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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Siegfried Hecker

Former Director, Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos Alamos, NM

ExpertNuclear Weapons and Nuclear Proliferation
Listen to Siegfried Hecker's Oral History on Voices of the Manhattan Project

Siegfried Hecker is an American nuclear scientist. He served as director of Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986-1997. He is currently Professor (Research) Emeritus of Management Science and Engineering and Senior Fellow (Emeritus) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.

In the final years of the Cold War, the United States and Russia wanted to ratify the Threshhold Test Ban Treaty that would limit the yield of underground nuclear-weapons testing to 150 kilotons. The two countries worked together to see if they could develop techniques to detect and monitor the explosive yields of underground tests. Hecker worked extensively with his Soviet counterparts on joint verification experiments to determine if sesmic waves could be used to monitor underground nuclear testing. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, he has promoted American cooperation with Russian nuclear laboratories to secure and safeguard ex-Soviet nuclear materials. His current research focuses on nonproliferation and the challenges posed by nuclear India, Pakistan, and North Korea, as well as on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

In 2009, Hecker received the prestigious Enrico Fermi Award from the U.S. Department of Energy for his scientific accomplishments and contributions to nonproliferation efforts.

Siegfried Hecker's Timeline
1943 Oct 2nd Born in Tomasow, Poland.
1965 Received a B.S. in Metallurgy from Case Western Reserve University.
1967 Received an M.S. in Metallurgy from Case Western Reserve University.
1968 Received a Ph.D. in Metallurgy from Case Western Reserve University.
19861997 Served as Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
2005 Became a Research Professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and Co-Director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.
2009 Received the Enrico Fermi Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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