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Marie Kirkegaard

Defense Threat Reduction Agency


Supervising Faculty: Brian Anderson

Marie’s research interests are in actinide chemistry, specifically as it relates to challenges in nuclear security. She currently works with Brian Anderson at ORNL using theoretical and spectroscopic methods to probe the chemistry of uranyl fluorides. Marie is also a Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellow with the Department of Homeland Security.

Marie grew up in the Chicago suburbs but moved to sunny Southern California to earn a B.S. in Chemical Physics from Harvey Mudd College. During her senior year, she split her time between coursework at Harvey Mudd and conducting research at the Nuclear Reactor Facility at the University of California – Irvine for her senior thesis. For this project, Marie designed, built, and tested a novel neutron detector using gadolinium. Past research projects include studying the phase diagrams of liquid crystal species and contributing to the development of a new code to study large nuclei.

Marie is particularly interested in the intersection of science and policy. She has taken courses on nuclear security and nuclear weapons and is interested in foreign policy and counter-terrorism. On a more local scale, she is passionate about the communication of science and is currently the Vice President of The Forum on Science, Ethics, and Policy (FOSEP) at UTK.


Bachceelor of Scien in Chemical Physics, Highest Honors – Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA


Andrew Miskowiec, Marie C. Kirkegaard, Kenneth W. Herwig, Lee Trowbridge, Eugene Mamontov, and Brian Anderson, “Quasielastic Neutron Scattering with in situ Humidity Control: Water Dynamics in Uranyl Fluoride.” (submitted)

Andrew Miskowiec, Marie C. Kirkegaard, Ashfia Huq, Eugene Mamontov, Kenneth W. Herwig, Lee Trowbridge, Adam Rondinone, and Brian Anderson, “Structural Phase Transitions and Water Dynamics in Uranyl Fluoride Hydrates.” The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2015 119 (49), 11900-11910