Thomas M. Semkow

Thomas M. Semkow, PhD

Environmental radioactivity; ionizing radiation measurement, mathematical modeling.

The World Within Reach
Thomas M. Semkow, PhD
Associate Professor

School of Public Health
Department: Environmental Health Sciences

Director of the Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory, Wadsworth Center



PhD, Nuclear Chemistry, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (1983)
Postdoctoral training: Nuclear Physics, Washington University
Postdoctoral training: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Postdoctoral training: Brookhaven National laboratory

Research Interests

All aspects of radioactivity present in the environment, including natural and man-made sources, carry the potential to effect our health. The Semkow laboratory applies a scientific basis for understanding emergency response to incidents involving ionizing radiation, such as accidents and terrorist acts. The laboratory is developing experimental methods to measure radioactivity in environmental matrices and biological fluids; constructing ionizing radiation detectors and testing of ultralow background techniques such as gamma-ray spectroscopy, alpha spectroscopy, proportional and liquid-scintillation counting.

Dr. Semkow is interested in the development of mathematical models to describe health-related processes occurring in the environment, as well as other physical processes. Models under review include; fractal models of the distribution of toxic trace elements and radionuclides in coal-fly-ash aerosols and soils, development of the fractal theory of radon emanation from solids, statistical theory of radioactive decay and measurement using distribution theory and stochastic processes, application of computers and networks in the laboratory and computer programming and development of numerical algorithms.