• dvenable@Howard.edu
  • Howard University


Demetrius D. Venable is Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Howard University (HU). He has been at Howard since 1995 and served as Department Chairman for 12 years. He was the Director and Principal Investigator of the “Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres” funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He also served for 7 months as the Interim Associate Provost for Research at Howard University. Recently he has served or continues to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on a wide variety of both scientific and educational sponsored research projects.

Dr. Venable currently serves as Co-PI and Deputy Director of the NASA funded University Research Center – HU Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation. Dr. Venable is a native of Powhatan, VA. He received the B. S. Degree in Physics (1970) from Virginia State University (Petersburg, VA.) As an undergraduate, he was a participant in the Harvard-Yale-Columbia-Intensive Summer Studies Program (Columbia University, NY 1968 and 1969.) He received both the M. S. (1972) and Ph. D. (1974) Degrees in Physics from The American University (Washington, DC.)

Prior to coming to Howard, Dr. Venable held positions at IBM as a senior associate engineer, at Saint Paul’s College as an assistant professor of physics and director of the cooperative physics program and at Hampton University where he was professor of physics and held various administrative positions including department chairman, Dean of the Graduate College, Vice President for Research, and Executive Vice President and Provost. Among Dr. Venable’s awards are the American Association of Physics Teacher’s Distinguished Service Citation for contributions to teaching in physics and NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal for contributions to building research infrastructure. This latter award is the highest award that NASA can make to a non-government employee. He was also one of the recipients of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Group Achievement Award for the Aura satellite validation effort. Dr. Venable was a Lifetime Achievement Award Finalist of The Benjamin Banneker Institute (2008) and a HistoryMakers® Selectee (2012.)

Dr. Venable is best known for his work in helping establish degree and research programs aimed at impacting underrepresented minority students in STEM areas. These have included the PhD program in Physics at Hampton University and the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Atmospheric Sciences at Howard. He has served on various boards and committees at the state and national levels including membership on the Hampton University Board of Trustee, National Society of Black Physicists Board of Directors (where is a Charter Fellow), the National Academies’ National Research Council Board on Laboratory Assessments, and the U. S. Department of Energy’s Fusion Energy Advisory Committee. He has held position of leadership in The American Association of Physics Teachers, The Virginia Academy of Science, The Southeastern Universities Research Association, The Virginia Aerospace Business Roundtable, and The National Physical Sciences Consortium. He has been recognized in Who’s Who in the Science and Engineering, was a recipient of The White House Initiative Science and Technology Advisory Committee’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, has received the G. Robert Cotton Distinguished Professorship, has received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, and was recognized in Outstanding Young Men of America. Dr. Venable also served as the Chairman of the American Institute of Physics’ Advisory Committee on Education.

Dr. Venable’s research specialty is in optical physics. He has been awarded funding for more than 50 projects and has numerous professional publications and presentations at professional meetings. His works have included effects of multiple scattering in marine environments, insolation and turbidity measurements, and remote sensing of the atmosphere. Most recently he has played a lead role in the development of the Howard University Beltsville Research Campus (BRC) with focus on predictability of weather and climate; hands-on experiences for students with instrumentation including operations, methodology, measurement capabilities, data reduction and error analysis; and weather and air quality monitoring. He is leading the development of the Raman Lidar Program at the BRC which involves lidar development, collecting data to supplement radiation measurement instrumentation co-located at the laboratory as required by BRC Researchers and NOAA and NASA sponsors; and investing atmospheric dynamics with emphasis on tropospheric water vapor mixing ratios.