Andrew Smith
Andrew W. Smith, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Mechanical Engineering
Chicago - Downtown

Dr. Smith has a broad range of expertise in the physical sciences with a particular focus on the development of instrumentation and hardware required to detect high-energy radiation (X-rays, gamma rays), and its interaction with matter. Dr. Smith’s extensive background in detector technology, that includes work in modeling and developing detector packages (using both solid state and scintillating crystal detectors), characterizing light detectors (photomultiplier tubes and avalanche photodiodes), and the commissioning of fast (nanosecond scale) signal processing and communication electronics. During his postdoctoral work at Argonne National Laboratory, he was part of an engineering team that designed, installed, and commissioned a FPGA based trigger module for use in ground based gamma-ray telescopes, significantly improving their noise rejection. Additionally, through his participation in multiple astronomical facility construction projects, Dr. Smith has gained a background in the mechanics of large optical support structures, missile positioners, and coating/degradation processes in mirror surfaces.

Dr. Smith also has an extensive background in data modeling and analysis of large data sets, having been awarded multiple grants from NASA to conduct multi-wavelength time series analysis of astronomical objects and a grant from the Naval Research Laboratory to develop software tools utilizing advanced methods in Fourier analysis for detecting signal echoes.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Smith held a joint research faculty appointment at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland where his research activities were focused on satellite and ground based gamma-ray detectors. He has taught a range of engineering and experimental physics courses at the University of Maryland, Northwestern University, and the University of Utah.

Dr. Smith has been invited to present lectures on a wide variety of topics in physics at conferences and workshops in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has served as a grant proposal reviewer for both NASA and the National Science Foundation; as well as peer reviewer for the magazine Nature. He has served as both a primary and contributing author on over 50 peer reviewed articles in the physical sciences.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds, UK, 2008
  • M.Sc., Particle Physics, Durham University, England, 2002
  • B.A., Astrophysics, University of California, Berkeley, 2001
  • Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 2005-2008

Prior Experience

Associate Research Professor, Particle Astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Maryland, 2014-2017

Associate Research Professor, Physics and Astronomy, University of Utah, 2011-2014

Visiting Lecturer, Physics, Northwestern University, 2009-2011

Postdoctoral Researcher, Argonne National Laboratory, 2008-2011

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds, UK, 2008
  • M.Sc., Particle Physics, Durham University, England, 2002
  • B.A., Astrophysics, University of California, Berkeley, 2001
  • Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 2005-2008