Lawrence Livermore National Lab Director C. Bruce Tarter today announced his intention to leave his position in 2002. His decision comes exactly seven years to the day he was named Laboratory Director by the Regents of the University of California.
"Exactly seven years ago, I began my official tenure as Lab Director," said Tarter. "We’ve accomplished a great deal during this time and the laboratory is in excellent shape. I believe that today’s anniversary is an appropriate time to start the transition to my successor."
As the eighth director of LLNL, Tarter has served longer than any other predecessor, with the exception of Roger Batzel, the laboratory’s sixth director who served 17 years.
"Bruce has been an excellent leader during a tumultuous time," said John McTague, University of California Vice President for Laboratory Management. "The range of complex issues he has encountered and dealt with effectively is truly remarkable. The tremendous turnaround at NIF is a particular highlight. The Laboratory has done well on many fronts under Bruce’s leadership.
I want to thank him for his substantial service to the University and the nation, and look forward to continuing to work closely with him in the future."
"The country owes a great deal to Bruce Tarter," said Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. "For more than 30 years, Dr. Tarter has worked to make Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory one of the nation’s leading research institutions, first as a scientist and then as a manager."
"Bruce will be missed, but his legacy will be felt for many years," said General John Gordon, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. "He has been a tireless and effective advocate for Lawrence Livermore’s scientists and staff…I’ve personally enjoyed his keen intellect and have valued his always sound advice."
During Tarter’s tenure, LLNL has had many accomplishments — including the current construction of the National Ignition Facility, the development of Livermore as a principal institution in the nation’s Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) and the lab’s significant leadership role in supercomputing. Under Tarter’s guidance, Nonproliferation, Arms Control and International Security (NAI) — the directorate that focuses on non-proliferation issues, was greatly expanded. This foresight has proven especially valuable following the terrorist attacks of September 11. Other significant accomplishments include the Human Genome Project and the partnership with the semiconductor industry on Extreme Ultraviolet Technology, the next- generation computer chip. Tarter also effectively guided the laboratory through a crucial period of security and other operational concerns.
Tarter’s announcement that he will leave in 2002 is "a decision I have accepted with regret," said University of California President Richard C. Atkinson. "For the past seven years, Director Tarter has been a strong and imaginative leader during a period of extraordinary challenges." Atkinson noted that Tarter’s leadership is a "major reason for the superb state of the Laboratory and the high regard in which it is held."
Atkinson said he will immediately appoint a committee to begin the search for Tarter’s successor. It is a process that typically lasts a number of months. "I am grateful to him for agreeing to stay on as Director until a replacement can be found," he said.
Tarter, a theoretical physicist by training and experience, has spent most of his career at the laboratory. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D from Cornell University. His career at LLNL began in 1967 as a staff member in the Theoretical Physics Division. He became head of that division in 1978.
During the 1980s, Tarter became a laboratory leader in establishing strong institutional ties with the University of California, and helped to guide the laboratory by serving as a member of LLNL’s long-range planning committee. In 1988, he joined the ranks of senior management as associate director for Physics — a position he expanded to include weapons physics, space technology leading to the Clementine mission to the Moon and a broadly based environmental program in global climate and other environmental research.
Prior to his selection as director, Tarter served as deputy director and acting director. In these roles, he led the Lab through the transition to a post-Cold War nuclear weapons world, helping to set the foundation for current programs in stewardship of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and nonproliferation, energy and environmental science, bioscience and biotechnology.
In addition to his laboratory activities, Tarter has a number of professional affiliations. He is an adjunct professor at the University of California at Davis and a long-term member of the California Council on Science and Technology, among others. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and received the Roosevelts Gold Medal Award for Science in November 1998.