Norman is the Chief Scientist at Referentia Systems, a minority-owned business based in Honolulu that develops advanced technology solutions. At Referentia, Norman has lead a variety of research and applied projects, for example, using social network analysis methods on internet router traffic to discover advanced cyber threats or applying genetic algorithms on decision trees to break the innovation barrier of self-evolving systems. Previously Dr. Johnson was at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for 25 years: as Deputy Group Leader of the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group (T-6); as Assistant to Program Manager for the Biological Threat Reduction Program Office Dr. Gary Resnick, covering all aspects of the biothreat problem – from genomics, sensor systems, epidemiology, and operations; and as a researcher in the Fluid Dynamics group (T-3). He received Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin, Madison in Rheology (polymer physics).
As a project leader and researcher, he championed projects that were challenging and often considered to be “too hard to do”, including industrial applications for Procter and Gamble – arguably the most successful industrial program at LANL, epidemiology of influenza using agent-based models and US demographics of 300 million people – resulting in a planning and response capability and approach that is now used worldwide, and a comprehensive and transparent bio-risk assessment for DHS and White House.
Norman co-chaired a study on biothreats in facilities for the National Academy of Science with Dr. David Franz, former Commander of USAMRIID. He is the recipient of a variety of honors, including a Department of Defense Programs Award of Excellence, a Department of Energy Award of Excellence for one of the top 23 DOE scientific projects from 1977 to 2000, and awards from LANL and industry.
Norman’s research covers cybersecurity, multiphase flows, fusion, combustion modelling, self-organizing problem solving, leadership and diversity in distributed systems, and developmental theories of evolution. His current area of interest is how non-objective, collective decision processes can outperform expert/unbiased methods for complex problems, under the rubric of the dynamics of social collectives with social identity.
Norman is active in community service for the last 25 years, as an officer of the New Mexico Dance Coalition – a non-profit in service of dancers and choreographers in New Mexico – and of other non-profits; as a sought-after public speaker on the importance of diversity in governments, universities, financial markets and cultures; and as a group facilitator for public and academic collective decision making.