Sandia National Laboratories (retired)

College of William and Mary, B.S. in physics
Yale University, Ph.D. in applied physics

Julia Phillips retired from Sandia National Laboratories in 2015, serving in various positions including vice president and chief technology officer. Her responsibilities as CTO included leadership of Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, research strategy development and implementation, and intellectual property protection and deployment. As director of the nuclear weapons science and technology programs, she was responsible for programs in high-performance computing, engineering sciences, high energy density physics, and dynamic materials and for sustainment of Sandia’s mission-critical facilities. Prior to that she served as director of the Physical, Chemical, and Nano Sciences Center, which performs fundamental research and technology development in nanoscience and nanotechnology, compound semiconductors, radiation effects, and remote sensing. Areas of emphasis that emerged during her tenure include the science and technology of solid-state lighting, nanoscience (including the DOE Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies), and quantum computing. In 2005–07 she served concurrently as director of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), a DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences nanoscale science research center at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Dr. Phillips joined Sandia as manager of a materials science organization in 1995 after spending 14 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a staff member and technical manager. Her research was in the areas of epitaxial metallic and insulating films on semiconductors, high-temperature superconducting, ferroelectric and magnetic oxide thin films, and novel transparent conducing materials. Dr. Phillips is a member of the National Science Board and the NSB Executive Committee.


What are you most proud of in your work or life?

Balancing a rewarding career with a great family life and making a difference in the lives of those I’ve mentored.


What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Making music with my husband (I play flute), spending time in nature, and reading.


Do you have a personal motto or other words to live by?

In anything I do, I aim for three things: (1) Hang out with smart, interesting people; (2) Learn new things; (3) Make a difference.


Favorite snack food?

Roasted hazelnuts.

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