May recognized for work on nuclear weapons and energy policy


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Michael May
Photo credit: 
Rod Searcey

Michael May, CISAC’s former co-director and a professor of management science and engineering (emeritus) at the School of Engineering, has been awarded the 2014 Joseph A. Burton Forum Award by the American Physical Society.

May, also a former director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, traveled to Savannah, Ga., to receive the award for his decades of increasing public awareness about nuclear weapons and energy policy.

May, also a recipient of the Distinguished Public Service and Distinguished Civilian Service Medals from the Department of Defense, and the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the Atomic Energy Commission, was cited by APS for his “significant and sustained contributions to technical and policy issues pertaining to nuclear weapons, nuclear terrorism, energy and environmental.”

The Joseph A. Burton Forum Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the public understanding of issues involving the interface of physics and society. May, who is a CISAC faculty member and FSI senior fellow, was CISAC co-director from 1993 to 2000. He was a technical adviser to the Threshold Test Ban Treaty negotiating team; a member of the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks; and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Mike has spent his entire career at the interface of physics and society,” said CISAC Senior Fellow Siegfried Hecker, who nominated May for the award. “He has done more than anyone I know to promote the public understanding of nuclear energy in all its forms – from weapons to electricity. His teaching and research at Stanford over the past 25 years have benefitted several generations of students.”

May has published numerous works on astrophysics and energy. His current research interests are in nuclear security, energy, environment and terrorism, and the relation of nuclear weapons and foreign policy.