John Mattingly Bio


John Mattingly graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) in 1992.  He was the Top Graduating Senior of the UTK College of Engineering Spring 1992 class.  His undergraduate education was supported by scholarships from the American Nuclear Society (ANS), Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), and the Alcoa Foundation.  He was inducted into the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society in 1990.

He stayed at UTK to earn his Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering in 1995.  His M.S. thesis was “Time-Frequency Analysis of Nonstationary Signals,”  and his adviser was Prof. Rafael Perez, who is a long-standing Fellow of the American Nuclear Society.

That same year, he was awarded a post-graduate fellowship from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) to continue his Ph.D. research under the guidance of Prof. John Mihalczo, UTK adjunct professor of Nuclear Engineering and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Corporate Fellow.  In 1998, he earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from UTK.  His Ph.D. dissertation was “High Order Statistical Signatures from Source-Driven Measurements of Subcritical Fissile Systems.”


Dr. Mattingly worked at ORNL from 1995 to 2003, where his research focused on active neutron interrogation measurements of SNM using fast neutron time-correlation.  From 2003 to 2011, he worked at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) conducting research on neutron multiplicity and gamma spectroscopic measurements of SNM.  He joined the NCSU Nuclear Engineering faculty in 2011.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

During his time at ORNL, Dr. Mattingly worked with several teams of scientists that:

  • Developed and deployed an active neutron interrogation system to confirm the downblending of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) removed from Russian nuclear weapons for the US-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement (1995 – 1998)
  • Conducted neutron measurements of nuclear weapons at the Pantex Plant to demonstrate their utility for verifying arms reduction for the US-Russia START III Treaty (1997 – 1998)
  • Trained scientists from the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre (VNIIEF) on active neutron interrogation techniques to measure the properties of SNM at VNIIEF facilities in Sarov, Russia, a.k.a. Arzamas-16 (1998 – 2001)
  • Conducted neutron measurements of nuclear weapons at United Kingdom Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) facilities in Aldermaston and Burghfield, UK in collaboration with AWE scientists to demonstrate their utility for verifying multilateral arms control agreements (2001 – 2003)
  • Performed neutron measurements of nuclear weapons components to track the Y-12 National Security Complex inventory (1995 – 2003)

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

During his employment at SNL, Dr. Mattingly worked with several teams of scientists that:

  • Developed and deployed radiation detection instruments and analyzed radiation measurements for the intelligence community (2003 – 2006)
  • Developed and tested new methods to infer the properties of special nuclear material by simultaneously analyzing gamma spectroscopy and neutron multiplicity counting measurements (2007 – 2011)
  • Served as an gamma spectroscopic analyst in the first-ever beginning-to-end improvised nuclear device post-detonation forensics exercise, OAK PHOENIX (2009)
  • Conducted subcritical neutron and gamma measurements of weapons-grade plutonium metal at the Nevada National Security Site Device Assembly Facility (2009)
  • Participated in emergency response exercises jointly conducted by NNSA, the United Kingdom Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), and France’s Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA) (2008 – 2011)
  • Served as a 24/7 on-call analyst for the NNSA Triage and DHS Reachback emergency response programs (2007 – 2011)

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Nuclear Engineering

Prof. Mattingly works with a team of students conducting research in:

  • Gamma spectroscopy
  • Neutron multiplicity and time-correlation
  • Neutron and gamma imaging
  • Analysis of fission chain-reaction dynamics
  • Bayesian and nonlinear optimization methods for parameter estimation
  • Sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification (SA/UQ)
  • Modern digital data acquisition (DAQ) and signal processing (DSP)

Prof. Mattingly has conducted hundreds of radiation measurements of nuclear weapons, weapons components, and other SNM in facilities across the US nuclear weapons complex and in UK, France, and Russia.  Summer 2015 – 2019, he directed the first-ever university-led measurements of Category I SNM at the Nevada National Security Site for both the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities and the Consortium for Verification Technology.

He has graduated 12 PhD students and 12 masters degree students since he joined the NE faculty in 2011.

Prof. Mattingly regularly teaches three nuclear engineering courses:

  • NE521: Principles of Radiation Measurement
  • NE541: Nuclear Nonproliferation Technology and Policy
  • NE795: Characterization of SNM

He has co-authored over 170 journal articles, conference proceedings papers, and technical reports.

More information about Prof. Mattingly’s professional experience and publications can be found on: