Sarah Wilk, a nuclear and radiochemist, serves as acting Deputy Director of the $480 million Office of Experimental Science for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Programs. She also is Director of the Stewardship Science Academic Alliances, serving with NNSA/Defense Programs since mid-November 2015.
Dr. Wilk earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry with distinction from the University of California, Santa Barbara while also conducting materials science research. She earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley with Heino Nitsche, studying odd-Z transactinide compound nucleus reactions, including the discovery of the new isotope 260Bh.
Before joining NNSA, Dr. Wilk completed postdoctoral research as a Roger Batzel fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). She conducted research in the areas of nuclear chemistry diagnostic development for the National Ignition Facility, measurements for advanced neutron multiplicity detector designs, and analysis of various nuclear systems for domestic counterterrorism applications. She also remained involved with the Livermore-Dubna superheavy element collaboration and co-discovered 14 new transactinide isotopes, including the new element Z=117, recently named “tennesine.”
Dr. Wilk also was selected as a Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow of The National Academies for Winter 2012, assisting the Board on Physics and Astronomy. She also was a staff scientist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on assignment with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in the Basic and Applied Sciences division. She has received numerous awards, including the DTRA/US STRATCOM Center for Combatting Weapons of Mass Destruction Director’s Award for Public Service, LLNL’s Excellence in Publication Award in Basic Science, and the Gordon Battelle Prize for Scientific Discovery.