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Martin elected Fellow of American Chemical Society

Leigh Martin, an ORNL expert in the chemistry of the nuclear fuel cycle, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Leigh R. Martin, a senior scientist and leader of the Fuel Cycle Chemical Technology group at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, or ACS, for 2023.

The purpose of the ACS Fellows Program is to recognize and honor members of the ACS for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to science and the profession, as well as their service to the ACS.

“This is a real honor,” Martin said. “It is true recognition by my peers. Many of my mentors have received this in the past, and I am honored by it.”

Martin, an expert in actinide and separations chemistry, or the chemistry involving radioactive elements, has been at ORNL since 2016 and has been a group leader since 2020. He performs and supervises research on DOE Nuclear Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration programs related to nuclear fuel cycle process chemistry.

Previously, he was a distinguished staff scientist at Idaho National Laboratory, or INL, in the Aqueous Separations and Radiochemistry Department, leading research in developing techniques to separate minor actinide elements related to advanced fuel cycle programs. He also performed research on the radiation chemistry of actinide partitioning systems and how radiolysis influences the performance of the separations.

Martin received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of York and his master’s degree in instrumentation and analytical science, as well as his doctorate in radiochemistry from the University of Manchester, both U.K. institutions. In his dissertation, he studied the effects of solvent degradation on actinide separations. He was a postdoctoral research associate with Kenneth Nash at Washington State University and worked in process chemistry for NSTS British Nuclear Fuels in the United Kingdom.

Martin was an ACS Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division Early Career Fellow and won the Fuel Cycle Research and Development Excellence Award of the American Nuclear Society, the Distinguished Under 40 Award of the Idaho Chamber of Commerce, the INL Laboratory Director Mentor of the Year Award, the INL Science and Technology Deputy Laboratory Director Human Capital Award and the Idaho National Laboratory Director Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement.

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