William W. Simmons


William W. Simmons
William W. Simmons
Chicago, IL, USA
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE Simon Ramo Medal


William W. Simmons was born on April 24, 1932 in Chicago, IL. He received a B.A. in Physics (Cum Laude) from Carleton College, Northfield, MN in 1953, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from University of Illinois, Urbana in 1955 and 1960, respectively.

Dr. Simmons began his career as a member of the Technical Staff of TRW Systems, Redondo Beach, CA in 1960, where, until 1971, he was involved in research and development on a variety of laser systems and concepts. From 1968-71, he concurrently served as Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA, supervising five doctoral theses. In 1971, Dr. Simmons joined the Senior Technical Engineering Staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He held positions of increasing responsibility in systems design and engineering for solid state inertial confinement fusion laser facilities, including the early development of Cyclops, Argus, and Shiva. In 1978, Dr. Simmons became Senior Technical/Engineering Manager of the $186M Nova Fusion Laser Project at LLNL, which he saw to completion and first operation in December 1984. Dr. Simmons is currently Director, Group Research, TRW Space and Technology Group, Redondo Beach, CA.

Dr. Simmons is the holder of six patents in the field. He has authored and/or coauthored over 70 articles and papers. He has led numerous symposia on the topic of Fusion Engineering and is Co-chairman of the 12th such IEEE Symposium to be held in Monterey, CA in October 1987. Dr. Simmons received the Distinguished Teaching Award in Engineering from UCLA in 1971 and, in 1985, was named one of the Top 100 Innovators by SCIENCE DIGEST for his work on Nova. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies.

Bill Simmons and his wife, Barbara, resided in Portugese Bend in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. They had three grown daughters: Sheryl, Cindy, and Shelly. Bill's leisure-time interests included golf, bridge, and playing chess by mail with his father, Walter.