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R. Gregory Downing

Greg develops and applies nuclear methods to solve problems of a metrological nature. Since his career began at NIST, the improvement and application of the neutron depth profiling (NDP) technique has figured prominently in his activities. He applies NDP for the study of semiconductors, batteries, fusion wall material, glasses, optical wave guides, wear studies and more. In addition, he studies lithium and boron using a variety of techniques for SRM development and studies in nutrition, toxicology, blood, plants, biological tissue, minerals, water, etc. A portion of his career has included the development and application of neutron optics and high spatial resolution neutron and particle detectors.  For this work he holds several patents. Other areas of research include radiation hardness evaluation of electronic and optical systems. He has consulted and taught for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Greg continues to mentor a number of students through to their master’s and doctorate degrees. He performed as an adjunct professor at SUNY-Albany, has presented over 100 professional talks throughout the world, and has published extensively. He also serves on a number of NIST safety and oversight committees.


  • Distinguished Alumni Award (2007) – Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri
  • “R&D 100” award (1995) shared by X-Ray Optical Systems, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and University at Albany - SUNY
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, December, (1994) (National Institute of Standards and Technology Award) - Neutron Focusing
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, December (1990) (National Institute of Standards and Technology Award) – Neutron Depth Profiling
  • National Bureau of Standards Applied Research Award (1986) – Neutron Depth Profiling

Membership and Professional Activities:

  • International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists (IUPAC)
    - Fellow (1998- present)
    - Committee membership (1992-1997)
  • Sigma Xi, The Research Society - member (1979 – present)
  • American Chemical Society - member (1982 – present)
  • American Nuclear Society (ANS) (2005-present)
    - Isotope and Radiation Division, Chair (2008-2009)         
    - Isotope and Radiation Division, Co-Chair (2007-2008)
    - Isotope and Radiation Division, Executive Board
  • Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, Associate Editor (1997-Present) 
  • The Foundation for Chemical Research, Inc., University of Missouri, Rolla, MO
    - Advisory Board Member (2002-2007)
  • NIST Committees
    - NCNR Safety Evaluation Committee, Chair
    - NIST Isotopes and Radiation Safety Committee (alternate)
Photograph of Greg Downing


Research Chemist
Chemical Sciences Division
Inorganic Chemical Metrology Group

Employment History:

  • Quality Control Technician, Farmland Industries, Saint Joseph, MO (1975-1976)
  • Lecturer, Analytical Chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (1980-1981)
  • NRC Postdoctoral Associate (1981-1983)
  • Research Chemist, NIST, (1983-1995)
  • Director of R & D - Consultant, X-Ray Optical Systems, Inc., Albany, NY (1995-1997)
  • President, R. G. D. Research, Inc., Niskayuna, NY (1997-2004)
  • Senior Scientist, NOVA Scientific, Inc. Sturbridge, MA (1998-2004)
  • Research Chemist, NIST (2004-Present), Team Leader (2007-Present)


  • Chemistry, B.S, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO (1976)
  • Analytical Chemistry, Ph.D. University of Missouri, Rolla, MO (1981)



Phone: 301-975-3782
Email: gregory.downing@nist.gov
Fax: 301-208-9279