Dr. Paul DeYoung

The Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Physics, Department Chair
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Dr. Paul A. DeYoung oversees Hope College’s Nuclear Group, which is one of the longest running, continuously funded research programs at Hope. Student researchers in this group have a wide variety of options. The Nuclear Group plays a large role within two internationally recognized collaborations at the Nation Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory: the Modular Neutron Array Collaboration, which conducts studies of neutron-rich, ultra-short lived nuclei such as 25O, and the Summing NaI group, which investigates the structure of nuclei formed in neutron star mergers and supernovae. Additionally, the Nuclear Group is responsible for work done with the Hope Ion Beam Analysis Laboratory, the college’s very own particle accelerator. Work with this device includes interdisciplinary studies of PFAS, vacancies in crystal lattices, and trace element measurements of a variety of commercial and research materials.

Since joining the Hope faculty in 1985, Dr. DeYoung has taught nearly every one of the standard physics courses with the exception of Statistical Mechanics (which he hopes to have the opportunity to teach in the future). He also has developed distance learning college physics classes as well as distance learning laboratories to accompany the lecture portion.

Since 2005 he has held an endowed chair as Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Physics.

Areas of Expertise

Dr. DeYoung’ current research includes:

  • Structure of neutron-rich unstable nuclei
  • Decay properties of rare r-process nuclei
  • Ion beam analysis of materials using Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS), Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), Particle Induced γ-ray Emission (PIGE), Nuclear Reaction Analysis (NRA), and Ion Beam Induced Luminescence (IBIL).

His technical expertise includes

  • LABVIEW programming for computer control of instrumentation
  • Mathematical Methods in Physics (FFT, non-linear fitting, GUPIX, SIMRA, and GEOPIXE)
  • Development of realistic simulations of physics laboratory experiments
  • Construction of scintillating detectors for neutron and β particle detection.


  • Postdoctoral researcher, Nuclear Structure Labratory, SUNY, 1982–1985
  • Ph.D., nuclear physics, University of Notre Dame, 1982
  • B.A., physics and mathematics, Hope College, 1977
  • Associate degree, science, Muskegon Community College, 1975

Selected Grants & HONORS

  • “High Impact Nuclear Physics Research with Undergraduates” (3 years), NSF ($311,507), 2016
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2012
  • Exceptional undergraduate researcher within the Natural and Applied Sciences Division at Hope College, 2011
  • “MRI-Consortium: Development of a Neutron Detector Array by Undergraduate Research Students for Studies of Exotic Nuclei” (the lead proposal for a MoNA Collaboration request from nine undergraduate institutions totaling $1.2 million), NSF ($203,894), NSF ($203,894), 2009
  • Prize to a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution, American Physical Society, 2001

Select Publications

  • “β-Decay Feeding Intensity Distribution for 103,104mNb,” Physical Review, forthcoming
  • “Neutron Unbound Excited States of 23N,” Physical Review, 2017
  • “Search for Excited States in 25O,” Physical Review, 2017
  • “PIGE as a Screening Tool for Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances in Papers and Textiles,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods, 2017
  • “Neutron Correlations in the Decay of First Excited State of 11Li,” with J. K. Smith et al., Nuclear Physics A, 2016
  • “Population of 13Be in Nucleon Exchange Reactions,” Physical Review, 2015
  • “SuNSCREEN: A Cosmic-Ray Veto Detector for Capture-Reaction Measurements,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods, 2015

View Dr. DeYoung's other publications on his curriculum vitae.

Outside the College

Dr. DeYoung loves to go bass fishing, He plays the bass guitar with a praise band, and makes adaptive musical instruments and sensory devices for special needs children.

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Dr. Paul DeYoung

Phone Number616.395.7517

VanderWerf Hall Room 230 27 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423-3617
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