NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


NSE Spotlight Archives :: Women in nuclear science and engineering

Leigh Ann Kesler

Leigh Ann Kesler: Scaling heights and measuring depths

Nuclear science and engineering PhD candidate tracks erosion happening inside fusion devices. ... more

Becky Romatoski

Becky Romatoski: Reducing risk in next-generation reactors

Nuclear science and engineering graduate student Becky Romatoski analyzes range of uncertainties in MIT’s salt-cooled nuclear reactor project. ... more

Monica Pham

Monica Pham: Advancing nuclear power and empowering girls

NSE sophomore Monica Pham researches fusion energy and promotes STEM opportunities for young women. ... more

Sara Hauptman

Sara Hauptman: Learning on the job

Before sophomore Sara Hauptman set foot in a nuclear science and engineering (NSE) class, she was learning to operate MIT’s nuclear reactor. ... more

Caroline Colbert

Caroline Colbert: Paving a Path to Medicine

NSE senior Caroline Colbert had expected to pursue a career in nuclear power. But after working in a medical environment, she changed her plans. ... more

Silvia Espinosa

Silvia Espinosa: On the edge of discovery

A fourth-year nuclear science and engineering graduate student at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), Espinosa is seeking to understand phenomena observed in plasmas that fuel magnetic fusion devices like the Center’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak.. ... more

Anne White

Anne White: A passion for plasma

Physicist Anne White, the Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor in Nuclear Engineering, has a fascination for the complexities of turbulence, and how to reduce it in fusion reactors. ... more

Carolyn Coyle

Carolyn Coyle: Engineering CRUD for better reactors

Nuclear Science and Engineering doctoral student Carolyn Coyle ’13 SM ’16 specializes in the corrosive particle build-up found on primary components of nuclear reactors, known by its apt acronym, CRUD (for Chalk River Unidentified Deposits). The substance is a common byproduct of reactor operation, yet its impacts on reactor function have not yet been carefully elucidated. Coyle’s research, part of a larger effort to improve reactor safety and efficiency, aims to bring CRUD out of the shadows. ... more

Amelia Trainer

Amelia Trainer: Structuring improved simulations for reactor physics

Trainer, a sophomore majoring in physics and nuclear science and engineering, calls “Scaffolding” “probably the most true and meaningful love poem I’ve read.” But its metaphorical take on a relationship might also resonate for Trainer around her work with the Computational Reactor Physics Group (CRPG), where Trainer is deeply committed to learning about strengthening structures in a nuclear realm. ... more

Carolena Ruprecht

Carolena Ruprecht: On board with nuclear engineering for the Navy

Few undergraduates have pinned down their post-graduation plans as precisely as Carolena Ruprecht. Just after commencement on June 3, 2016, Ruprecht will attend a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) commissioning ceremony, and then be whisked off to her commission as a surface warfare officer, destined to serve on an aircraft carrier. ... more

Aditi Verma

Aditi Verma: A multidisciplinary take on nuclear policy

A doctoral student in nuclear science and engineering, Verma has spent her academic career acquiring the expertise in science, engineering and the social sciences required to make sense of complex policy questions that arise around nuclear energy. ... more

Anne White

Anne White accepts the fusion challenge

Anne White has always relished challenges. As an undergrad, she was fascinated by fluid dynamics, and the prospect of nuclear fusion as a game-changing energy source. She followed those passions to her current position as Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, where she spends much of her time studying plasma turbulence – which is a challenge unto itself. ... more

Lulu Li

Lulu Li: Modeling the maelstrom inside a reactor

The frenetic dance of neutrons inside a nuclear reactor generates heat and produces electricity. Reactor physicist Lulu Li wants to make sense of this kinetic choreography, with the ultimate goal, she says, of “making nuclear reactors safer, more reliable and economical to operate.” ... more

Mareena Robinson

Mareena Robinson: An unexpected path to nuclear engineering

When she was accepted into the undergraduate business program at Florida A&M University (FAMU), Mareena Robinson thought she had her future all figured out: She would go to law school and become an attorney, like her father, or else a businesswoman. ... more

Cappellaro lab

Quantum engineering: Paola Cappellaro’s work with nanoscale diamonds unlocks secret codes

In can be difficult to distinguish between basic and applied research in the nascent field of quantum engineering. One person’s exploration of quantum systems like atoms and electrons yields another’s building block for quantum computers, and vice versa. Paola Cappellaro’s lab operates at the interface of basic and applied research. “We sometimes go more in one direction and sometimes more in the other,” she said. ... more

Yan Chen

Altering the energy landscape: Yan Chen’s work on fuel cell catalysts could help integrate new power solutions

Doctoral candidate Yan Chen wants to improve the world. She doesn’t say this directly, but her five years of research on catalytic surfaces for use in high-temperature fuel cells say it for her. Her work has the potential to create efficient new energy solutions to help curb the world’s appetite for carbon-based fuels. ... more

Margo Batie

Margo Batie: A physicist, an athlete, and an engineer

Studying both physics and nuclear science and engineering at MIT is no small challenge, but it’s just one of the activities that senior Margo Batie juggles. During her time at MIT, Batie has played on the varsity basketball team, led the women’s club rugby team, conducted research at two national laboratories, and helped strengthen minority support systems and outreach programs. ...more

Gabrielle Ledoux

NSE UROPs give Ledoux a perfect intersection for materials studies

Gabrielle Ledoux came to MIT as a freshman in 2012 with a longtime interest in materials science, and a passion for research and discovery — a combination that’s finding fulfillment at MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering, where her participation in a series of investigations has led to a dual major and a Summer 2013 project that Ledoux calls “a perfect intersection of all my interests.” ... more

Rosemary Sugrue

Rosemary Sugrue: Tracking bubbles for improved nuclear safety

Whether soloing on tenor saxophone in a jazz band, souping up a racing coupe, or serving as the lone woman operator at a nuclear power plant, Rosemary Sugrue seizes opportunities to stretch herself and learn. This second-year graduate student, who says she has always “enjoyed problem-solving, critical thinking and mechanical things,” arrived at MIT as a freshman in 2007 restless to explore new domains. ... more

Lindsey Anne Gilman

Lindsey Anne Gilman: Better boiling for more efficient energy production

For Lindsey Anne Gilman, SM ’12, playing with bubbles is serious work. Her PhD research project, launched this past summer, concerns ways of improving heat transfer for energy production utilizing boiling water. In nuclear reactors, the formation and movement of bubbles in boiling water turns out to be a critical issue: “If instead of nice little bubbles leaving the surface of the fuel, you get a film of vapor forming, the temperature of the fuel rods can increase,” says Gilman. “When this happens, you have reached critical heat flux. The concern is that if the temperature of the fuel rods gets high enough, the structural integrity of the rods might be compromised, and even fail.” ... more

Ekaterina Paramonova

Ekaterina Paramonova: A nuclear networker

Ekaterina (Katia) Paramonova ’13 acknowledges starting Course 22 with some distinct advantages: both her father and grandfather work in the nuclear industry, and her Russian parents insisted on fluency in the language, opening up opportunities in another country with a well-established nuclear sector. Now this 19-year-old undergraduate is intent on leveraging her assets in some surprising ways, establishing a unique career track that intriguingly combines nuclear engineering and diplomacy. ... more

Sara Ferry

Sara Ferry: A new generation works to fulfill the promise of nuclear energy

The world of nuclear technology is in a generational transition. Many nuclear engineers and scientists were trained between the 1950s and 1970s, but entry to the field slowed in subsequent decades; NSE Ph.D. student Sara Ferry is part of a new cadre of technologists who are working to fulfill the promise of nuclear energy in a world very different from that of their predecessors. ... more

Clarice Aiello

Clarice Aiello: Finding quantum gold in diamond’s defect

The kind of diamond Clarice Aiello values does not come in a dazzling pear or square cut, swaddled in black velvet on a counter at Tiffany’s. Instead, it exists as a millimeter-sized chunk on a sturdy table in a lab she built. What’s more, Aiello is not searching for perfection in her rock, but imperfection of a remarkable kind: a naturally occurring defect in the diamond’s lattice that, if manipulated properly, gives rise to quantum phenomena. ... more

Ashley Finan

Ashley Finan: Developing better policy for energy innovation

When Ashley Finan receives her Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering, it won’t be so much the culmination of an academic career as a milestone in a journey begun a decade ago. Finan credits some unique opportunities at MIT with setting her on a path toward a “place where it’s possible to make the most positive impact” on clean energy solutions and climate change. ... more

Carol Kessler

Three Questions for Carol Kessler

Non-Proliferation, and the Marriage of Technology and Policy. more

Lin-wen Hu

Lin-wen Hu: Advancing MIT’s Educational Mission at the MIT Reactor Lab

MIT's Research Reactor (MITR) may be small—it was only recently upgraded to 6 MW—but it plays a critical role not only in the education of MIT students, but on the national stage for advanced nuclear reactor fuel and materials research, according to Lin-wen Hu, the associate director of research development and utilization at the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL).. more

Bilge Yildiz

Bilge Yildiz: New Insights Into Material Surfaces Advance Energy Conversion Technologies

Engineers developing advanced energy technologies like fuel cells, synthetic fuel production systems, and new-generation reactors will benefit from novel materials knowledge being developed at NSE's Laboratory for Electrochemical Interfaces, headed by Bilge Yildiz, the Norman C. Rasmussen Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Her team is working towards better understanding of the surface and interfacial properties of oxides, and learning to tailor the oxides' physical properties to make them highly active in fuel cell reactions, and more resistant to corrosion in reactor applications. more

Anne White

Anne White: Solving Mysteries in the Pursuit of Fusion Power

Nuclear fusion is perhaps the most tantalizing energy technology in development today, with the potential to completely redefine the world's energy supply system. As part of NSE's broad effort to make fusion power a reality, Assistant Professor Anne White is building new understanding of the still-mysterious conditions inside tokamaks, the experimental test beds where fusion reactions occur at temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees. more

Paola Cappellaro

Paola Cappellaro: A Quantum Engineer on the Frontier of Knowledge

"Quantum engineering" is not yet a household term, but its possible impact on life in the 21st Century is enormous. This emerging discipline has the potential to revolutionize computing, precision measurement, materials science, and many other fields by harnessing the complex and often-baffling properties of sub-atomic particles. Moving this technology into reality is the mission of an NSE team led by Assistant Professor Paola Cappellaro. more

Lisa Porter

Lisa Porter: A New Breed of Research for National Security

Nuclear engineers are trained to tackle large, multi-disciplinary challenges. And Lisa Porter (B.S. in Nuclear Engineering, 1989) credits that perspective with helping her handle a national-security research management task that's more than a little daunting: developing innovations that have the potential to provide the U.S. with an "overwhelming intelligence advantage over future adversaries." more

Susan Landahl

Susan Landahl: Providing Power to Millions

Overseeing the operation of a nuclear reactor is complex and challenging. Overseeing the operation of 17 nuclear reactors is even more complex and challenging, but it's business as usual for Susan Landahl (NUE '83, SM '84) in her role managing the largest nuclear power operation in the US. more

Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 24-107
Cambridge, MA 02139