Engin Arik, Nuclear Physics Professor, Killed in Turkey

December 1, 2007

According to Associated Press Writer SELCAN HACAOGLU, Engin Arik is one of 57 people killed in a plane crash in southwest Turkey on Friday.  According to the article, The dead also included a group of academics who planned to take part in a physics conference at an Isparta university. Among them was Engin Arik, a prominent female nuclear physics professor from Istanbul’s Bosporus University.”  Dr. Arik’s webpage states she was head of the Experimental High Energy Particle Physics Group. 

A NewYork Times article by Sabrina Tavernise, published 12/01/07 says the cause of the crash is still unclear, since the weather was good, according to airline officials.  She quotes Semsettin Uzun, governor of Isparta Provence as having said “We don’t understand how it landed there,” since the plane went down in an area that is not on its scheduled route.

Dr. Arik’s publications list shows she has authored several Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Documents.  Four of these documents were listed as “in preparation.”  Most of the CBTBO documents seem to indicate specialization in Radionuclide Monitoring for the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) CTBTO International Data Centre (IDC) inVienna, Austria.

A Background Briefing paper explains that Radionuclide Monitoring is one of four types of test ban verification data fed to the Vienna IDC.  The verification data is designed to locate nuclear testing.  “The detection of certain radioactive products – that is, the fission ones – enables an event to be identified as nuclear in origin.  Further analysis of the ratio of specific radionuclides detected, together with a knowledge of their decay processes, enables determination of origin:  whether a nuclear explosion; some other event, such as releases from a nuclear reactor; or a natural occurrence. This ability to identify and discriminate has some similarities to fingerprinting.”