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Q&A: Lawrence Livermore director Kimberly Budil on the evolving nuclear weapons enterprise

Named as the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March, Kimberly Budil now leads a workforce of approximately 7400 employees and manages an annual operating budget of about $2.7 billion. She is the first woman to lead the California facility and the second to head a US nuclear weapons laboratory.

Budil previously served as Livermore’s principal associate director for weapons and complex integration. She came to the lab in 1987 as a graduate student in laser programs, and she has worked in the lab’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), global security, and physical and life sciences programs. She has been detailed twice to DOE and was vice president for national laboratories at the University of California, which comanages Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. She holds a PhD in engineering and applied science from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Physics Today spoke with Budil last month.