Charles A. Gentile, 2010 Homeland Security Award

Written by on April 10, 2010 in 2010, Homeland Security Award, Researcher

Charles Gentile

Charles A. Gentile

Head, Tritium Systems Group
Princeton University – Plasma Physics Laboratory
Princeton, New Jersey

Mr. Gentile’s career spans over 30 continuous years in the field of nuclear research, fission power production, magnetic fusion energy (MFE) research, and inertial fusion energy (FE) research. He has worked in the commercial nuclear power sector in both PWR and BWR facilities.

Post 9/11, he began work on the development of the Miniature Integrated Nuclear Detection System (MINDS). MINDS is a real time, radionuclide identification system, specifically engineered for homeland security deployments.

The concept for MINDS is based upon earlier work he performed–prior to 9/11–for determining the distribution of radionuclides resident inside the magnetically confined Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor.

MINDS is valued for its ability to, in a matter of seconds, identify radionuclides at levels slightly above the ambient background. This feature provides a rapid means of assessing large numbers of packages, components, luggage and populations with minimum impact on the flow of commerce and traffic.

A main feature of the system is the ability to accurately differentiate threat materials that may be found in radiological dispersion devices (RDD), commonly known as dirty bombs, from non-threat radionuclides used in medical procedures, or naturally occurring isotopes commonly found in certain consumer products.

As a result of his work, MINDS has been successfully licensed to the private sector for marketing and deployment. Two patents have been issued for the technology. For the development of MINDS, Mr. Gentile has received the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award granted by the Research and Development Council of New Jersey; and the 2009 National Excellence in Technology Transfer Award granted by the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Mr. Gentile is a graduate of the University of Buffalo. He is a member of the American Nuclear Society, and a plenary member of the American Health Physics Society.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2010 Homeland Security Award Evaluation Committee:

  • Stephen Cass, Senior Projects Editor, Technology Review Magazine, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Cass studied experimental physics at Trinity College Dublin before relocating to the U.S. He has worked for the nature Publishing Group, IEEE Spectrum, Discover Magazine, and is currently working for Technology Review, published by MIT. He has written about security, privacy, intelligence gathering and engineering design as well as aerospace and other science and technology topics. Mr. Cass is a member of the IEEE and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts.
  • Frances S. Ligler, D.Phil.,D.Sc., USN Senior Scientist for Biosensors and Biomaterials, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.- Dr. Ligler has worked in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory since 1985. Ten biosensors based on her inventions have been produced commercially, and her publications have over 6,700 citations. She is the 2009-2011 Chair of the Bioengineering Section of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Ligler was the recipient of the 2003 Homeland Security Award in the Biological, Radiological, Nuclear field.
  • Steven D. Webster, Vice President of Advanced Technology Research and Development, AgustaWestland North America (AWNA), Reston, Virginia. Mr. Webster joined AgustaWestland North America in January 2009. He is responsible for North American Research and Technology opportunities for both the Commercial and Department of Defense product lines. He comes to AWNA from Bell Helicopter Textron and brings over 24 years of rotorcraft technology development experience.


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