Physics Featured Alumni

Benjamin Paul Luce

Class of 1989

Benjamin LuceStaff Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory;
President, New Mexico Solar Energy Association;
Co-chair, Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy

Academic Degrees:
B. S. Physics, Magna Cum Laude, SUNY College at Fredonia, 1989.
M. S. Physics, Clarkson University, 1991.
Ph. D. Physics, Clarkson University, 1993.

Research Experience:
Postdoc, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1993-1996.
Staff Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1996-present.

Professional Organizations:
Optical Society of America
American Mathematical Association
New Mexico Solar Energy Association
American Solar Energy Association

Fredonia Experience:
I greatly enjoyed my years at Fredonia. The Fredonia Physics Department was a place were one could get very solid and inspiring instruction and good career guidance, in an atmosphere conducive to deep contemplation and concentration. I found the professors very accessible, often willing to discuss a problem on a moment's random notice. I have many times wished I was still living and working in such an environment.

Professional Research Interests: I have been primarily interested in the application of nonlinear dynamical systems theory (aka "Chaos Theory" in the popular mind), especially the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations, to modeling the behavior of complex physical systems such as nonlinear waves (in optical fibers for example), ocean currents, hydrological systems, etc. Over the past five years, inspired by my exposure to climate change research at Los Alamos, I have become involved with research aimed at mitigating of climate change. In particular, I have spent time researching carbon sequestration techniques (that is, putting greenhouse gases back into the ground) and also renewable energy technologies. In addition to projects related to the topics listed above, I am presently researching ideas relating to the synthesis of carbon-based fuels, such as methane and methanol, from atmospheric carbon dioxide and hydrogen obtained from water using carbon free energy sources. My work on these "artificial photosynthesis" processes involves studying methods for extracting the CO2 from the atmospheric and the chemical kinetics of catalytically assisted processes for synthesizing these fuels. Fuels produced in this way would allow society to take full advantage of the good properties of carbon-based fuels, i.e. their ease of storage, while simultaneously not increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, and would also allow intermittent and remotely located renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to be effectively and fully utilized.

Nonprofit work:
My training as a physicist has naturally given me an intimate familiarity with energy related units and concepts, which turns out to be very valuable even outside of a strictly professional scientific setting, in particular, for doing nonprofit environmental work. This is not something I really appreciated while a physics student, and is something I'd recommend any prospective physics student consider as another good reason to obtain a solid physics education. After becoming interested in climate change about five years ago, I began examining the potential for renewable energy from a scientific and technological perspective, and quickly convinced myself that this energy source offers vast potential for near term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Since then I have been actively involved in promoting renewable energy in New Mexico, becoming increasingly engaged with an educational group called the New Mexico Solar Energy Association (NMSEA -, the oldest solar energy group in the country. After becoming involved initially as a novice volunteer, I slowly gained a good grasp of the subject, and have now been serving as president of NMSEA since 1999. Feeling that energy problems were policy related as well as economic and educational, I also became involved with a policy group called the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE -, which I now co-chair.

My activities with these groups include preparing technical information in the form of papers, presentations, and curricula (very much like a university professor would), web-mastering the above sites, administrative work, giving press releases, attending meetings between various energy related entities, conducting public outreach at many events, giving demonstrations at public schools, organizing conferences, etc. I have found this work to extremely satisfying, and very interesting and exciting, especially in this era of great technological, political, and environmental change. To gain a more concrete idea of the topical matter which this nonprofit work involves, here are some links to some of my related web-publications:

Passive Solar Guidelines for Northern New Mexico:

An report on a meeting related to solar thermal electric

A paper on renewable energy incentives in the southwest:

A typical webpage by me on renewable energy legislation in New Mexico:

A curriculum on solar energy that I authored:

PastimesCNLS center

-Quantum Measurement Theory
-Playing the piano, synthesizer, and guitar
-Hiking in the New Mexico Wilderness
-Zen Meditation
-Learning Chinese

Scientific Publications

Scaling of Turbulent Spike Amplitudes in the Complex Ginzburg-Landau
Equation, B. P. Luce and C.R. Doering, Physics Letters A (1993),
Volume 178, pp. 92-98.

Nonlinear Amplification of Solitons in High Dispersion Fiber
Transmission Systems, I. Gabitov, D. D. Holm, B. P. Luce,
and A. Mattheus, in ``Nonlinear Evolution Equations and Dynamical
Systems-NEEDS '94'', 259-265, published by World Scientific (1995).

Homoclinic Explosions in the Complex Ginzburg-Landau Equation,
B. P. Luce, Physica D, 84 553-581 (1995).

Melnikov Methods for PDEs: Applications to Perturbed Nonlinear
Schr"odinger Equations, G. Cruz-Pacheco, D. Levermore,
and B. P. Luce, CNLS Newsletter, No. 114 (1995).

Recovery of Solitons with Nonlinear Amplifying Loop Mirrors,
I. Gabitov, D. D. Holm, B. P. Luce, and A. Mattheus,
Optics Lett. 20, No. 24, 2490-2492 (1995).

Book Review: Power-Packed Dynamical Systems Software,
Complexity 1, Springer-Verlag, 47 (1995).

Low-noise Picosecond Soliton Transmission Using Concatenated
Nonlinear Amplifying Loop Mirrors, I. Gabitov, D. D. Holm,
and B. P. Luce, JOSA B 14, No. 7, 1850-1855 (1997).

On the Relationship of Periodic Wavetrains and Solitary Waves
of Complex Ginzburg-Landau Type Equations,
G. Cruz-Pacheco, and B. P. Luce, Physics Letters A 236, 391-402 (1997).

Power Enhancement with Super-Gaussian Sliding-Frequency
Guiding Filters, B. P. Luce, Optics Lett. 23, No. 10, 765-767 (1998).

Nonlinear waves and solitons in physical systems,
R. Camassa, J. M. Hyman, B. P. Luce, Physica D 123, 1-20 (1998)

Observation of chirped soliton dynamics at 1.55 microns in a
single-mode optical fiber with frequency-resolved optical gating,
F. G. Omenetto, B. P. Luce, D. Yarotskand A. J. Taylor,
Optics Lett. 24, No. 20, 1392-1394 (1999).

Genetic algorithm pulse shaping for optimum femtosecond
propagation in optical fibers, F. G. Omenetto, B. P. Luce, A. J. Taylor,
JOSA B 16, No. 11, 2005-2009 (1999).

Ultrafast Soliton Dynamics, Optics in 1999-special
December 1999 issue of Optics and Photonics News, OSA.

Femtosecond Soliton Dynamics, F.G. Omenetto, B.P. Luce,
and A.J. Taylor, IEEE-LEOS Newsletter {\bf 13}(6), 1999,
invited contribution.

Dynamics of Temperature and Electric Fields Fronts in Microwave Heating,
G. Mercado and B. P. Luce, to appear.

Modeling the Reaction Zone Dynamics of the One-Dimensional
Bioremediation Equations with Time-Delay Differential Equations
with State-Dependent Delay, B. P. Luce and R. E. Murray, to appear.

Global Bifurcation of Shilnikov Type in a Double-Gyre Ocean Model,
B. T. Nadiga and B. P. Luce, Journal of Physical Oceanography, v. 31,
pp 2669-2690, 2001.

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