NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


2023 News

Collage of news story images

2023 Highlights

Top NSE news stories from the last twelve months.

A simple white neural network in foreground is above four background textures: rough gold, wet plastic, a heat-map, and scratched metal.

MIT engineers develop a way to determine how the surfaces of materials behave

Prof Bilge Yildiz and colleagues devised a machine-learning-based method to investigate how materials behave at their surfaces. The approach could help in developing compounds or alloys for use as catalysts, semiconductors, or battery components.

USS Virginia — submarine patially submerged

Diving into nuclear submarines

Nuclear Science and Engineering Department creates course for Australian Submarine Agency. The three-week course covered a broad range of topics, including the basics of nuclear reactor theory and design, operations and safety, training, the operation of nuclear shipyards and more.

Artist’s concept of four domes comprised of spheres representing nanoparticles. Three of the domes have different colored particle beams shining down on them.

Team engineers nanoparticles using ion irradiation to advance clean energy and fuel conversion

The work by NSE’s Prof Bilge Yildiz and collaborators demonstrates control over key properties leading to better performance.

Rendering of a 3D crystal structure looks like a star made up of latticed cubes and pyramids.

Physicists trap electrons in a 3D crystal for the first time

The results, published by a team of MIT researchers including Prof Mingda Li, open the door to exploring superconductivity and other exotic electronic states in three-dimensional materials.

Dennis Whyte standing in large lab space at MIT with brick walls, staircase and balcony in background

Dennis Whyte Steps Down as Director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center

After building an organization notable for its growth and human-centered culture, Whyte will devote his full attention to teaching, engaging in cutting-edge fusion research, and pursuing entrepreneurial activities at NSE and the PSFC.

Rendering shows 3 parts as if on a grey table: a white model house on top; a fuel cell sandwiched in between two metal plates with spherical molecules floating around it.

Engineers develop an efficient process to make fuel from carbon dioxide

The approach by researchers at MIT and Harvard directly converts the greenhouse gas into formate, a solid fuel that can be stored indefinitely and could be used to heat homes or power industries.

Diablo Canyon nuclear powerplant, cooling towers and cluster of buildings that make up the facility, with blue sky and ocean in the background and grass in the forground

A new view on nuclear energy

Unique, three-day MIT class offers in-depth look at features and issues of nuclear energy

Jill Rahon in Army fatigues seated on a swivel chair in a lab with instuments and lab equipment behind her, and our of focus to the front left, MIT

SPOTLIGHT: Jill Rahon: Soaring high in the Army — and in research

After three deployments in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Jill Rahon is pursuing research that will help verify conformation of nuclear treaties.

Anne White in foreground with Robert Stoner in the background on stage, seated, seakig gesturing with arms, MIT

How to decarbonize the world, at scale

In her keynote at MITEI’s Annual Research Conference, Anne White stressed the urgency to “develop and scale low-carbon and zero-carbon solutions ... with a practical systems-based approach that considers efficiency, affordability, equity, and sustainability for how the world will meet its energy needs.”

Paula Cappellaro in black top angled facing left against a grey gradient background, MIT

Paola Cappellaro elected 2023 American Physical Society Fellow

Nominated by the Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics, Professor Cappellaro was cited, “[f]or groundbreaking contributions to quantum control and quantum sensing with spin systems.”

Attendees of the NEA Rising Stars Workshop photographed with organizers, and guest speakers. Two rows standing, front row seated inside in fron of a wall with a multi-colored geometric pattern, MIT

Building a strong pipeline for the workforce of tomorrow

The inaugural edition of Global Forum Rising Stars hosted at MIT NSE united women from around the world through a series of networking and information-sharing workshops

Haowei Xu in a pale blue tshirt photographed against a stone wall, MIT

EVENT: Haowei Xu PhD’23 winds 2023 Del Favero Thesis Prize

Xu will deliver the Del Favero Thesis Prize Lecture on the topic of his PhD work — optical control over nuclear degrees of freedom.

Haruko Wainwright portrait with arms crossed against a bright white background, with blurry plant leaves in foreground

3 Questions: What should scientists and the public know about nuclear waste?

Professor Haruko Wainwright describes a new effort to communicate information about managing and disposing of spent fuel from nuclear reactors.

white box with silver cones and purple arrows inside the orange sphere and wavy lines stiking the top of the box, shown on a pruple background, MIT

Making more magnetism possible with topology

MIT’s Mingda Li, Nathan Drucker, Thanh Nguyen, and Phum Siriviboon show how topology can help create magnetism at higher temperatures

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA photographed at a podium speaking

Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks about nuclear power’s role at a critical moment in history

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency addresses the world’s urgent energy and environmental challenges.

male faculty member seated in a hallway with windows along the right side, MIT

Jacopo Buongiorno elected 2023 NURETH Fellow

Established in 1980 by the Thermal Hydraulics Division of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), NURETH Fellows are appointed once every two years — Buongiorno is recognized for scholarly accomplishments and impact in the thermal-hydraulics field and for his exceptional contributions to NURETH conferences.

bespectacled male faculty member leaning against a whiteboard, MIT

Professor Emeritus Sidney Yip wins Monie A. Ferst Award

Established in 1977, the Sigma Xi’s Monie A. Ferst Award honors “science and engineering teachers who have inspired their students to significant research achievements”.

detail of quantum sensor instruemntation with green cast, MIT

Sensing and controlling microscopic spin density in materials

NSE’s Guoqing Wang, Paola Cappellaro and Ju Lishow that they may be able to develop new quantum sensors or quantum simulations by fine-tuning the spin density in some materials.

Headshot of Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA

EVENT: 2023 David J. Rose Lecture

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA’s Director General, will discuss the IAEA’s unique role, cutting across science, international security and development, and what it means amid today’s challenges, ranging from poverty, disease and hunger to energy insecurity, global warming and war.

detail of quantum sensor instruemntation with green cast, MIT

Cancelling noise for improving quantum devices

Postdoc Guoqing Wang, Prof. Paola Cappellaro, Prof Ju Li and a team of researchers develop protocol to extend life of quantum coherence; the method to achieve a 20-fold increase in the coherence times for nuclear-spin qubits.

Male standing in front of out of focus full wall graphic, MIT

Patrick Adrian receives prestigious Fellowship in High-Energy-Density Sciences

Adrian has been awarded the Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in High-Energy-Density Sciences from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to further his study of high-energy-density physics.

Female faculty member in front of lab equipment and instrumentation, MIT

Bilge Yildiz selected as Fellow of The Electrochemical Society

Each year 15 renowned scientists and engineers are selected by their peers for advanced individual technological contributions to the fields of electrochemistry and solid state science and technology, and for service to ECS.

Female faculty member standing with arms folded in a hallway with windows on the right

VIDEO: Anne White explains fusion in 5 levels of difficulty

Fusion underpins some of the most basic processes in our universe and holds the promise of virtually limitless, clean, carbon-free energy. Professor Anne White was challenged to explain the nature of fusion to 5 different people; a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

Seven people inside a traditional ger dwelling gathered for a khorkhog cookout

Powering the future in Mongolia

Through coursework, intercollegiate collaboration, and a site visit, MIT students from classes 22.S094 (Climate and Sustainability Systems: Decarbonizing Ulaanbaatar at Scale) and 21A.S01 (Anthro-Engineering: Decarbonization at the Million-Person Scale) fuse engineering and anthropology to propose innovative energy solutions.

Rachel Bielajew, MIT

Rachel Bielajew honored as one of 40 Graduate Women of Excellence at MIT in 2023

These impactful women were chosen for their leadership among their peers, their dedication to improving the MIT graduate student experience, their thoughtful and constructive feedback, and their ability to catalyze change.

female with arms crossed standing on the right side of the photo inside a building at MIT with a brick wall to the right and steel structure to the left

SPOTLIGHT: Optimizing construction and operation of nuclear energy facilities

Keen to accelerate the adoption of nuclear energy, Isabel Naranjo De Candido is working on methods to optimize construction and operation of production plants.

Congratulations 2023 NSE graduates text over a background with orange baloons, MIT

Congratulations to our graduating students

MIT’s commencement ceremony is on June ist. Thirty-eight NSE students graduate this year.

female leaning agains an architechtural column outdoors at MIT with left hand on hip

SPOTLIGHT: Winning over nuclear skeptics

Kaylee Cunningham might love nuclear engineering and computer science but recognizes that her training could be for naught if myths continue to plague the industry. The activist is committed to help &emdash; one TikTok at a time.

Female faculty member in front of lab equipment and instrumentation, MIT

Bilge Yildiz elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences

Bilge Yildiz, Breene M. Kerr (1951) Professor in the Departments of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, has been elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) on May 11, 2023

Three male students standing in a row in front of a 3D printer inside a lab, MIT

Team uses 3D printing to strengthen a key material in aerospace, energy-generation applications

The approach could improve the performance of many other materials as well.

two men shaking hands, the one of the right holding a certificate in a folder, third man between the two looking on, MIT

Nuclear Science and Engineering Annual Awards 2023

NSE and the student chapter of the American Nuclear Society hosted their annual awards dinner on May 18, 2023

male student in red checked tshirt and jeans seated outdoors on park bench leaning forward with arms on knees with corrugated metal wall in background, MIT

SPOTLIGHT: Printing a new approach to fusion powerplant materials

Through research on additive manufacturing of metal-ceramic composites, the fourth-year nuclear science and engineering doctoral student, Alexander O'Brien is enabling a category of high-functioning materials that can deliver the next generation of fusion devices.

Male faculty member standing in front of a colourful chekered glass wall, MIT

Emilio Baglietto named associate head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Professor Emilio Baglietto has been appointed as associate head of the Departemnt of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, effective July 1, 2023. In his new role, Baglietto will coordinate NSE’s DEI and community building efforts, as well as advise on curricular and recruiting efforts.

Three male students holding award cetificates standing in front of 2023 ICAPP wall-sized banner, MIT

NSE teams win three awards at 2023 ICAPP

Presentations are Emile Germonpré, Emile Gateau, and Faris Fakhry from the NSE Microreactor Group won three Best Paper Awards at the 2023 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plantsheld in South Korea in April.

male student standing with arms folded, grid of photos of people in labs in the background, MIT

SPOTLIGHT: Exploring the bow shock and beyond

PhD student Rishabh Datta seeks to further understanding of astrophysical phenomena.

Several MIT students sitting at a narrow table collaborate in a classroom

Exploring new sides of climate and sustainability research

With the support of each other and MIT faculty, students in the MCSC’s Climate and Sustainability Scholars Program are making their impact on real-world climate challenges.

blue movie poster with image graphic of two hands below an atom

NUCLEAR NOW: Screening & Discussion

with director OLIVER STONE and co-writer JOSHUA S. GOLDSTEIN May 3 2023. 4:00PM. Bartos Theater. MIT E15-07. Free admission. Post-screening reception.

Ben Forget, male faculty member leaning against an outdoor brick wall with blurred greenery in the background, MIT

Benoit Forget named head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Computational reactor physics expert to succeed Professor Anne White as department head of NSE.

Headshot of Mingda Li, male faculty member in a lab setting with instuments in the background, MIT

Mingda Li honored with Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching

Award is given each year by the School of Engineering to an outstanding educator up for promotion to associate professor without tenure.

Headshot of Ericmoore Jossou, male faculty member, against a tan background, MIT

Ericmoore Ericmoore Jossou joins NSE and EECS in summer 2023

Jossou is one of eleven new faculty members join six of the School of Engineering's academic departments and institutes.

Stack of squares with spheres and lines bouncing off top surface against blue background, MIT

Mingda Li wins NSF grant to study sustainable topological materials

Li along with his co-PIs from MIT, UCSB, and Boston College will work to accelerate research in topological quantum materials.

male in front of instruments in a lab at MIT

Spotlight: Understanding boiling to help the nuclear industry and space missions

Always fascinated by physics, Florian Chavagnat is propelling his love of the science to answer fundamental questions about heat transfer that will shape the success of nuclear power plants — and extended missions in space.

Female faculty member in blue dress leaning against a glass wall, MIT

Spotlight: Helping the cause of environmental resilience

Haruko Wainwright believes environmental monitoring can empower citizens to make informed decisions about their energy and environment.

black rectange with computer simulated 3D yellow textured abstract graphic

Scientists identify new mechanism of corrosion

NSE collaborative research on molten salt corrosion shows that controlling one-dimensional wormhole corrosion could help advance power plant designs

male student standing in front of machinery, MIT

Preparing students for the new nuclear

MIT Leaders for Global Operations’ collaboration with the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering trains leaders for a rapidly evolving industry.

headshot of black female in an office space

Video: NSE Alum Mareena Robinson Snowden ’17 wins 2022–2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award

Blue-grey rectangle with headshot of white male in a circle to the right

NSE Alum wins Energy Storage Innovations Prize

NSE Alum and co-founder of Electrified Thermal Solutions, Dan Stack, is one of 10 winners of the DOE Energy Storage Innovations Prize that focuses on nascent and emerging technologies that disrupt or advance current state-of-the-art energy storage research areas.

Male faculty member in blue sweater seated in a chair in a hallway, MIT

Spotlight: An evolutionary shift from the local (nano) scale to the global

Eight years ago, Jacopo Buongiorno’s career took a turn from a focus on technical to a broader engagement with the global nuclear ecosystem, and there’s been no turning back.

Male student standing against an orange background, MIT

Spotlight: Working to Make Nuclear Energy More Competitive

Through research on high burnup fuels and improving the design of nuclear power plants, the second-year doctoral student is adopting a dual approach to addressing some of the industry’s toughest challenges.

one red and blue squiggly arrows representing laser beams of slightly different wavelengths pointing to a central atomic nucleus in a blue backgound, MIT

Engineers discover a new way to control atomic nuclei as “qubits”

Using lasers, NSE's Ju li, Paola Cappellaro, Haowei Xu and other researchers can directly control a property of nuclei called spin, that can encode quantum information.

Male research scientist Richard Lanza seated, MIT

Spotlight: Tribute to a hale, hardy, and accomplished fellow

Prolific, eclectic physicist Richard Lanza came to MIT in 1966 for a two-year postdoc and ended up sticking around for a while.

Female faculty member in front of lab equipment and instrumentation, MIT

Spotlight: Bilge Yildiz wins Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science

Award recognizes scientists of Turkish origin younger than 50 who have made outstanding contributions to their fields.

nuclear power plant in a field with wind turbines in the distance

A new way to assess radiation damage in reactors

NSE’s Mike Short and a team of researchers designed a tool that enables faster measurements of the condition of some nuclear reactor components, potentially extending their lifetimes.