man in foreground with scientific instrument in the background

John M. Carpenter (1935–2020): In Memoriam

The NERS graduate and faculty member became one of the leading experimentalists in thermal neutron scattering.

John M. (Jack) Carpenter (NERS MS ‘58, PhD ‘63), alumnus, friend, and former faculty member of the department, passed away March 10th, 2020, at the age of 84.

Dr. Carpenter led a distinguished life as a professor and nuclear engineer. During his prolific scientific career, he developed the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source at Argonne National Laboratory and the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

student works in nuclear engineering laboratory
Carpenter as a PhD student in the Phoenix Memorial Laboratory.

In 1963, Dr. Carpenter received his doctorate in nuclear engineering, just four years after NERS graduated its first class of PhD students. By 1964, he was a faculty member. During his tenure of over a decade, he made outstanding contributions toward research and instructional utilizations of the Ford Nuclear Reactor. He received a Rackham Graduate School Distinguished Service Award in 1967 and was honored with the University of Michigan College of Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award in 2001. In 2014, he gave the Richard K. Osborn Lecture.

Dr. Carpenter was elected a fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the American Physical Society, the Neutron Scattering Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi. He received the Ilya Frank Award from the Joint Institute for Neutron Studies in Dubna, Russia, and the Clifford Shull Prize from the Neutron Scattering Society of America. 

vintage Jack Carpenter portrait
Prof. Jack Carpenter

He authored more than 180 publications and technical reports, and co-authored two books: ​Living with Nuclei: 50 years in the Nuclear Age, Memoirs of a Japanese Physicist (with Motoharu Kimura, 1993), and ​Elements of Slow-Neutron Scattering: Basics, Techniques, and Applications (with Chun-Keung Loong, 2015). 

He is survived by his wife Rhonda; children John M. Carpenter, Jr., and his wife Julia Heberle, Kathryn Carpenter, Susan Carpenter, Janet Carpenter, Catherine Norden, Amy Norden and her husband Scott Osborne, Adam Norden and his wife Dana Norden; and eight grandchildren.

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