Atomic Heritage Foundation

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Herbert York

Herbert York (1921-2009) was a part-Mohawk American physicist.

After graduating with a master's in physics from the University of Rochester in 1942, York went directly to work at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory connected with the Manhattan Project. He was later reassigned to the Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee to work on the electromagnetic separation of uranium-235.


Later Years

York earned his doctorate from Berkeley in 1949 and three years later became the first director of the recently created Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. In his six years as director, York oversaw a variety of Atomic Energy Commission projects, including the development of the hydrogen bomb. Immediately after his job as director ended, York was named the first chief scientist at the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he controlled space and anti-missile research. Eventually, he was given the title of Director of Defense Reseach and Engineering.

After his retirement from the Pentagon, York spent the remainder of his life championing antinuclear and anti-proliferation efforts. He passed away in 2009.

Herbert York's Timeline

  • 1983 Founded the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.
  • 2000 Received the Enrico Fermi award from President Clinton for his "contributions in nuclear deterrence and arms-control agreements."
  • 2009 May 19th Died in San Diego, California.

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