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


Featured Articles

Nuclear R&D earns major DOE support

UW-Madison to play key role in nuclear energy comeback

Storing the sun, in salt

2009 teaching award recipient: Michael Plesha

Large-scale nuclear materials study

In Memoriam:
Millard W. Johnson Jr.

Regular Features

Message from the Chair

Department News

Faculty Profile:
Francesco Volpe

Student News

Alumni News



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Grad program listed in latest U.S. News rankings

The 2010 edition of the U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” included several college programs. Among them, nuclear engineering tied for third, while the College of Engineering ranked 16th overall.

Associate Professor Todd Allen was lead author of an article included a January 2009 MRS Bulletin overview of materials challenges for advanced nuclear energy systems.

Allen’s piece, “Advanced structural materials and cladding,” highlighted the requirements and challenges in structural materials and fuel cladding for both fission- and fusion-based advanced nuclear energy systems, which are intended to operate at higher temperatures and greater radiation exposure levels than current reactors. Optimizing candidate materials’ microstructures will improve their performance under both increased radiation and temperature; advanced modeling tools will enable scientists to establish a basis for developing such microstructures.ent interaction and dialogue in lectures created an atmosphere that is both challenging and motivating,” says a former student.

On March 5, Wisconsin Distinguished Professor Michael Corradini spoke at a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing. A nuclear energy expert, Corradini highlighted several needed national nuclear energy research initiatives and talked about the vital role universities play in advancing nuclear energy research and in training scientists, engineers and nuclear-related specialists. He stressed that, in both focus and funding levels, Congress should build on those existing programs.

Corradini also was technical program chair for the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements annual meeting, held March 2 and 3 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Grainger Professor Gerald Kulcinski was one of four 2009 UW-Madison Hilldale Award recipients. The awards honor excellence in teaching, research and service. Since joining the faculty in 1972, Kulcinski has focused on energy applications, basic materials research and detailed conceptual design of fusion power plants. He is a leader in studying the economic and environmental issues of fusion power, including examining the impact of fusion on the energy marketplace.

A December 13 story, “At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, cooperation equals graduation,” in the Wisconsin State Journal quoted Professors Greg Moses and Noah Hershkowitz and Adjunct Professor Fred Elder. The story highlighted several ways in which UW-Madison students learn in groups or by participating on project teams. Read the story at

A leading technical expert on chariots, Professor Emeritus Bela Sandor published Tut’s Queen, a historical novel of intrigue and romance. The book is an offspring of Sandor’s original research into the secrets of ancient engineers and fleshed out with his insights into the social and cultural circumstances of ancient Egypt. The story is founded in history and includes important but little-known characters. Tut’s Queen is available in paperback and e-book formats at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and iUniverse.

Upon the recommendation of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics, the APS council elected Professor Leslie Smith to fellow status. The honor recognizes her important contributions to the understanding of turbulence in engineering and geophysical flows through theory and numerical simulations. Her election was approved in November 2008 and announced in March 2009. Election to fellowship in APS is limited to no more than one-half of one percent of APS members.

The American Society for Materials(ASM) named Engineering Physics Distinguished Research Professor Kumar Sridharan a fellow. The honor recognizes Sridharan’s contributions in materials science and engineering and develops a broad-based forum for technical and professional leaders to serve as advisors to the society. Founded in 1969, ASM is a premier society for materials science and engineering with a worldwide membership of about 34,000 and 98 regional chapters. Sridharan received his award in October 2008.

The National Council for Science and the Environment elected Associate Professor Paul Wilson an at-large executive committee member of the newly formed Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders. The multidisciplinary council provides the means for leaders in energy research, education and communication to collaboratively advance the role of higher education in the energy field to improve education, decision-making and societal well-being.

The Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) announced that a UW-Madison project is among four new university-lab research partnerships selected for the user facility in 2009. Led by Research Associate Yong Yang, researchers will evaluate how nuclear reactor candidate materials fare under irradiation.

Test materials that show good stability in the reactor environment could allow higher-temperature reactor operations, improving reactor efficiency and expanding the uses for high-temperature heat.

In 2008, a UW-Madison research project led by Distinguished Research Professor Kumar Sridharan and INL engineer Heather MacLean was the first university-laboratory partnership at this newly created user facility (See Large-scale nuclear materials study story). In addition to the new research project, user facility staff also selected the UW-Madison Characterization Lab for Irradiated Materials as a partner facility.

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Date last modified: Friday, 24-July-2009
Date created: 24-July-2009