Mike Pivovaroff

Program Leader, Space Science and Security Program
Physical and Life Sciences Directorate
Email: mjp@llnl.gov
Phone: +19254227779


  • PhD, Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
  • BA, Physics, University of California, Berkeley, 1993


Dr. Michael Pivovaroff has over twenty years of experience developing and using space-based technologies for astrophysical observations and national security missions. After earning a BA in physics from UC Berkeley in 1993, he worked as a participating guest at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) on a sub-orbital gamma-ray telescope. From 1994 to 2000, he attended MIT, where he earned a PhD in physics for his research on the X-ray properties of neutron stars and the development of the charge-coupled devices that fly on NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. He worked in industry and at UC Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory before formally joining the LLNL staff in 2004.

During the last decade, Dr. Pivovaroff has supported or led activities for the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Homeland Security, the Missile Defense Agency, the United States Air Force, the National Intelligence Council, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and other US government agencies. From 2009 to 2010, he was a fellow at the Scowcroft Institute at Texas A&M University, where he did graduate course work in political science and earned a certificate in National Security Studies. Most recently, he has been developing and evaluating concepts and technologies for national security space for multiple US government sponsors.

Dr. Pivovaroff has held several management positions at LLNL, including: group leader, X-Ray Science; associate program leader, Space Systems; and associate division leader, Physics. In October 2014, he was named the first leader of LLNL’s space initiative, an effort created by the Lawrence Livermore director to coordinate, integrate and grow the Lab’s space security and science programs. His success led to the creation of the Space Science and Security Program (SSSP) in May 2016. He was selected as the inaugural program leader for SSSP in August 2016.

In addition to his contributions to national security, Dr. Pivovaroff remains active in the basic science and academic communities. He has (co)-authored more than sixty refereed articles and eighty conference proceedings and contributed to several community reviews and workshop reports; a full list of his publications is available from his Google Scholar page. He also edits manuscripts for journals, helps organize conferences, and serves on review panels for the DOE Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. In 2015, he was elected a senior member of SPIE for his research on reflective X-ray optics. In 2017, he was selected for LLNL’s Early and Mid-Career Recognition (EMCR) Program.