Lowell L. Wood

University of California
Physicist; Member, Director's Technical Staff
Lowell L. Wood Image

Lowell Wood, Ph.D. is an astrophysicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His research contributed to the international effort to achieve controlled thermonuclear fusion through the use of lasers. Under his supervision, computers were first used in the design and development of other computers, an endeavor that led directly to the development of the computer-assisted design and engineering industry. He collaborated on the development of x-ray lasers, and has been an advocate for their further development and application in the laboratory. He is best known for his role in the design, development and early-stage testing of space-based defenses against ballistic missile attack. His concept, called Brilliant Pebbles, was adopted by the Pentagon as the most technically apt of missile defense proposals. In recent years, Dr. Wood has efforts to apply the Brilliant Pebbles technology to unmanned space exploration. His work was applied in the lunar probe Clementine, which performed the first complete, high-quality mapping of the surface of the Moon.