After reading about the Manhattan Project and becoming fascinated by physics, Nancy Kerr Del Grande pursued a career in the field. She always enjoyed solving puzzles and was curious about understanding the atom. In the beginning, she was a senior physicist with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1981 until 1999. During her tenure with the company, Ms. Del Grande was responsible for pioneering the technology transfer of x-ray methods for nuclear device diagnostics, and applying it to depict deep aquifers and locate buried land mines.
Ms. Del Grande subsequently established Geo-Temp Corporation in the mid-1980s, with which she currently excels as the founder and president. With Geo-Temp, she provides thermal imaging solutions, including scanning surface and subsurface terrain using infrared radiation detectors for locating and identifying subsurface objects and voids, data analysis services and surveying services. In addition to her primary endeavors, Ms. Del Grande is a successful author and co-author of over 50 publications on x-ray spectroscopy and infrared physics. Some of which, during the last dozen years, include “Thermal Inertia Mapping of Below Ground Objects and Voids,” as well as “Temporal Thermal Imaging Method for Detecting Subsurface Objects and Voids.”
In pursuit of her aspirations, Ms. Del Grande earned a Bachelor of Science in physics from Mount Holyoke College, as well as a Master of Science in physics from Stanford University in 1957. She retains her professional alignment with the American Physical Society and the Society for Photo Industrial Engineering. Although her career has been filled with highlights, she is especially proud of becoming the first female physicist to design in her field and test a major diagnostic experiment on a nuclear device at the Nevada Test Site. Additionally, Ms. Del Grande enjoyed her work at a Temple Area in Jerusalem, where Geo-Temp, with the assistance of Richard Iorillo and Moshe Caspi at Aeronautics Defense Systems, was responsible for locating and identifying a deep archaeological drain.
Other achievements to Ms. Del Grande’s credit include the development of two patents – one for technology to identify anomalous terrestrial heat flows from buried and obscured objects, and another for a system to image anomalous structural heat flows from corrosion within aircraft skins and bridge decks. Likewise, she is humbly gratified to have been contracted by the U.S. government in 2007 for a medium-sized project that involved subsurface imaging. She is happy to have helped save the lives of Americans at the Southern border by discovering and studying a series of deep tunnels in the area. Ms. Del Grande attributes her success to her dedication to service to her country, but also to her genuine love for the field and her work.
One of the major influences for Ms. Del Grande to pursue her illustrious career in physics was her father. He was a renowned Columbia University geology professor who consulted for the Manhattan Project in World War II, many years after serving as a veteran in World War I. He provided her with the encouragement she needed to pursue a career in a field that was originally male dominated. Additionally, her mother was instrumental in her furthering her academic efforts, having attended Stanford University and taught Spanish. Looking toward the future, Ms. Del Grande intends to experience the continued growth and success of her career with Geo-Temp.