The Michigan Engineer News Center

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

The NERS graduate and faculty member became one of the leading experimentalists in thermal neutron scattering.| Short Read
Enlargeman in foreground with scientific instrument in the background
IMAGE:  John M. “Jack” Carpenter (Image by ORNL / Jill Hemman, Genevieve Martin)

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.

Enlargestudent works in nuclear engineering laboratory
IMAGE:  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. 

Enlargephoto of faculty member from the early 70s
IMAGE:  Carpenter's Faculty Photo

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.

man in foreground with scientific instrument in the background
student works in nuclear engineering laboratory
photo of faculty member from the early 70s
Jay Guo holds a sheet of flexible transparent conductor on the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering North Campus. The material sandwiches a thin layer of silver between two “dielectric” materials, aluminum oxide and zinc oxide, producing a conductive anti-reflection coating on the sheet of plastic.

Making plastic more transparent while also adding electrical conductivity

Michigan Engineers change the game by making a conductive coating that’s also anti-reflective. | Medium Read