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Lawrence Townsend.

Lawrence W. Townsend

Chancellor’s Professor and Robert M. Condra Professor Emeritus


Radiation physics, transport, shielding and risk assessment; nuclear and radiological engineering; theoretical nuclear physics.


PhD, Physics, University of Idaho, 1980

  • Dissertation Title: “Isobar Production in Heavy Ion Collisions”
  • Dissertation Advisor: Philip A. Deutchman

MS, Physics, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, 1970

  • Thesis Title: “The Detection of Protons Scattered by High Energy Electrons.”
  • Thesis Advisor: John N. Dyer

BS, Physics, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 1969

Professional Service

  • International Academy of Astronautics
    • Member/academician, 2020
    • Corresponding Member, Engineering Sciences Section 2, 2020
  • American Nuclear Society, 1995 – present
    • Fellow, 2005
    • Oak Ridge/Knoxville Section, Chair 1999-2000, Vice Chair/Chair Elect, 1998-99,
    • Radiation Protection and Shielding Division, Executive Committee 2003-2009
  • American Physical Society, Member, 1977 - present
    • Division of Nuclear Physics; Southeastern Section
  • Health Physics Society, 1995 – present; Fellow, 2006
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2010 – present
    • Associate Fellow, 2016
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Senior Member, 2002 – 2019
  • American Geophysical Union, Member, 2012 – present
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Member, 2013 - present
  • American Society for Engineering Education, Member, 2013-2019
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, 1999 - present

National and International Committees

  • National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), 1990 – present
    • Distinguished Emeritus Member of Council, 2010 - present
    • Council Member, 1998 - 2010
    • Scientific Committee 75 (member), 1990 - 2000
    • Scientific Committee 1-7 (chair), 1995 – 2006
    • Scientific Committee 1-24p1 (consultant), 2014 – 2015
    • Scientific Committee 1-24p2 (staff consultant) 2016 - 2019
  • Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)
    • Scientific Sub-Commission F2-Radiation Biology, 1990 - present
    • COSPAR Nominating Committee (North American Rep.), 1998-2002
  • HUGS at CEBAF International Advisory Committee, 1986 - 1995
  • Medium Energy Nuclear Data Working Group (US DOE), 1986 - 1988
  • NASA NSCORT Review Panel, 1996
  • NIOSH/FAA Flight Attendants Exposure Study Peer Review Panel, 1996
  • NASA Space Radiation Health Review Panel, 1997, 2000
  • NASA Mars 2003/2005 Space Radiation Health Panel (Chair), 1999
  • NASA Task Group to Examine Radiation Issues for Manned Lunar and Mars Missions, 2004
  • NASA Mars Human Precursor Science Steering Group, 2004
  • NAS/NRC Workshop Organizing Committee on Solar and Space Physics and the Vision for Space Exploration, 2005
  • NAS/NRC Committee on the Evaluation of Radiation Shielding for Space Exploration, 2006-2008
  • US DOE Review Committee – ORNL program review, 2010
  • US DOE Review Committee – Y12 program review, 2011
  • NASA/DARPA Manned Geosynchronous-orbit Servicing (MGS) Study Committee, 2011
  • NASA Extreme Space Weather Events Workshops Organizing Committee, 2011- 2014
  • International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Study Group 3.19, on Feasibility Study of Standardized Career Dose Limits in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and Outlook for
  • BLEO (Beyond LEO), 2013 – present
  • International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Study Group 1.15, on International Cooperation on Space Weather, 2017 - present
  • American Nuclear Society/Radiation Protection and Shielding Division Topical Meeting General Chair, 2014

Awards and Recognitions

  • Chancellor’s Professor (U. Tenn.) 2011 - 2017
  • Corresponding Member, International Academy of Astronautics (elected 2020)
  • Fellow, American Nuclear Society (ANS) (elected 2005)
  • Fellow, Health Physics Society (HPS) (elected 2006)
  • Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (elected 2016)
  • Top 2% career research citations in the world (PLOS Biology, October 2020)
  • ANS Isotopes and Radiation Division Radiation Science and Technology Award 2017
    • For leadership in developing and applying methods of radiation interaction and transport in matter for space radiation shielding and risk assessment applications.
  • ANS Radiation Protection and Shielding Division Professional Excellence Award 2013
    • For outstanding research activities including extensive publications in radiation protection dosimetry and particle transport methods related to space radiation environments
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal 1993
    • For outstanding contributions to the understanding of nuclear interactions of cosmic radiation with matter and its implications for space-radiation exposure and shielding
  • NASA Robert H. Goddard – Exceptional Achievement for Science – Team Award (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Science Mission Team) 2013
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Team) 2010, 2014
  • NASA Langley Group Achievement Award 1990
  • NASA Langley Special Achievement Award 1984, 1992
  • NASA Langley Superior Accomplishment Award 1990, 1991
  • NASA Langley Technical Excellence Award 1992
  • NASA Langley Space Directorate Best Paper Award 1992
  • NASA Langley Aero – Gas Dynamics Division Best Paper Award 1997
  • Sigma Xi 1980 – present; Sigma Xi Outstanding Research Paper (Idaho Chapter) 1981
  • Engineering Faculty Research Fellow (U. Tenn.) 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013
  • College of Engineering Research Achievement Award (U. Tenn.) 2015
  • Engineering Faculty Teaching Fellow (U. Tenn.) 2007
  • Robert M. Condra Professorship (U. Tenn.) 2001-2003, 2009 - 2017
  • University of Tennessee Research and Creative Achievement Award 2001, 2015
  • Moses E. & Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award (U. Tenn.) 2001
  • Leon and Nancy Cole Superior Teaching Award (U. Tenn.) 1998-1999
  • UT Nuclear Engineering Professor of the Year 1995-1996, 1999-2000, 2002-2003, 2007-2008
  • Whittenberger Foundation Fellow 1979 - 1980
  • American Men and Women of Science


Select Journal Articles

  • Townsend, L.W.: Quick Study: Space Weather on the Moon. Physics Today, Vol. 73, No. 3, March 2020, pp. 66-67.
  • Zaman, F.; Townsend, L.W.; de Wet, W.; Schwadron, N.; Spence, H.; Wilson, J.K.; Jordan, A.; Smith, S.; and Looper, M.D.: Calculated Doses and Spectra of Energy and Angle of Albedo Particles Emitted by the Lunar Surface. Acta Astronautica, Vol. 175, pp. 185-189, (online, May 28, 2020), October 2020,
  • de Wet, W.C.; Slaba, T.C.; Rahmanifard, F.; Wilson, J.K.; Jordan, A.P.; Townsend, L.W.; Schwadron, N.A.; and Spence, H.E.: CRaTER Observations and Permissible Mission Duration for Human Operations in Deep Space. Life Sciences in Space Research, Vol. 26, pp. 149-162, (published online, May 26, 2020), August 2020,
  • de Wet, W.C.; Ford, W.P.; Townsend, L.W.; Werneth, C.M.; and Norman, R.B.: Improvements to a Quantum Mechanical Abrasion-Ablation Model of Nuclear Fragmentation: Revised Nuclear Level Densities and Improved Ablation Code. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B, Vol. 480, pp. 115-126, October 2020, .
  • Rahmanifard, F.; de Wet, W.C.; Schwadron, N.A.; Owens, M.J.; Jordan, A.P.; Wilson, J.K.; Joyce, C.J.; Spence, H.E.; Smith, C.W.; Townsend, L.W.: Galactic Cosmic Radiation Environment in the Interplanetary Space Through a Modern Secular Minimum. Space Weather – The International Journal of Research and Applications, Vol. 18, No. 9, e2019SW002428, September 2020,
  • Looper, M.D.; Mazur. J.E.; Blake, J.B.; Spence, H.E.; Schwadron, N.A.; Wilson, J.K.; Jordan, A.P.; Zeitlin, C.; Case, A.W.; Kasper, J.C.; Townsend, L.W.; and Stubbs, T.J.: Long-Term Observations of Galactic Cosmic Ray LET Spectra in Lunar Orbit by LRO/CRaTER. Space Weather – The International Journal of Research and Applications, Vol. 18, No. 12, e2020SW002543, December 2020,
  • Zaman, F.A. and Townsend, L.W.: Radiation Risks in Cis-Lunar Space for a Solar Particle Event Similar to the February 1956 Event. Aerospace, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 107-115, April 2021,
  • Zaman, F.A.; Townsend, L.W.; and Burahmah, N.T.: Radiation Risks in a Mission to Mars for a Solar Particle Event Similar to the AD 993/4 Event. Aerospace Vol. 8, No. 5, pp.143-151, May 2021,
  • Zaman, F.A.; Townsend, L.W.; de Wet, W.C.; and Burahmah, N.T.: The Lunar Radiation Environment: Comparisons between PHITS, HETC-HEDS, and the CRaTER Instrument. Aerospace, Vol. 8, No. 7, pp. 182-190, July 2021,
  • Addazi, A.; Anderson, K.; Ansell, et al: New high-sensitivity searches for neutrons converting into antineutrons and/or sterile neutrons at the European Spallation Source. Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Vol. 48, No. 7, 78 pp., July 2021, 070501,
  • Werneth, C.M.; de Wet, W.C.; Townsend, L.W.; Maung, K.M.; Norbury, J.W.; Slaba, T.C.; Norman, R.B.; Blattnig, S.R.; Ford, W.P.; and Xu, X.: Relativistic Abrasion-Ablation De-Excitation Fragmentation (RAADFRG) Model. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B, Vol.502, pp.118-135, 1 September 2021,
  • Zaman, F.A.; Townsend, L.W.; de Wet, W.C.; Spence, H.E.; Wilson, J.K.; Schwadron, N.A.; Jordan, A.P.; and Smith, S.S.: Composition Variations of Major Lunar Elements: Possible Impacts on Lunar Albedo Spectra. Icarus, Vo. 369, 15 November 2021, (available online 23 July 2021)
  • Zaman, F.A.; Townsend, L.W.; de Wet, W.C.; Looper, M.D.; Brittingham, J.B.; Burahmah, N.T.; Spence, H.E.; Schwadron, N.A.; and Smith, S.S.: Modeling the Lunar Radiation Environment: A Comparison Between FLUKA, GEANT4, HETC-HEDS, MCNP6, and PHITS. Space Weather– The International Journal of Research and Applications, 2021 (revise and resubmit).

Select Conference Contributed Talks

  • Townsend, L.; Zaman, F. and de Wet, W.: Issues Concerning a Permanent Human Presence on Earth’s Moon. 14th International Conference on Radiation Shielding/2020 ANS Radiation Protection and Shielding Division Topical Meeting, Seattle, WA, September 13-17, 2020 (submitted).
  • Looper, M.D.; Ferrone, K.L.; Mazur, J.E.; Blake, J.B.; Spence, H.E.; Schwadron, N.A.; Wilson, J.K.; Jordan, A.P.; Zeitlin, C.; Case, A.W.; Kasper, J.C.; Townsend, L.W.; Stubbs, T.J.: Observation of Cosmic Ray Radiation Effects Near the Moon Over a Complete Solar Cycle by LRO/CRaTER. Lunar Surface Science Workshop VII Space Biology, Virtual Session 7, January 20-21, 2021. Abstract No. 2038.
  • Phipps, P.H.; Stubbs, T.J.; Looper, M.D.; Spence H.E.; and Townsend, L.W.: Radiation dosage from Solar Energetic Particles Around a Lunar Crater. 2021 Lunar Exploration Analysis Group Annual Meeting, virtual meeting, August 31 – 2 September 2021, LPI Contribution No. 2635.

Select Book Chapters

  • Townsend L.W. (2019) Space Radiation Environment. In: Young L., Sutton J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Bioastronautics. Springer, Cham
  • Townsend, L.W.: Chapter 3: Effects of Space Radiation on Humans in Space Flight. In: Space Physics and Aeronomy, Volume 5, Space Weather Effects and Applications. Anthea J. Coster, Philip J. Erikson, Louis J. Lanzerotti, Eds. AGU Books, April 2021, ISBN 978-1-119-50757-4, pp. 63-78.


Lawrence Townsend.

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