Although rock climbing and nuclear nonproliferation seem totally unrelated on the surface, Dr. Chantell Murphy, a nuclear engineer currently based in New Mexico with over a decade of experience in both rock climbing and nuclear safeguards, has been working to uncover hidden connections between these far-flung fields. In fact, she’s even founded a whole organization, Atomsphere, focused on exploring these intersections between the outdoors and nuclear weapons. Then enter the Creative Capsule Residency, where Chantell has spent the last eight months digging deeper than ever into the relationships between her climbing world and her nuclear work. And now she’s making a film!
While some aspects of her evolution have surprised her, in a way, this was perhaps always meant to be, given that her primary work has such a strong focus on ethics and inclusivity within nonproliferation. Combining her M.S. in health physics from Georgetown and her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of New Mexico, she now helps design ethical artificial intelligence frameworks for nuclear verification.
So, given my own fixation on unexpected connections as seen in my column The Mixed-Up Files of Inkstick Media, it should be no surprise how quickly my conversation with Chantell unearthed a number of parallels between the nature of working in the nuclear space and the nature of New Mexico’s incredible climbing crags.