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Engineering Physics announces radiation sciences undergraduate track

A new track in radiation sciences has been approved for the college's undergraduates next fall. Offered by the Department of Engineering Physics (EP), the track is designed to appeal to students wanting to emphasize broader applications of nuclear engineering, rather than nuclear power.

Gilbert A. Emmert

Gilbert A. Emmert (large image)

The track is designed to broaden the career prospects of EP undergraduates, says Department Chair Gilbert A. Emmert. Graduates of the program will have a good foundation to pursue graduate study in either health physics or medical physics. They'll also be attractive to companies seeking to hire BS-level engineers with a background in applying radiation and nuclear processes in industry.

It's estimated that one third of all hospital admissions involve nuclear medicine or radiation in some form, Emmert says. Hospitals, laboratories and companies using radioactive materials or radiation-producing equipment require trained personnel to operate radiation protection programs. The safe disposal of radioactive materials is a growing area requiring trained personnel.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system. (large image)

Preservation of food by irradiation is another potential growth area that will need engineers trained in radiation sciences. The FDA has just approved irradiation of meat; it had earlier approved irradiation of poultry. It has been estimated that food poisoning causes about 9,000 deaths per year - much of this can be avoided by irradiation, says Emmert.

The EP department worked with the Department of Medical Physics to develop the track's curriculum. The department's design course will be broadened to include projects in radiation sciences design as well as nuclear reactor design. The curriculum includes courses on biological effects of radiation, radiation detection and instrumentation, shielding of radiation, and the safe handling and disposal of radioactive materials.

The degree granted will be Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering. It is recommended that students pursue an MS degree in either medical physics or health physics after obtaining the BS degree.

For more information on the radiation sciences track, contact the EP department at 147 Engineering Research Building, 1500 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1687, phone 608/263-1646.