Thomas Quirk

Thomas J. Quirk IV is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. He operates the Radiation Metrology Laboratory, which supports radiation effects testing by measuring ionizing dose in mixed field environments and by researching dosimetric responses on irradiated materials. Tom is one of only a handful of licensed professional nuclear engineers in his state. He actively develops consensus standard test methods through ASTM and is an organizing member of the International Symposium on Reactor Dosimetry.

Tom did not realize scientist was a “real job” until winning a NASA-sponsored contest his senior year of high school. This led him to a co-op in microgravity fluid physics at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he completed more than 200 parabolas of work in reduced gravity. Tom is an avid trail runner, licensed radio operator, and frequent triathlete and SCUBA diver. Thanks in part to these experiences, he considers himself an aspiring astronaut, and hopes to someday (soon?) operate a nuclear reactor off of the planet.

In 2011, he became his laboratory’s first Fellow of the World Nuclear University at Oxford University. Following this intensive leadership development, Tom took a leave of absence to work for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, Austria. His time abroad memorably included the February 2013 DPRK nuclear test, whose radionuclide signatures were successfully detected by the international monitoring network.

He completed both a M.S. in Medical Physics and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2008 as a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow. Additionally, he also completed P.G.Certs in Computational Science and Engineering (2008, UNM) and Space Systems Engineering (2015, Air Force Institute of Technology). Currently, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife and three sons where he continues to dream of space.