website and first virtual space dedicated to Basques, the Diaspora, and Basque culture, when studying at the University of Washington. Although the current phase of his life, his professional and family dedication consume most of his time, the website is still active on buber.net. Within the North American Basque community, Blas Uberuaga has been a leader of the Seattle Euskal Etxea, while living there and of the New Mexico Euskal Etxea, which he founded with his wife Lisa after moving there permanently in 2001.
Today there is an award in his name, the Buber Sariak awarded in the Basque Country to the best websites.
[In fact, EuskalKultura.eus (then EuskalKultura.com) received this award in 2013 for the best website in Euskera]