NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Micah Gale

Micah Gale ’18

What were your interests in high school?
In High School I was very active in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cadet Program. I was on a ground search and rescue team in CAP but was never activated for a search. I also was on the Debate Team, and in the Technology Student Association.

What is your favorite activity outside of the classroom?
I am on the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team. It’s a lot of work, but being able to skip classes to compete in Australia made it worthwhile.

Why did you decide to major in course 22?
I’m from Idaho which has the Idaho National Labs. In school I heard about INL and some of the work they did, and was really interested in nuclear power. I got hooked by the department’s Freshman Pre-Orientation Program. As my professor says nuclear engineers are alchemists. How can you not think that’s cool? You take an element, poke at its nucleus a little, and all of a sudden you have a new element with completely different properties. What can I say? Neutrons are cool.

What is you most memorable experience so far as a course 22 student?
Taking a nuclear reactor supercritical was really cool. Before you freak out supercriticality in a reactor is just when the reactor’s power level is increasing, and doesn’t necessarily lead to a meltdown. In our 22.01 class while we were learning about the neutron transport equation and criticality our professor got us some hands-on experience at the MIT Reactor. We were able to manually control the control rods and blades to fluctuate the power level up and down by 0.5MW (thermal).

What would you like to do after graduating?
I have no idea. Although I have been interested in fission reactor design, nuclear radiation detection, biological effects of radiation, and emergency management. Maybe I’ll just combine all of those into one job. What would my job title be?

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Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Cambridge, MA 02139