Dr. Paul L White (MS 1964)

Dr. White is owner and president of the Sturbridge, Mass.-based company Nova Scientific, Inc., a leader in scientific detector development and technology, particularly highly innovative systems capable of detecting neutrons.

In addition to detecting the presence of neutrons, Nova also specializes in the use of neutron imaging as an alternative to X-rays for scientific research and development.

“When you think of X-rays, the areas that are dense appear appear more opaque than the areas that are less dense,” White explained. “But neutron imaging can be complimentary to X-rays in that it can go through 10 inches of steel and still see small cracks that might be present. We can see things with neutrons that we couldn’t see with X-rays.”

White’s company conducts R&D on systems to enhance the detection of neutrons, X-ray and gamma ray photons, as well as ions and electrons. Combined with electron amplification and electronic readouts, these systems are being directed to such varied applications as energy-efficient fuel cell development and fundamental medical and scientific research, in addition to those involving homeland security.

Prior to launching his own company, White was at Owens-Illinois for 20 years, including two years he spent obtaining his Ph.D at the University of Michigan. He spent the next 10 years at Galileo Electro-Optics, a leader in supplying night vision technology to companies that make those devices. He was vice president of product development and also was “general manager of about half the company.”

When White left Galileo, he planned on taking a three-year sabbatical. He had barely had time to kick his feet up and relax before the next “big thing” arrived. Perhaps the biggest business lesson the scientist learned at Galileo and Nova is that “you have to make sure you operate your business in a straightforward and common sense manner I have enjoyed the role of an entrepreneur. I love planning our strategy for how to get the next contract or do the research necessary to be successful.”


Being straightforward is a message he has now passed along to his son, who handles Nova’s day-to-day operations.