Session H4: Undergraduate Education in Nuclear Physics
(co-sponsored by the Division of Nuclear Physics and the Forum on Education)
Con Beausang, Session chair, University of Richmond
Warren Rogers, Westmount College
For ten years, undergraduate students have participated in the fall meetings of the Division of Nuclear Physics. Each year approximately 75 students attend the meeting and present their research in a very well attended poster session. As well they participate in other activities specifically designed for them: nuclear physics seminars, reception, graduate school information session, etc. The "Conference Experience for Undergraduates" (CEU), supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy (through the national labs), and the Division of Nuclear Physics, awards travel and lodging grants based on the merit of the student's research. The CEU program has received broad enthusiasm and support from the nuclear physics community. For the 10th anniversary CEU, a special mini-symposium was organized at which former CEU students (now professors, post-docs, and graduate students) presented their current research and spoke briefly on the impact that undergraduate research and conference participation had on their career paths. Tracking of CEU students has begun in an effort to assess the impact of the program on retention in nuclear science and physics in general.
John Shriner, Tennessee Technological University
The Physics Department at Tennessee Technological University has been emphasizing nuclear physics for over 30 years and at one point had a faculty of nine, all of whom were nuclear physicists. Support from the Department of Energy has led to an emphasis on undergraduate research since 1979. Although the department graduates an average of only two students per year, over 70% of the graduates in the past 20 years have gone on to graduate school in some area, and nearly 25% of those graduates have received or are pursuing a Ph.D. in nuclear physics. In recent years, the number choosing nuclear physics has increased, perhaps due to the students’ experience with the CEU program.
Sekazi Mtingwa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Due to the recent U.S. interest in expanding nuclear power, the American Physical Society's Panel on Public Affairs sponsored a study of the U.S. workforce and educational facilities' readiness for three scenarios out to the year 2050. They are maintaining the current number of nuclear reactors, significantly increasing the number, and significantly increasing the number while recycling spent fuel. This talk reports on the progress of that study.