Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress
499 Van Buren Street, Rm. 210
(831) 647-4638

Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress is a scientist-in-residence and adjunct professor. Previously he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy, as well as at Princeton University’s Physics Department, specializing on rare signal detection, primarily neutrino detection. He was a member of the SNO Collaboration that won the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics. He is also a laureate along with his team of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Physics
After a rewarding career as an experimental physicist he switched fields to physics in the public service. He became a professional specialist at the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security, working on particle simulations for checking the declared HEU inventories of naval-reactor cores. At the Institute, he focuses on the proliferation of fissile materials, nuclear spent fuel management, emerging technologies and verification of nuclear weapons. He also teaches a course on Nuclear Treaty Verification using avatar-based virtual reality to simulate the protocol for the verification of nuclear weapons and is the coordinator of a dedicated course on the science and technology of nonproliferation and terrorism studies. He has contributed to more than 40 articles in refereed and non-refereed journals.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

This course provides students with a solid foundation in scientific and technical fundamentals critical to nonproliferation and terrorism policy analysis. Such policy analyses often require strong foundational knowledge of basic scientific and technical concepts in order to understand, create, and inform policy decisions. The course begins with an introduction to science and the scientific method and then evolves into the three main areas: biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and relevant technologies. Topics covered in the biological component include fundamental concepts related to microorganisms, DNA, RNA, proteins, and processes of infection and disease. Topics covered in the chemistry component include fundamental concepts related to atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical structural representations, functional groups, reactivity, toxicity, as well as modern separation, purification and analytic techniques commonly used for chemical species. Applications of the fundamental concepts in the first two topics are further developed in relation to features of chemical and biological weapons and warfare, including agents, delivery methods and effects. Topics covered in the nuclear component part of the course includes radioactivity, uranium, nuclear weapons, radiation detection instrumentation and applications, environmental plumes, and various instrumentation and analysis techniques. Upon completion of this course students will have a deeper appreciation for the debate on various verification solutions that have been proposed for compliance under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and nuclear treaties.

Fall 2018 - MIIS, Spring 2019 - MIIS, Fall 2019 - MIIS, Spring 2020 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

This course is divided into two components. The first is an introduction to ballistic missiles including discussions about why missiles matter and the history of their development, rocket components, propulsion, steering, guidance, structure, launchers, trajectories and cruise missiles. Then we will start to apply what we have learned to understand the current status of ballistic missile defense. How difficult is it to hit a bullet with a bullet? We will discuss defense-in-depth and layered defense, defended footprint and radars, boost-phase, mid-course and terminal-phase intercepts, discrimination of warheads and decoys, missile defense effectiveness modelling and evaluating testing, drone-based and space-based missile defense, and cost and status of programs around the world. It is recommended that students will have taken the Science for Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies course but a handout will be given before the course starts as a refresher of the main concepts. This will be a pass/fail course.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop, Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Areas of Interest

I teach courses and do research relating physics to emerging issues in the nonproliferation and terrorism fields. I believe as Jonathan Foley, the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences, has said that a “healthy democracy depends on science” which is the reason why I am keenly interested in science communication. Students at MIIS do amazing things. I want to make sure they can speak the language of science well enough, so they can use it effectively in their future positions when required.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD & MSc in high energy physics, Carleton University, Canada (specializing in ultra-low radioactivity background detectors related to astroparticle physics, primarily neutrino physics)

Dr. Dalnoki-Veress has been teaching at the Institute since 2009.


  • Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, “Primarily Positive Perceptions: A Survey of Research Reactor Operators on the Benefits and Pitfalls of Converting From HEU to LEU” (paper presented at the European Research Reactor Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, April 1, 2014).
  • Dalnoki-Veress, Ferenc; Miles Pomper, "Dealing with South Korea's Spent Fuel Challenges without Pyroprocessing" Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association. July/August 2013
  • Direct Measurement of the Be-7 Solar Neutrino Flux with 192 Days of Borexino Data, C. Arpesella et al. (Borexino Collaboration). 2008. 6pp. Phys. Rev. Lett.,101:091302,2008
  • A Germanium Spectrometer for Routine Characterization of Samples with the Sensitivity of Double Beta Decay Spectrometers, G. Rugel et al. Nuclear Physics B – Neutrino 2004 Proceedings Supplements, Volume 143, June 2005, Page 564, 2005.
  • Direct Evidence for Neutrino Flavor Transformation from Neutral-Current Interactions in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, Q.R. Ahmad et al. (The SNO Collaboration), Phys. Rev. Lett., 89, 011301, 2002.
  • Measurement of Day and Night Neutrino Energy Spectra at SNO and Constraints on Neutrino Mixing Parameters, Q.R. Ahmad et al. (The SNO Collaboration), Phys. Rev. Lett., 89, 011302, 2002.
  • Measurement of the Rate of νe + d → p + p + e − Interactions Produced by 8 B Solar Neutrinos at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, Q.R. Ahmad et al. (The SNO Collaboration), Phys. Rev. Lett., 87, 071301, 2001.