Joseph C. Martz from Los Alamos National Lab named inaugural Perry Fellow

Joseph C. Martz, a nuclear materials scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), has been named the inaugural William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at Stanford University.

Stanford established the fellowship in 2007 to celebrate the 80th birthday of William J. Perry, the 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997 and co-director of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) from 1988 to 1993. Perry, the Michael and Barbara Berberian professor, and CISAC Co-Director Siegfried S. Hecker currently lead the center's Preventive Defense Project, which seeks to forestall dangerous security developments before they require drastic military intervention.

In a statement announcing Martz's selection as the first Perry Fellow, Hecker said CISAC supports scholarship on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, particularly at the intersection of science and policy-making. "Your background in understanding the configuration, manufacturing, design and certification of nuclear systems [that] support deterrence and the accompanying weapons complex is of timely relevance to the evolving policies in these areas," Hecker wrote. "Of particular interest is your evaluation of the elements of agility and confidence of the weapons complex and nuclear stockpile that will facilitate further reductions in nuclear weapons, and what effect these may have on international arms control initiatives."

The new Perry Fellowship honors an early or mid-career researcher from the United States or abroad with a record of "outstanding work in natural science, engineering or mathematics...who is dedicated to solving international security problems." Martz, 44, will spend a year at CISAC conducting research on how the United States might be able to reduce the size of its nuclear arsenal by configuring the nation's weapons stockpile more securely and strategically.

"I am honored to serve as the first Perry Fellow, in particular to salute Dr. Perry's extraordinary career and dedication to making the world a safer place," Martz said.

The scientist said his work dovetails with Perry's efforts to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons around the globe. Perry, alongside former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn and Stanford physicist Sidney Drell have joined together to promote this far-reaching objective, which President Barack Obama and the U.N. Security Council endorsed in a unanimous vote last month. "Dr. Perry's focus is a world with fewer weapons," Martz said. "My goal is to find a roadmap to that world."

At LANL, Martz led projects related to nuclear weapons design and maintenance, plutonium storage and disposal, stockpile life extension and plutonium aging, nuclear operations and nuclear systems analysis. He also directed New Mexico's team in the 2005-2007 nationwide Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) design competition sponsored by the federal government.

Martz said he was first drawn to nuclear issues during his senior year of high school. He grew up in Los Alamos -- his father worked at the lab. In 1983, Martz and a group of science-minded students were invited to join a gathering marking the lab's 40th anniversary. For three days, renowned scientists from the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb, returned to Los Alamos. Martz said one of them, Nobel-winning physicist Hans Bethe, told the students about his generation's atomic legacy and that it was up to Martz's generation to find a way out of what he characterized as the nuclear trap.

Today, Martz is interested in what he calls "capability-based deterrence." As he explained in the March 2008 issue of Currents, LANL's employee magazine: "If we are extremely competent and demonstrate the capability to reconstitute nuclear weapons -- convincing both allies and adversaries that the capability is assured and agile -- that capability in and of itself becomes a component of deterrence. It's a compelling idea. Our security rests not so much on the products of our work, but on our work itself." Martz, who has worked at LANL for 26 years, plans to pursue and refine this argument at CISAC and produce a manuscript during his year in residence. Martz holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California-Berkeley.

William J. Perry and the Perry Fellowship
Perry earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Stanford in 1949 and 1950, and a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. He went on to found the Silicon Valley electronics company ESL, build a venture capital company and pursue a distinguished career in public service. At the heart of Perry's work is a commitment to bring the rigors of science to international security issues. The William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at Stanford University will pursue this commitment.