Central to our country’s security is the scientific work that goes on in national laboratories, and Jeff Martin ’64 has built a stellar career working at two such facilities. A native of near Buffalo, New York, Jeff moved to Shelby on Halloween in 1952. While at SHS Jeff was a member ofHi-Y and senior class executive committee, played football and ran track. “My mother was an artist and father an engineer, and my most influential high school experience with my physics teacher, Mr. Archdeacon. The creativity of art and the discipline of physics and engineering molded me into a future nuclear engineer. I liked science and wanted to know how things worked.” That desire led Jeff to Purdue University where he earned a bachelor’s in engineering sciences and a master’s in nuclear engmeenng.
Then in 1969 military duty called, Jeff became a Marine and received training in portable generator maintenance. Once in Vietnam he was posted at Charlie Ridge, 35 miles northwest of Danang. “So much for the college degree,” Jeff says wryly. “I was a grunt in the truest sense.” Following military service, Jeff returned to Purdue where he earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering in 1976.
He then moved to Richland, Washington where he worked at Hanford National Laboratory. In 1989 he moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. While there he worked for 12 years with Russians on a facility to safely and securely store 100 tons of weapons grade plutonium extracted from their dismantled nuclear warheads in Mayak (meaning lighthouse), a government-built town in the Ural Mountains. “This fulfilled my dream to make the world a better place.” Jeff’s work on the project was recognized when he was appointed a Westinghouse Fellow.
“Science was in my bones,” Jeff adds. “I liked all my science teachers. Shelby was fortunate to have such good quality science teachers.” Still at Los Alamos, Jeff is a member of a team that is working to commercialize a process it developed to make liquid fuel from carbon dioxide extracted :from the air and hydrogen from water.
He and wife Rose have a daughter, Christina, a lawyer, and sons, Ryan and Neal, both physicists.
Soon, as he moves into his next phase oflife, Jeff plans to work with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
Nominator: Mike Johnson ’63. Presenter: Katy Martin Francis ’62, his sister.