J. Pace VanDevender is the founder of Prosperity Institute, a firm dealing in the study and applications of human factors. He previously held positions at Sandia National Laboratories, where he headed the pulsed-power program from 1984 to 1993. His responsibilities in that position included pulsed-power research and development, inertial confinement fusion, nuclear weapons effects simulation, and directed energy weapon research and development. He is a member of the Naval Studies Board of the National Research Council and has served on the Carrier 21 Study, the Mine Warfare Study, and the study on implications of advancing technology for Navy warfare in the twenty-first century. In addition, he has been a member of numerous advisory boards, including the Advance Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, the Compact Ignition Tokomak of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the Directed Energy Advisory Board of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Defense Sciences Advisory Board of Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was awarded the Department of Energy's Lawrence Award for Physics in 1991.

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