L. D. Percival King was an American physicist.
After receiving his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago, King became an instructor in the Physics Department at Purdue University. There King began working on the Manhattan Project as a member of the cyclotron team. In 1943, King was transferred to Los Alamos, where he worked in Don Kerst’s group on the Water Boiler Reactor. In 1944, King became head of the Water Boiler group, which was moved out of the Experimental Physics Division and into the F Division. While at Los Alamos, King observed the Trinity test, where he stood next to Enrico Fermi. His wife, Edith King, also worked at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project.
After the war, King stayed at Los Alamos and continued to work in the field of experimental power reactors. During this time, King was awarded a number of patents for different types of reactors and processes related to reactor development. In 1958, King was appointed Technical Director for the United States delegation to the United Nations International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva. King’s responsibilities included planning and coordinating the technical aspects of the U.S. delegation’s participation in the conference. King later became Chairman of the Rover Flight Safety Office at Los Alamos. King’s son Nick also worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
King stayed in Los Alamos for the rest of his life. He died there on June 5, 1996.