Campbell left his position last Friday after a series of anonymous faxes was sent to officials at the Department of Energy (DOE) saying that he did not have a doctorate degree. Although Campbell finished his PhD coursework at Princeton University, he did not complete his dissertation. Campbell joined Livermore in 1977, and has won a series of awards including the Weapons Program Award of Excellence (for developing the X-ray laser), the American Physical Society Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, the Lawrence Award and the Edward Teller Award.

Campbell is officially 'on leave'. His departure comes at a time when DOE employees are facing increasing scrutiny by security officials following leaks of nuclear secrets from the US's other nuclear weapons design lab in Los Alamos.