Texas Tech University

Distinguished Engineer Citations

Distinguished Engineer Photo: Joseph C. Martz, Ph.D.
Joseph C. Martz, Ph.D.

Joseph C. Martz, Ph.D.

Distinguished Engineer



Chemical Engineering, B.S. – 1986



At Time of Nomination in 2002

Dr. Joseph C. Martz began his remarkable career in 1983 as an undergraduate intern with the Controlled Fusion (CTR) division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1985, he moved to the Materials Science (MST) division where he began a long relationship and interest in plutonium surface chemistry and metallurgy. Dr. Martz began graduate studies in 1986 and conducted his Ph.D. research at Los Alamos on plasma processing of plutonium, a new technique for environmental decontamination that resulted in a patent of that work. In 1991, Dr. Martz rejoined the Nuclear Material Technology (NMT) as a staff member and in 1994 named group leader for NMT–5, the youngest such appointment in the modern history of Los Alamos. As member of the NMT Division, he and a colleague began an important program that brought the awareness of the Department of Energy and the Defense Board to the issue of degrading plutonium in storage environments. As a result of this work, the DNFSB made a significant recommendation that has resulted in a large complex–wide effort to stabilize plutonium in all forms and won Dr. Martz and his colleagues the first–ever Research & Development 100 award given to a purely non–commercial, nuclear weapons technology.

As a result of Dr. Martz’s research expertise in leading and forming core experiments and programs leading to an understanding of the aging of plutonium, he was appointed project leader for enhanced surveillance in 1997. Under his direction, this program expanded to a nearly $30 million endeavor at Los Alamos, encompassing the majority of weapon material activities. At present, Dr. Martz is Program Manager for Enhanced Surveillance of the major Los Alamos weapon components. During his career at Los Alamos, he published over 40 papers, is an important contributor to the Bradbury Science Museum and speaks all over the nation. He has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, the Discovery Channel and was recently recognized by "New Mexico Business Weekly," naming him one of the 40 most influential professionals under 40 years of age in New Mexico.

Dr. Martz is involved in the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Metals International, the LANL Community Speakers Program and serves on the Texas Tech College of Engineering Dean’s Council. He is also a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and a member and contributing author to the Lamborghini Club of America.

He and his wife Virginia who holds a BS in Computer Science from Texas Tech (1987) live in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Texas Tech University is honored and proud to name Joseph C. Martz as DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER.

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