John R. Dunning, Jr.

Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy
Sonoma State University

While at SSU from 1969 to 2006, I participated in our Applied Physics program for upper division students in the areas of X-ray Crystallography, Energy Dispersive X-ray using our scanning electron microscope and the applied nuclear program.

I helped specify our Rigaku theta-theta X-ray powder diffractometer, now located in the Keck Laboratory. Software purchased in 2003 from Materials Data Inc. directly controls the diffractometer. Very powerful analysis software, Jade 6.5, assists you to identify complex unknowns using the 2004 database from the International Centre for Diffraction Data.

During 2004-6 I developed a new low level nuclear counting facility to include alpha, beta and gamma counting. For gamma counting we have an intrinsic germanium gamma detector, digital signal processor, and powerful Genie software from Canberra. A Si(Li) alpha detection system measures the alpha activity on particulates deposited on air filter paper. Beta counting uses biology's Packard liquid scintillation counter (with Dan Crocker). This beta system has low background thanks to cosmic ray rejection software.

Some of my research projects at Sonoma State:

  1. Zeolite studies with Andrew Ichimura at San Francisco State University.
  2. Nondestructive analysis of stamps with Edward Liston, formerly of SRI, and Gregory Madruga (’96).
  3. Analysis of Martian analog sediments from Acid Saline Lakes in Western Australia with Kathy Benison of Central Michigan University and Jerilynn Schisser (’03).
  4. Particulate air sampling for radioactive material with Beth Harmony (’05)
  5. Dating of geologic samples by the uranium-lead method (mass spectroscopy).
  6. Small angle neutron scattering from thin films using spallation neutrons at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, where I spent a sabbatical.
  7. Trace element analysis using neutron activation (using reactors at Los Alamos, Washington State University, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory).
  8. Biological tracers (Iodine X-ray fluorescence studies) at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, where I spent a sabbatical.
  9. The balance of my efforts while at SSU was on proprietary projects involving geothermal studies at the Geysers, OCLI and others.

As the former Sonoma State University Radiation Safety Officer, I am pleased to talk with students about radiation safety.

My lifelong interest in abundant energy for all has given birth to a course: Energy American Style: Jamestown to the Present. The first edition was sponsored by Community Education at SRJC in Spring 2011. The second edition was sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning at SSU in January 2013.