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Physical Chemistry

Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry: David L. Clark

by Linda Wang
January 2, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 1

David L. Clark
Credit: Rod Searcey, Stanford, California
Photo of David L. Clark.
Credit: Rod Searcey, Stanford, California

Sponsor: ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Citation: For innovative systematic studies of the ­fundamental ­chemistry of actinide elements using novel experimental techniques that give new insights into chemical bonding of 5f electrons.

Current position: laboratory fellow and program director, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Education: B.S., chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle; Ph.D., inorganic chemistry, Indiana University

Clark on what he is most proud of: “I helped identify the chemical behavior of plutonium in contaminated soils and concretes at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site. Good scientific understanding in the public interest helped bring clarity and focus to real issues of plutonium migration at the site. This, in turn, allowed the most extensive cleanup in the history of Superfund legislation to finish a year ahead of schedule, ultimately resulting in billions of dollars in taxpayer savings.”

What his colleagues say: “Clark has made seminal contributions in synthesis, spectroscopy, chemical reactivity, environmental behavior, and electronic structure of actinide complexes. Simultaneously, he has provided scientific insight and leadership in nuclear areas of critical importance to the nation.”—William J. Evans, University of California, Irvine



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