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Dr. Benton's Lab

E.V. Benton Radiation Physics Laboratory

Radiation Physics and Dosimetry Research

Dr. Eric Benton's group is involved in a broad range of research concerning ionizing radiation and its effects on matter, especially as it relates to human health and safety. Current research efforts are concentrated in three distinct areas:


  1. The radiation protection of space crews during long duration missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and on future human missions to the Moon and Mars,
  2. Proton and heavy ion cancer therapy, and
  3. The role of cosmic radiation in lightning initiation. The laboratory is not only a research laboratory, but also a teaching laboratory.

Undergraduate and graduate level courses in radiation detection and measurement make use of the lab’s equipment for demonstrations and student experiments. In addition, the laboratory is home to a number of student-led efforts to develop inexpensive, easy-to-build instruments and experiments for use by high school and undergraduate college students studying physics and related disciplines.



The laboratory was originally founded in 1969 by Professor Eugene V. Benton at the University of San Francisco. Early work focused on measuring the exposure of the Apollo astronauts to cosmic radiation during missions to the Moon and aboard Skylab, America’s first space station. The laboratory also worked closely with researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in some of the earliest efforts to use heavy ion beams from particle accelerators to treat cancer.


In the 1980s, the laboratory developed the Crew Passive Dosimeter (CPD)—a combination of two types of compact, light weight radiation detector—to measure astronaut radiation exposure aboard the NASA Space Shuttles. NASA still uses this approach to monitor the ionizing radiation received by astronauts living and working aboard the ISS. In the mid-1990s, leadership of the laboratory was transferred to Eric Benton, the son of Eugene V. Benton.


In 2005, the laboratory moved to Oklahoma State University and renamed it in honor of its founder. The Eugene V. Benton Radiation Physics Laboratory currently occupies 2000 square feet of laboratory space in the Oklahoma Technology and Research Park’s Venture I building near the OSU campus in Stillwater, OK.


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