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


Spring / Summer 2007
Featured articles

HIdden gems:
New composites are stiffer than diamond

Proof expands limits
of composite materials

Study helps nanotech researchers hone their outreach skills

all-platform friendly

Ray Fonck to head
DOE Office of Fusion Energy Science

New funding

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Department News

Faculty Profile:
Matt Allen

Alumni News


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In its March 30 issue, U.S. News & World Report ranked the UW-Madison College of Engineering 14th in the nation for graduate education, compared with 15th in 2006. The college tied with Texas A&M University. Among nine individual disciplines ranked in the top 20, nuclear engineering ranked in the top five.

IBM Research GmbH, Zurich Research Laboratory, has awarded a one-year, $84,000 grant to Research Professor Kumar Sridharan and Robert Carpick, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania. The two will study nanotribology and manufacturability of carbon-based materials for nanofabrication. They will investigate the feasibility of plasma-based technologies for deposition of nanometer-scale, adherent, wear-resistant, low surface energy films on scanning probe-based nanotips for addressing fabrication issues related to the IBM Millipede project for the next generation of computing devices.

Three nuclear engineering PhD students received four best-talk awards at the American Nuclear Society Student Conference March 29 through 31 in Corvallis, Oregon, at Oregon State University. Student Ross Radel earned two awards for his talk, “Detection of HEU using a pulsed inertial electrostatic confinement D-D fusion device,” in the nuclear fusion and non-proliferation and international safeguards categories. Rachel Slaybaugh earned an award for her talk, “Radiation treatment planning using discrete ordinates codes,” in the radiation health physics category, and Hannah Yount earned an award for her talk, “Radiation resiliency studies of dual phase magnesia-zirconia ceramics for use as inert matrix fuels,” in the assorted topics category.

Kent Wardle, a nuclear engineering PhD student, has received a scholarship from the Roy G. Post Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education in the safe management of nuclear materials. Wardle also will receive complementary registration and transportation to the 2007 Waste Management Conference, founded by Roy G. Post, where he will formally receive his award. Wardle’s doctoral research is focused on modeling and design of the annular centrifugal contactor, which is the key piece of equipment in advanced processes for recycling used nuclear fuel. He is conducting this research through a partnership with the Argonne National Laboratory Chemical Engineering Division.

Engineering mechanics and astronautics undergraduate student John Springmann received a 2007 UW-Madison Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship, which includes $5,000 in total funding. Working with Associate Professor Wendy Crone, Springmann will study new approaches for applying polymeric hydrogels in everything from microfluidic devices to tissue engineering. Crone is interested in exploring fundamental mechanical properties of hydrogels over the range of polymeric materials in these areas. Springmann’s results will provide important preliminary results that will be the foundation for a competitive full research proposal.

An April 27 story, “Workers in short supply for U.S. nuclear power,” on quoted Tracy Radel, a UW-Madison nuclear engineering student, about how safety concerns (in particular, reminiscent of Three Mile Island or Chernobyl) affect students’ choice of nuclear engineering as a career. “There’s a lot less emotion involved there,” said Radel, who sees nuclear energy as an earth-friendly alternative to coal and gas. The wire-service story highlighted the immediate need for educated, skilled workers to safely run current and future reactors. Read the story at


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Date last modified: Friday, 15-June-2007 11:49:00 CDT
Date created: 15-June-2007