MSE Seminar: “Nuclear Forensics and the FBI Laboratory”

Date(s) - 11/14/2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Rhines Hall 125



Nuclear forensics is the application of analytical measurement techniques on radioactive and/or nuclear (RN) materials for the purpose of supporting law enforcement. While scientists have been detecting and analyzing RN materials for over a century, it was the fall of the former Soviet Union and several high-profile RN smuggling attempts that brought attention to the challenges of using such results in courts of law.

This presentation will give a brief history of the development of nuclear forensics in the U.S. as well as the FBI Laboratory’s current nuclear forensic capabilities.


James Blankenship, Ph.D.

Forensic Examiner
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Dr. James Blankenship is a qualified forensic examiner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the FBI Laboratory, Quantico, Virginia, where he leads the examination/analysis of items of evidence containing or contaminated with radioactive/nuclear materials. Dr. Blankenship has received numerous awards, including the 2008 FBI Director’s Award for Science and Technology and the US Air Force Academy’s Outstanding Academy Educator Award. Dr. Blankenship received a BS in Chemistry from Virginia Military Institute, an MS in Materials Engineering from the University of Dayton, and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Texas A&M University.