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The Scientific Basis of Detection Equipment Used at Airports

How safe do you feel when you step on a commercial jet? What’s behind the regulations and the checking of everything—bags, shoes, body scans?

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, David A. Atkinson, PhD, will discuss the scientific basis of the detection equipment used at airports. His talk will include information about the research in the laboratory and group, which he leads, that is changing the face of aviation security.

Come at 7 p.m. to the Sandra and Alan Gerry Forum, Room 010 in the Rowley Center for Science and Engineering for "The Science of Safety: Aviation Security/Explosives Detection," a lecture by Dr. Atkinson, an expert in the field of explosives detection technologies.

Atkinson holds a BS in Material Science from Penn State and an MS and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Washington State University.  He has worked for decades with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on applying detection instrumentation to aviation security.

Presently, he is a senior research scientist and manages the explosives detection R&D portfolio at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is also the technical group manager of the Applied Physics group within the National Security Directorate. Atkinson worked in trace chemical detector development in the DOE National Laboratory complex over the last 25 years, with a specific emphasis on threat detection, such as explosives and chemical weapons. In addition, he has five US patents related to detection technologies.

Come to learn and armed with plenty of questions on this timely topic. This lecture is free and open to the public. Engineers in attendance will receive a PDH-CEU.

Free parking can be found on street and in several college parking lots.

Questions may be directed to Cultural Affairs at  (845) 341-4891 and Website is

Event date, time and location.

Dorothy Szefc
Cultural Affairs