MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
lmost eight years ago, the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering
Physics merged with the Department of Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics.
This successful departmental merger, unique in its own right, signaled
a beginning of a new era for both departments’ faculty. It also
continued an evolutionary path for the nuclear engineering pro-gram
and degree and this summer, we are pleased to celebrate the beginning
of the nuclear engineering program almost a half-century ago.
In the mid-1950s, Dean Kurt F. Wendt held meetings
regarding establishing an educational program in nuclear engineering.
Instigated by discussions between Dean Wendt and Dean Everett at the
University of Illinois in 1954, an ad-hoc nuclear engineering committee
was formed with UW engineering Professors Barker, Bird, Higgins, Rohlich,
Roark, Uyehara and Weber as members. In 1955, the committee examined
the report of Professor Frank Myers, chair of physics at Lehigh University
and a consultant for Argonne National Lab, which suggested a complete
educational program structure and cost in nuclear science and engineering.
This committee and its interest in the discipline signaled the birth
of nuclear engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The activity in nuclear engineering in the college
then proceeded quickly:
Carbon was hired as a faculty member in mechanical engineering and
was tasked with forming the program.
of Engineering offered a master’s of science in nuclear engineering
as a committee degree.
Nuclear Research Reactor was built and given a 40-year license by the
Atomic Energy Commission
degree was offered in both nuclear engineering and in the College of
of Nuclear Engineering was officially formed and a bachelor’s
of science in nuclear engineering was offered with a focus in fission-reactor
Thus, in the decade between 1954 and 1963, the
College of Engineering joined the ranks of MIT, University of Michigan
and others offering this unique degree focused on the microscopic physical
phenomena in the nucleus of the atom and how engineering devices could
be designed and built using these principles for power production and
medical applications. Shortly thereafter, the Medical School began a
program in medical physics under the leadership of Professor John Cameron,
involving nuclear science applications in medical research and treatment.
Since that first decade, the department has aggressively
expanded its vision of what nuclear science and engineering encompasses.
In the 1960s, our faculty began graduate research and education in plasma
physics and fusion, particle accelerators, radiation damage of materials,
and super-conductivity and cryogenics. Professor Carbon, a unique set
of faculty on the college nuclear engineering committee, and the new
faculty in the department—Professors Boom, El-Wakil, Forsen, Maynard
and Vogelsang and Reactor Director Richard
Cashwell—led the department in this broad vision and scope.
This pursuit of leading-edge research problems with impact in the engineering
community has allowed the program to enjoy a top-notch ranking during
its 40-year history.
To celebrate the beginning of the master’s
degree in 1958 and the undergrad degree and department in 1963, we will
host a special celebration during Engineers’ Day on Oct. 17 and
18, 2003. It will include lunch, lab tours and dinner on Friday as well
as a Saturday-morning brunch and special video presentation on the department’s
history before the UW-Purdue football game. Please
E-mail me soon if you’d like more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael L. Corradini, Chair
147 Engineering Research Building
1500 Engineering Dr.
Madison, WI 53706-1687