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Message from the Chair

Michael L. Corradini

Michael L. Corradini (15K JPG)

Graduate research in engineering physics is alive and doing very well as we enter our eighth year as a department. Although two of our senior faculty chose to retire early, we have been fortunate to add new faculty and our current faculty have been extremely active in recruiting new graduate students and involving them in exciting and important research.

Over the last two years, our faculty have made a concerted effort to improve the recruiting of top-notch domestic graduate students. Our junior faculty, including Wendy Crone, Rob Carpick, Carl Sovinec and Paul Wilson, have led this effort. Their approach has involved faculty-recruiting visits to regional colleges with physics and engineering physics programs as well as engineering schools at universities in the northern Midwest.

In addition, we have instituted a discover Wisconsin weekend in the spring, so that the top domestic graduate student prospects can come to campus, meet the faculty and current graduate students, and tour our research laboratories, thereby getting first-hand knowledge about exciting research opportunities. To date, these efforts have been quite successful, with our engineering mechanics and nuclear engineering and engineering physics graduate population increasing to more than 75 students. In addition, our faculty have been traditionally very interdisciplinary in their research and support and/or advise almost 30 students in other majors as diverse as biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, medical physics and physics.

One of the key reasons for this increase in our graduate student population is the notable increase in research activity by our faculty. Over the last few years, we have been fortunate to recruit six new young faculty to replace retiring faculty in fields as diverse as biomechanics (Wendy Crone), nanomechanics (Rob Carpick), computational plasma physics (Carl Sovinec), theoretical plasma physics (Chris Hegna), materials-plasma interactions (Dennis Whyte) and neutronics and reactor physics (Paul Wilson). In addition, the University of Wisconsin has been fortunate in recruiting Joseph Bisognano as the director of the Synchrotron Radiation Center, and he has joined our department as a full professor.

Finally, our faculty have been very aggressive in identifying newly emerging areas of research in which we can make significant contributions. Our mechanics-of-materials faculty have new initiatives in nanomaterials modeling and experiments as well as collaborations with faculty in biomechanics. Our plasma physics faculty are leaders in the UW and national fusion communities. The Department of Energy has renewed funding for the Pegasus fusion experiment, which also will be expanded in scope. In addition, the Fusion Technology Institute is unique in the United States with its research in inertial confinement fusion and its related experiments in shock-wave physics in the UW Shock Tube. Finally, our nuclear systems faculty are leading new initiatives in advanced nuclear-reactor systems as well as participating in medical physics research with medical school faculty.

As in any successful endeavor, people are the crucial element in our department and our research programs. Top-notch graduate students are important to energize our faculty and our programs, and are the future resource for engineering mechanics and nuclear engineering. Our innovative, active faculty are the key to developing research ideas that will lead us into this century.

Our research and administrative staff provide the infrastructure support that makes this all possible. Finally, we have to thank you, the alumni, for supporting us with your contributions to provide the flexibility in acquiring the tools to make this all possible.

Michael L. Corradini
147 Engineering Research Building
1500 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1687

Tel: 608/263-1646
Fax: 608/263-7451
E-mail: ep@engr.wisc.edu


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Date last modified: Thursday, 07-Nov-2002 16:09:45 CST
Date created: 07-Nov-2002