R.E. Kidder

   Ray E. Kidder, Senior Advisor

Dr. Ray E. Kidder, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, started the world’s first inertial confinement fusion (ICF) program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1962. Prior to this, he was co-chairman of the design-review "Pre-mortem Committee", to critically review and evaluate designs of the nuclear warheads and bombs fielded by LLNL for testing in Operation Dominic, the last U.S. nuclear test series in the Pacific. This activity served the key function of defining the data needs remaining for accurate modeling of the physics involved. He headed LLNL’s ICF effort from 1962 to 1972. During this period, his LLNL team created simulation tools that established the implosion requirements, experimented with and assessed alternative laser technologies, developed Nd:glass technology through the Long Path Laser, and established the laser requirements that are now being approached by the National Ignition Facility. Dr. Kidder has full security clearances (Q clearance), and intrinsic knowledge of security requirements, having written many sections of the classification guide. His soundly based and balanced perspectives led him to convincing Hans Bethe (by classified mail dialog) to reverse his (Bethe’s) position from "support for" to "opposition of" the prior restraint case against the Progressive Magazine during the Administration of President Carter. In 1993, Members of Congress asked LLNL to assign him to, and assist him in, preparation of an evaluation of the continuing reliability and safety of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile in the absence of further nuclear explosive tests. This began the USA process to initiate and then extend indefinitely the nuclear test moratorium. He assisted Sen. Mark Hatfield in defining the one-year moratorium, and then assisted DOE Sec. Hazel O'Leary on its proposed extension, which culminated in President Clinton signing the currently continuing test ban extension. He received special recognition by the American Physical Society (Leo Szilard award) for his essential role in this process.