About the Author

Don Neeper's photo

In a bewildering world, it is the critical insights that empower you. Life has given me a few insights to share. I’m a teacher, not a prophet.

I’ve had a career in applied physics, not that I planned it that way. I intended to be a college professor, a professor with devotion to that bottom-level physics course that is often a graduation requirement for humanities majors. In the late 1960’s, however, the universities were in turmoil, so I went to the national laboratory at Los Alamos, a place in the mountains where my kids could play in green canyons rather than the sooty cement alleys of a city. I’ve worked professionally on liquid helium, weapon theory, solar buildings, heat transfer, and remediation of polluted ground, and I’m grateful for the experiences. To be meaningful, life must be experienced rather than watched. The person who gathers many experiences has lived life as well as possible within the circumstances, whether or not those experiences were pleasant.

Photo - two hikers on a meadow at Elwood Pass, Colorado

Don Neeper and a granddaughter walk at Elwood Pass, Colorado.

Throughout four decades, I’ve served as a voluntary technical advocate for scientifically reasoned restriction of pollution. Technical logic is sometimes suppressed by money, more often by fear of regulation.  I’m working on stories of those encounters, so a few personal tales might appear among these pages.  I don’t imply that there’s no fun in all this, because the people involved are always amusing characters performing on their own stages.  However, the colorful stories are better told with books of fiction than with the short blogs and essays offered here.  My resume is below and at https://neeper.net/resume/ .

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    =========== Don’s Resume  =============


Environmental advocate, 1970-2013

New Mexico Citizens for Clean Air & Water. Chapter chair, board member, testimony, research, and action on air and water issues.  Appointed to governor’s blue ribbon task force on water, 1997.


Regulation of petroleum wastes, 1996-2012.

Public advocate, appointed to industry-stakeholder work groups; expert witness presenting technical testimony and conducting cross-examination in quasi-judicial hearings; direct negotiation with industry and regulators regarding RCRA-exempt (E&P) wastes from petroleum exploration and production.

1996     Testimony on New Mexico’s abatement regulations for E&P wastes.

2001     Negotiated agreement with responsible party for abatement of large spill to groundwater.  Agreement immediately approved by the regulator.

2001-03  Appointed to board of STRONGER, funded by EPA to review regulations of oil-producing states.  Reviewed rules of New Mexico, Texas, and Indiana.

2003     Testimony regarding revised pit regulations.

2004     Testimony re drilling in pristine area.  Technical review of abatement plans for salt water spill.  Plan withdrawn.

2005     Decisive testimony in landfarm permit case.  Testimony on rulemaking procedures.  Testimony on enforcement with amicus submission to NM supreme court.

2006-07 Expert testimony and personal soil sampling for regulations governing waste facilities.  Successful defense by amicus brief in district court.

2009     Expert testimony in defense of chloride standards for pits.

201013 Industry-state work group to develop new pit rule.  Expert testimony and  cross-examination in two hearings each of which ran for two weeks.


Professional activity, 1995-2006

2004-10     Guest scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Modeling of the transport of hydrocarbon vapors and drilling salts in soils.

1995-2004 Senior Scientist, Science & Engineering Assoc. (and partnered firms).  Consulting on vapor and moisture transport in soils at waste sites.


Employed by Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM.1968-1993

Operable Unit Project Leader: Supervised RCRA Facility Investigation of sites containing organic vapors, tritium plumes, hazardous and radioactive waste.

Heat transfer and fluid flow: conducted experimental simulation of a graphite fire in a nuclear reactor; designed other gas purge and cooling systems.

Group Leader, Solar Buildings Research Group.

Deputy Group Leader, Computer modeling of thermonuclear devices.



B.A. (physics) Pomona College, 1958, magna cum laude.   Academic honors: Phi Beta Kappa; Pi Mu Epsilon; Sigma Xi.

M.S. (physics) Univ. Wisconsin, 1960.

Ph.D. (low temperature physics) Univ. of Wisconsin, 1964.


Teaching experience

Scientist-in-residence, Meadville Theological School, winter quarter 2003.  Taught science and social issues for graduate theological students.

Visiting associate professor, Northern Arizona University 1983-84.   Taught solar thermal engineering; solar energy technology; calculus.


Awards            Department of Energy Certificate of Appreciation, 1984.

Patents          “Ventilation of Porous Media,” U.S. Pat. 5,288,169 (Feb. 22, 1994).

Licenses         Commercial pilot; certified flight instructor (expired).

Military            U.S. Army Signal Corps, active duty 1964-1966, rank at release from active duty: Captain.


Technical publications and reports

“Transport by Oscillatory Flow in Soils with Kinetic Mass Transfer I. Theory,” D. A. Neeper and P. H. Stauffer, Vadose Zone Journal doi:10.2136/vzj2011.0093 (May, 2012).

“Transport by Oscillatory Flow in Soils with Kinetic Mass Transfer II. Field Experiment,” D. A. Neeper and P. H. Stauffer, Vadose Zone Journal doi:10.2136/vzj2011.0094 (May, 2012).

“Unidirectional Gas Flow in Soil Porosity Resulting from Barometric Pressure Cycles,” D. A. Neeper and P. Stauffer, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 78, 281-289 (2005).

“Harmonic Analysis of Flow in Open Boreholes due to Barometric Pressure Cycles,” D. A. Neeper, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 60, 135-162 (2003).

“Investigation of the Vadose Zone with Barometric Pressure Cycles,” D. A. Neeper, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 54, 59-80 (2002).

“A Model of Oscillatory Transport in Granular Soils, with Application to Barometric Pumping and Earth Tides,” D. A. Neeper, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 48, 237-252 (2001).

“Thermal Dynamics of Wallboard with Latent Heat Storage,” D. A. Neeper, Solar Energy 68, 393-403 (2000) .

“The Influence of Topography, Stratigraphy, and Barometric Venting on the Hydrology of Unsaturated Bandelier Tuff,” D. A. Neeper and R. H. Gilkeson, in The Jemez Mountains Region: New Mexico Geological Society, Forty-Seventh Annual Field Conference, Sept. 25-28, 1996, F. Goff, ed., pp. 427-432.

“Barometric Pumping with a Twist: VOC Containment and Remediation without Boreholes,” W. Lowry, D. Neeper, and S. Dunn, Proc. Industry Partnerships to Deploy Environmental Technology, Morgantown WV, Oct. 22-24, 1996. DOE/CONF-9610231-31.

“Frequency Domain Analysis of Subsurface Barometric Flows,” D. A. Neeper and S. P. Limback, EOS, Transact. Amer. Geophys. Union 75 (44, Suppl.) p. 264, 1994. Amer. Geophys. Union 1994 Fall meeting, San Francisco CA, Dec. 5-9, 1994.

“Ventilation of Porous Media,” D. A. Neeper, U.S. Patent 5,288,169, Feb. 22, 1994.

“Soil Vapor Extraction Enhanced by Oscillatory Flow,” D. A. Neeper, Proc. Fifth National Outdoor Action Conf. on Aquifer Restoration, Ground Water Monitoring, and Geophysical Methods, Las Vegas NV, May 13-16, 1991, pp. 75-88.

“Potential Benefits of Distributed PCM Thermal Storage,” D. A. Neeper, Proc. 14th National Solar Conf., Denver CO, June 19-22, 1989, pp.283-288.

“Analytic Model of a Passive Vapor Transport Heating System,” D. A. Neeper, Solar Energy 41, 91 (1988).

“Efficiency of a Solar Collector with Internal Boiling,”   D. A. Neeper, ASHRAE Trans. 93 part 1, 295 (1987).

“Solar Buildings Research: What Are the Best Directions?” D. A. Neeper, Passive Solar Journal 3, 213 (1986).

“Passive Space Heating with a Self-Pumping Vapor System,” J. C. Hedstrom and D. A. Neeper, Proc. 11th National Passive Solar Conf., Boulder CO, June 8-11, 1986.

“Passive Vapor Transport Solar Heating Systems,” J. C. Hedstrom and D. A. Neeper, Proc. 10th Annual Passive Solar Conference, Raleigh, October 15-20, 1985, p. 231.

“Vapor Phase Heat Transport Systems,” J. C. Hedstrom and D. A. Neeper, Los Alamos National Laboratory report LA-10487-MS (September 1985).

“A Self-Pumping Vapor System for Hybrid Space Heating,”   D. A. Neeper and J. C. Hedstrom, Proc. Congress International Solar Energy Society, Montreal, June 23-29, 1985, p.440.

“Vapor Phase Heat Transport Concepts,” D. A. Neeper and J. C. Hedstrom, Proc. Solar Buildings Conference, Washington DC, March 18-20, 1985. DOE/CONF-850388, p. 176 (July 1985).

“Impacts of Research Efforts on New and Existing Buildings,” D. A. Neeper, Proc. Solar Buildings Conference, Washington DC, March 18-20, 1985. DOE/CONF-850388, p. 131 (July 1985).

“Potential Performance Benefits of Advanced Concepts and Materials Research,” D. A. Neeper, et. al., Proc. Passive and Hybrid Solar Energy Update, Washington DC, Sept. 5-7, 1984. DOE/CONF-8409118, p. 20 (October 1984).

“Salt-Gradient Solar Ponds,” Donald A. Neeper, verbatim transcript for verbal translator. Lectures to be given at various locations, People’s Republic of China, August 25-September 15, 1984. Los Alamos National Laboratory internal document LA-UR-84-2423.

“Diurnal Heat Storage in Direct-gain Passive Solar Buildings,” J. D. Balcomb and D. A. Neeper, ASME/AIChE National Heat Transfer Conference, Seattle WA July 21-24, 1983. CONF-830702-15 (1983). http://permalink.lanl.gov/object/tr?what=info:lanl-repo/lareport/LA-UR-84-2423

“Some Potential Benefits of Fundamental Research for the Passive Solar Heating and Cooling of Buildings,” D. A. Neeper and R. D. McFarland, Los Alamos National Laboratory report LA-9425-MS (August 1982).

“Solar Ponds as a Source of Low Temperature Heat,” Energy Technology Conference and exposition, Washington, DC, 9 March 1981. D. A. Neeper and K. A. Meyer, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory internal document LA-UR81-485

“Research and Development of Solar Ponds,” D. A. Neeper, Testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Engineering, Subcommittee on Energy Development and Application, Washington DC, March 19, 1980. Published in the transcript of the hearing and as Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory internal document LA-UR-80-1018.

“Analysis of Matrix Air-Heaters,” D. A. Neeper,  Proc. Congress International Solar Energy Society, Atlanta, May 28, 1979, p. 298.

Various classified reports, D. A. Neeper, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1970-77.

“Ion Motion and Vortex-Ring Formation in Pure Liquid He4 and He3-He4 Solutions between 0.05 and 0.5 K,” D. A. Neeper and L. Meyer, Phys. Rev. 182, 223 (1969).

“Vortex-Ring Formation by Negative Ions in HeII under Pressure,” D. A. Neeper, Phys. Rev. Lett. 21, 274 (1968).

“Rapid Startup of a He3-He4 Dilution Refrigerator,” D. A. Neeper, Cryogenics 7, 307 (1967).

“The Kapitza Resistance of Mercury,” D. A. Neeper, D. C. Pearce, and R. M. Wasilik, Phys. Rev. 156, 764 (1967).

“Negative Magnetoresistance in Tellurium,” D. C. Pearce, R. M. Wasilik, and D. A. Neeper, Proc. IXth Int. Conf. Low Temperature Physics, Plenum Press, 1965, p. 736.

“Thermal Resistance at Indium-Sapphire Boundaries between 1.1 and 2.1 K,” D. A. Neeper and J. R. Dillinger, Phys. Rev. 135, A1028 (1964).

“Volume Flow Rate of the HeII Film on Glass,” R. W. Selden, D. A. Neeper, and J. R. Dillinger, Proc. VIIth Int. Conf. Low Temperature Physics, University of Toronto Press, 1961, p. 525.