Purdue Engineering Impact Magazine Fall 2009

Nuclear Engineering The energy economy - why power is money

While this is our eighth issue of Nuclear Engineering Impact, it is my last as interim head. We were pleased to announce the appointment of Ahmed Hassanein as our new full-time head last spring. As we go to press, he’s just getting settled into that new administrative position as of July 1. Dr. Hassanein was a great addition to our faculty two years ago, and he’s sure to be an asset in leading the School of Nuclear Engineering to new heights.

This issue of Impact is focusing on the energy economy, which as Lefteri Tsoukalas can discuss so eloquently, is directly related to any country’s economy. You can read about his global perspective (in our cover story) on the energy/economy crisis—perhaps the greatest challenge facing humankind. I’d also like to congratulate Professor Tsoukalas on his recent Humboldt Award (see the article on the College side, page six).

If necessity is the mother of invention, then surely the faculty, researchers, and students working in the cutting-edge fields within our school have the opportunity to capitalize on these grand challenges. Students presenting at the annual American Nuclear Society’s convention in April fared very well, explaining the possibilities of what is achievable in the field of nuclear energy. We detail their collective success in our “Up Close: Students” feature. You can also see how a named professorship—courtesy of Paul Wattelet (PhD ’67) and his wife—can further the research efforts of someone like Dr. Hassanein. Ralph Patterson (BSNE ’76), of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, offers his perspective on the future of hybrid fission-fusion power. And let’s not forget the hard work of Sivanandan Harilal, a research assistant professor of nuclear engineering, whose efforts are detailed in the “Up Close: Faculty” article.

I’ll leave on this personal note. The Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering has seen some ups and downs in recent years, yet remains one of the top producers of nuclear engineers in the country, while working closely with industry to help bring about a nuclear renaissance. I appreciate all the faculty, students, and staff I’ve had the pleasure to work with in my few years here, and wish them all much continued success.

Vincent Bralts
Interim Head, School of Nuclear Engineering

Spring and summer news within Nuclear Engineering
October 15, 2009
Global Challenges, Fusion Futures, and New Beginnings
What matters to a new assistant research professor in nuclear engineering
October 15, 2009
Scientists theorize that the visible universe is composed of more than 99 percent plasma, the fourth state of matter after the triumvirate of solid, liquid, and gas. But one new research assistant professor in nuclear engineering, Sivanandan Harilal, is 100 percent focused on understanding the basic science of plasma and finding ways to make plasmas work for the world outside the laboratory.
Optimizing energy use through smart meters
October 15, 2009
Lefteri Tsoukalas has a history of looking forward. In fact, the professor of nuclear engineering sees the most recent financial crisis as more or less a respite from a looming energy crisis that could have far more devastating global effects should the scientific and engineering communities not come up with alternative solutions to oil.
Nuclear engineering alumnus shares vision for post-ignition fusion development
October 15, 2009
Nuclear fusion holds a promise to deliver the ultimate solution to the humanity’s energy needs.
Boilermaker couple endows professorship in School of Nuclear Engineering
October 15, 2009
In these hard economic times, a large gift like the one made by Paul Wattelet and his wife, Madeline, of Oak Brook, Illinois, seems especially generous.
Two Purdue undergrads, in two completely different ways, showcase Purdue's nuclear prowess
October 15, 2009
Speaking with Abbey Jean Donahue (BSNE ’09), recent graduate and outgoing president of the Purdue chapter of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), one gets an immediate sense of how far she’s come during her years in West Lafayette.