Natalia Zaitseva was inducted into the Science, Technology, and Engineering Category in 2015.
Natalia Zaitseva is a staff physicist in the Condensed Matter and Materials Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. During her career – first as a researcher at Moscow State University in Russia and for the past two decades at the Livermore Lab – Natalia has achieved breakthroughs in science and technology previously thought to be impossible. These breakthroughs have significantly helped to advance research in the area of fusion energy – potentially a clean and limitless energy source for the future. Her work is also having an impact in areas of astrophysics and homeland security. Natalia developed a method for growing extremely large crystals faster than ever before, mastering a process that many scientists claimed would not work. But she demonstrated that through new processes crystals from solution could be grown 10 to 100 times faster than by using traditional methods. Crystals grown using this process have been extremely useful in research performed at Livermore’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), the largest and most energetic laser in the world. There, scientists use crystals created with this method to enable fusion ignition using the NIF. Furthermore, Natalia’s research has contributed to important breakthroughs used in the detection of radioactive materials, which could have important security applications such as preventing the smuggling of so-called "dirty bombs."