Dawn Shaughnessy, contributed to the discovery of the chemical elements with atomic numbers 114 to 118

Dawn Angela Shaughnessy is an American radiochemist and principal investigator in the heavy elements group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

As a child, Shaughnessy wanted to be a doctor but became interested in science in high school and attended El Segundo High School. In 1993, she received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and joined Darleane C. Hoffman's group for her doctoral studies.

In 2000, he completed his thesis on the delayed fission of einsteinium at the Berkeley School of Chemistry and began working under the direction of Heino Nitsche at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As part of a US Department of Energy effort to clean up the environment of various harmful materials, Shaughnessy studied how plutonium interacts with manganese-containing ores.

In 2012, her group received a $5,000 grant, which they donated to Livermore High School's chemistry department.

In 2013, she was named director of the experimental nuclear and radiochemistry group and, a year later, was the editor of the book The Chemistry of Superheavy Elements.

While leading the heavy elements group, Shaughnessy partnered with the Central Institute for Nuclear Research in a team that succeeded in identifying five new superheavy elements. These were confirmed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in January 2016. As they were discovered in Livermore's lab, Shaughnessy named element 116 Livermorium.

His recent work includes nuclear forensics, in which he identifies traces of fissile material, as well as products and activation products after an explosion. His team is trying to automate sample preparation and detection, allowing them to speed up their isotope analysis.

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