UCI Libraries - The Quest for Peace Interviews: Biography
UCI Libraries: Quest for Peace


Michael M. May

Michael M. May is associate director-at-large of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with special responsibility for long-range programmatic planning. His work has centered on the United States nuclear weapons program. During the six years he was director of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, the Poseidon and other nuclear warheads were designed. After taking leave from the laboratory, Dr. May joined the physics department at the Princeton University Center for International Studies, where he studied Soviet views on nuclear armaments and arms control and analyzed the political and technical factors which determine the outcome and value of arms control negotiations. As a faculty member of the graduate department of applied science of the University of California, he focused on the application of general relativity to astrophysical problems. He is a continuing member of the Stanford Center for International Security and Arms Control.

Dr. May has been a member of the United States delegation to the Strategic arms Limitation Talks (SALT), senior personal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for SALT, and a consultant to the National Security Council. He has also been a member of the Defense Science board and the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission.

Dr. May's unclassified papers include "On the Production of Polarized High-Energy X-Rays," "Hydrodynamic Calculations of General-relativistic Collapse," "Some Advantages of a Counterforce Deterrence," "Nuclear Weapons: Where Do We Go from Here?," "War or Peace in Space," "Should the U.S. Adhere to the SALT II Treaty?," "U.S. Consensus Policy on Nuclear Weapons," and "Arms Control in Space."

During his career as a physicist, Dr. May's research has probed the topics of high energy radiation and cosmic rays, nuclear weapons design and theory, radiation transfer theory, general relativity, astrophysics, and strategic studies. He is the recipient of the Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Award from the Atomic Energy Commission and the Distinguished Public Service and Distinguished Civilian Service medals from the Department of Defense.