NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Andres Alvarez

Andres Alvarez ’17

What were your interests in high school?
In high school I was involved in cross country and pole vault. My academic interests were in physics and chemistry.

What is your favorite activity outside of the classroom?
When I am not in the classroom I prefer to use my time organizing social events for the American Nuclear Society and for Phi Kappa Sigma. Being social chair for both organizations has been an extremely rewarding experience and has allowed me to meet a lot of incredible people.

Why did you decide to major in course 22?
I had originally been interested in course 22 because I found interest in nuclear reactions and the massive amounts of energy released per fission or fusion event. Freshmen year I was part of the Discover Nuclear Science & Engineering program — A freshman pre orientation program lead by the Nuclear Science & Engineering Department (NSE) — that taught me more about the applications of nuclear energy in industry and society. It was impressive to see the academic diversity in NSE faculty. The NSE professors are experts in nuclear fusion, fission, nuclear security & policy, nuclear weapons detection, advanced materials, and even in computation fluid dynamics. With so many great pathways to choose from in NSE it was not a difficult decision for me to choose Course 22.

What is you most memorable experience so far as a course 22 student?
My favorite moment as a course 22 student was when I was given the opportunity to build (and keep) my very own geiger counter. A geiger counter is an instrument that detects Alpha, Beta, Gamma or X-ray radioactivity. Weak radioactive sources were hidden around the NW-12 lab and we had to use our newly constructed counters to find them. It was a very entertaining sight to see a class of MIT students walking around with geiger counters for the rest of the day searching for radioactive sources everywhere they went.

What would you like to do after graduating?
I have been recently involved with a lot of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) work. CFD is used to model fluid flow in complex situations, such as sub-assembly flow within a sodium cooled faster reactor. After graduation I think I would enjoy going to grad school to learn more CFD. An alternative path that I am considering is law school. I am heavily interested in energy policy and nuclear security policy.

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Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Cambridge, MA 02139