Shane Fogerty ’09
Photo by Steve Davis

Fogerty earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Rochester and is a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, leading teams of researchers and students in innovative scientific projects. He is a national and international conference speaker and a published author in numerous prestigious scientific journals across multiple disciplines.

His research on physics simulations has contributed to the responsible stewardship of our nation’s nuclear stockpile and the nonproliferation of nuclear arms. As a mentor and teacher, Fogerty created learning environments that allowed students to thrive and as a result has been awarded multiple teaching commendations from his alma maters.

Why did you attend Knox?

I chose to attend Knox because when I first visited I was really inspired by the people that I met, the energetic students, the dynamic staff and everything that they were doing, the ideas that they were putting together and the kind of determination they had to make a difference. How they put their learning into practice was just really inspiring. I wanted to be a part of that.

What does a scientist at Los Alamos do?

As a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, I’m involved in a lot of different cutting-edge research. One day I might be working on planetary defense, how to nuke asteroids so that they don’t harm the planet, and, the next day, I might be making supercomputers faster. I work with large teams of diverse groups of people. I work on supercomputing codes in order to simulate things faster, like hurricane tracking models, which can help warn people faster when a hurricane is imminent and where that hurricane is going to be. We also do climate change models to see the increasing effects of climate change. That's just kind of a grab bag of the things I've been doing.

The research I like most is when things go from theoretical to having an impact on our everyday lives. So if you make your physics simulations more accurate or faster, it could potentially save lives. What I like best is when it merges with the real world. It’s a lot of responsibility, but also it’s really cool to make an impact.

What is your advice for Knox students interested in science?

You have access to some of the leading scientists in the world here at Knox, and some really great professors, who take an interest in you. I would take advantage of that opportunity to form a relationship with them, do some research with them, ask them about their experiences in graduate school and being scientists. Just take advantage of the opportunities you have here. That doesn’t exist everywhere. You can have a barbecue with your professor or get invited over to their house and really get to know them. So that is pretty special.

Video by Dakota Pruemer