Sonja Behnke

Scientist, LANL

Sonja Behnke is an early-career scientist at Los Alamos who is studying volcanic lightning. Because lightning produces optical and radio frequency signals similar to those from a nuclear explosion, it’s important to be able to distinguish whether such signals are caused by lightning or a nuclear event. As part of the global security mission at Los Alamos, scientists use lightning to help develop better instruments for nuclear test-ban treaty monitoring and, in the process, have learned a lot about lightning itself. Behnke will bring a younger perspective to the panel and can talk about how the early “vintage space” research influences her work today. (Sonja could also serve as panel moderator.)