College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
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EPISODE: The Engineering Physics Department Newsletter


Spring / Summer 2005

Featured articles

Fonck to lead U.S. burning plasma effort

Fusion reactor could detect explosives

Fuel for the future: Finding the best materials for Gen IV reactors

Fuel-cladding research yields results

Statics and dynamics by design: EP professor coauthors two new t extbooks

Cutting-edge research gives state companies extra edge

Regular Features

Message from the chair

In the news

Faculty profile:
Gregory Moses

Faculty/staff news

Student news


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Portrait of Rob Carpick

Michael L. Corradini, Chair
(16K JPG)

This year at UW-Madison and in our Department of Engineering Physics, we mark an important milestone. It was 10 years ago, in the spring of 1995, that the Department of Engineering Mechanics and the Department of Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics merged and the Department of Engineering Physics was born. This was not an easy or quick effort, but actually began two years earlier when individual faculty in both departments began to talk about the potential advantages of integrating their teaching and research activities into one department, while still maintaining the individual educational majors of engineering mechanics and nuclear engineering. The fact that the merger occurred and remains the only departmental merger that was initiated and consummated by UW faculty is a testament to the faculty and chair of each department a decade ago. It is also a testament to the successful demonstration of faculty governance and ability to change.

The engineering mechanics major is the oldest major in the College of Engineering (1887) and actually predates the beginning of the college in 1889. The nuclear engineering major is one of the more recent majors, having begun in 1963. However, both degrees have very similar origins in that they require a mastery of calculus and advanced mathematics and applied physics to more fundamentally appreciate the intricacies of mechanics, materials and nuclear energy.

In fact, a couple of years after the merger and the transition to combine facilities, personnel and academic programs, a combined subcommittee of the new department began a study to develop a new degree, a BS in engineering physics, to take advantage of the emerging fields in engineering. Led first by Associate Professor Robert Witt and then Professor Jim Callen, the committee designed the bachelor of science in engineering physics (BS-EP) to provide graduates with highly developed skills in emerging technological areas. These graduates can become an immediate source of talent to accelerate development of high-tech, start-up companies in Wisconsin and throughout the United States. Initially, the technological focus areas are nanoengineering, plasma science and engineering, and scientific computation; we will constantly revisit and revise the technological emphasis areas to align them with emerging technologies and student interests. The BS-EP program will be distinguished by its salient features: a strong emphasis on math and physics; delay in choice of a technical focus area to late in the junior year; specialized education in an emerging technology; and emphasis on research and a team project, culminating in a senior thesis. The degree is designed for the ever-changing economics and technologies of the 21st century.


Mark your calendars!

The annual ENGINEERS' DAY celebration will be held on Friday, Oct. 21, 2005. College faculty will present seminars in the morning, and in the evening Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.

For more information, visit or phone Diane Randall at 608/265-4048.

As the new department began, the faculty also made a concerted effort to increase the number of undergraduates in engineering mechanics and nuclear engineering. The undergraduate population in each major had slipped to unacceptably low levels and many of the faculty joined together to reverse this trend. It was our belief that there would be a renewed interest in aeronautics and astronautics, as well as nuclear power, and there were also clear signs of the growing interest in materials and nuclear
science and engineering as applied to medicine and health. We took this message to entering freshmen in the College of Engineering in their SOAR orientation program as well as the freshmen in the introduction to engineering courses (EPD 101 and 160). In addition, the faculty aggressively recruited domestic graduate students as our research activity grew. Because of both of these activities we now have more than 200 undergraduate majors in EMA and NE as well as more than 100 graduate students in EMA and NE (75 total), or those who are advised and supported by our faculty and who are majoring in ECE, MS&E, ME or physics (30 total).

All the success over these last 10 years is largely due to the outstanding efforts of our faculty and staff to improve and innovate the educational experience for our undergraduates and graduate students. It represents a great start to the 21st century and the ever-changing face of engineering.

Michael L. Corradini, Chair

147 Engineering Research Building
1500 Engineering Dr.
Madison, WI 53706-1687

Tel: 608/263-1646
Fax: 608/263-7451


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Date last modified: Friday, 22-July-2005 11:49:00 CDT
Date created: 22-July-2005