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David L. Clark

David L. Clark, PhD

Laboratory Fellow Director, National Security Education Center Los Alamos National Laboratory

Not in residence


David L. Clark is a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Fellow and Director of the Laboratory’s National Security Education Center. He received a B.S. in chemistry in 1982 from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in 1986 from Indiana University. Clark was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory as a J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellow in 1988. He became a Technical Staff Member in the Isotope and Nuclear Chemistry Division in 1989.  Since then he has held various leadership positions at Los Alamos, including PI for the Laboratory’s Heavy Element Chemistry program (1993 – 2014), Solubility Task for the Yucca Mountain Project (1993-1997), Source Term Test Program for the WIPP license application (1996-1997), program manager for plutonium aging and pit lifetime assessments, (1998-2003), and leader of the Plutonium Science and Research Strategy (2009 – present).  Clark has been highly involved in service to the actinide chemistry community through organization of ACS symposia (1993-present), service on organizing and steering committees of 3 international actinide conferences including Actinides (1993-present), Migration (2003 – present), and Plutonium Futures – the Science (1997-present); the establishment and stewardship of the Seaborg Institute at Los Alamos (1997-2009); the development of the Plutonium Science and Research Strategy (2009-present); co-leadership of the chemistry investigations into the WIPP radiological release (2014-2015); and the establishment of the Los Alamos Judicial Science School (2013-present).  Clark served as Director of the Glenn T. Seaborg Institute for Transactinium Science between 1997-2009.  He has served the DOE as a technical advisor for environmental stewardship including the Rocky Flats cleanup and closure (1995-2005), closure of High Level Waste tanks at the Savannah River Site (2011), and as a technical advisor to the DOE High Level Waste Corporate Board (2009-2011). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Los Alamos Laboratory Fellow.  He is the recipient of two ACS national awards - the Nobel Laureate Signature Award (1988) and the Glenn Seaborg Award in Nuclear Chemistry (2017). He has also been honored with several Defense Programs Award of Excellence, the most notable in 2006 for his work on pit lifetime assessments for the nation. His research interests are in the molecular and electronic structure of actinide materials, applications of synchrotron radiation to nuclear security, behavior of actinide and fission products in the environment, the aging effects of nuclear weapons materials, and the education of judges on the methods of science.  He is an international authority on the chemistry and physics of the actinides, and has published over 170 peer-reviewed publications, encyclopedia and book chapters.