Physics and Astronomy
Eugene V Benton

Eugene V Benton

Professor Emeritus

For over 20 years, Dr. Benton's Research Laboratory has been involved with NASA and an international group of scientist with the aim of advancing the health and radiation safety of astronauts engaged in long-term space habitation. USF radiation measuring instruments have been flown on many Space Shuttle missions and are currently flying on the Russian Mir space station.
The Laboratory is also involved with the Loma Linda University Cancer Institute in research directed toward achieving a better understanding of the interaction of high-energy proton beams with tissue and tissue-equivalent materials.
As part of an ongoing experiment with NASA, radiation detectors from Laboratory are deployed throughout the Russian Mir Space Station to sample the radiation environment in space. They are part of a NASA-Russia collaboration which includes the permanent presence of a NASA astronaut aboard the Mir and periodic Space Shuttle missions to the Mir.
To date, three sets of detectors have been deployed on Mir. The first set was part of the mission of astronaut Shannon Lucid. The second set accompanied astronaut John Blaha and the third set is part of the mission of Jerry Linnenger. Linnenger will place one of the experimental packages on the outside of Mir during a space walk to sample the radiation outside the space station. Later a Russian cosmonaut, Vassily Tsebliev, will bring the package back inside Mir and it will be returned to Earth. The internal and external radiation detectors will provide information on the radiation environment in low Earth orbit that will allow scientists to better predict radiation exposures for future space missions like that of the International Space Station, due to begin assembly in orbit in November of this year. Data is also used to assess the risk to humans posed by radiation in space.
Professor Benton also recently edited two special issues of the international scientific journal Radiation Measurements entitled "Space Radiation Environment: Empirical and Physical Models" and "Space Radiation: Results of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF)". The first special issue serves as the proceedings to a conference on the subject held in Dubna, Russia and contains some 50 articles. The second, which includes a number of articles authored by Benton, reports on the results of radiation experiments flown on NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility, a satellite that orbited the Earth for nearly six years. Elsevier Science, publishers of Radiation Measurements, recently informed Benton that the world ranking classification of the journal went from 19th to 7th in the area of nuclear science and technology. Future issues of Radiation Measurements wi11 contain the results from Benton's experiments on the Russian Mir space station.


Ph.D., Stanford University, 1968