Charles E. Bouldin, Ph.D.
Dr. Charles “Chuck” Bouldin, an internationally-known physicist and retired National Science Foundation program officer, passed away on April 24, 2022 at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico following a courageous 21-month battle with colon cancer.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary “Jo” Kresse Bouldin, daughters Lilly Bouldin of London, England and Kyla Bouldin of Columbus, Ohio and his sister, Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Bouldin (Randall Williamson) of Metairie, Louisiana.
During a nearly 30-year career at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Bouldin earned a reputation as a highly-collaborative and imaginative leader and scientist whose work often focused on the intersection of science and technology, to the advancement of both. He is co-author of a substantial body of work published in prestigious journals, such as Physical Review Letters.
Following the 9/11 attacks, he played a key role in Congressionally-mandated efforts to better understand how fires spread at the World Trade Center, by implementing parallel computing methods to allow engineers and others to carry out large fire simulations. This work has directly contributed to many improvements in structural engineering and fire safety.
Dr. Bouldin also led a team that built a hard x-ray beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory to alleviate a shortage of such research facilities available to materials science researchers from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, China, and Japan. As a project manager at the NSF, he oversaw an annual funding portfolio of $40 million in research awards to universities and other organizations across the nation for the construction of instruments and facilities for materials science research.
Dr. Bouldin was born in El Campo, Texas to William and Rose (Davenport) Bouldin on January 19, 1955 and grew up in a number of communities in Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana, where his father worked as an oil industry engineer and his mother taught high school Spanish. Both of Dr. Bouldin’s parents passed away while Dr. Bouldin was undergoing cancer treatment.
An Eagle Scout, Dr. Bouldin graduated in 1973 from St. Martin’s Protestant Episcopal School in Metairie, LA and earned a B.S. in Physics from Louisiana State University in 1977, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Washington in 1978 and 1984 respectively. He later served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Research Council and a Visiting Scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory. In 1998, Dr. Bouldin was appointed a Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.
A long time resident of Arlington, Virginia, Dr. Bouldin was a respected community leader, serving as President of the Arlington Traditional School PTA and a Delegate to the Arlington County Council of PTAs. He was a leading advocate for international adoptions and testified before Congress in support of the passage of the federal Child Citizenship Act.
An avid bicyclist and motorcyclist, Chuck enjoyed international travel and, following his retirement to New Mexico in 2015, exploring the American West.
Dr. Bouldin and his family are deeply grateful for the care he received from Dr. Olivier Rixe and Dr. Andrea Teague and other caregivers at Christus St. Vincent Cancer Center, as well as close friend and patient navigator Karen Gano.
The family has requested that donations honoring Dr. Bouldin be made to Angel Flight West and the Cancer Foundation of New Mexico.
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