Emily Mace is a physicist and team leader at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Emily’s technical background is in the research and development of radiation detectors. Since joining PNNL in 2008, Emily has helped grow the ultra-low-background capabilities at PNNL, including the characterization of ultra-low-background proportional counters and two ultra-low-background counting systems in PNNL’s Shallow Underground Laboratory.

Emily specializes in measuring low-level radioactive signatures; specifically using 39Ar to study groundwater residence time and recharge rates for environmental applications and using 37Ar for treaty verification applications. Emily is also on the leadership team for PNNL’s Ultra-Sensitive Nuclear Measurements Program.

Recently, Emily has been exploring machine learning (neural network) techniques to apply to the data stream from ultra-low-background proportional counters in order to perform advanced pulse shape discrimination.

Earlier in her PNNL career, Emily worked with radiation portal monitors, safeguards enrichment verification measurements of UF6 cylinders, handhelds/pager device testing, neutron detector characterization, and various forms of data acquisition and analysis. Prior to PNNL, she worked as a scientist for a startup company doing research on neutron-induced gamma-ray spectroscopy systems.

Disciplines and Skills

  • Low-Background Radiation Detection
  • Detector Physics
  • Nuclear Security
  • Environmental Science
  • Shallow Underground Laboratory


  • Master of Science, Physics, Purdue University
  • Bachelor of Science, Engineering Physics, Northwest Nazarene University