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Programs PhD for nuclear materials

  1. Oct 27, 2012 #1
    Hi, everyone!
    I am undergraduate student from China. I am applying to pursue a PhD degree in United States next year. I am interested in nuclear materials, but the problem is that my home school offers little course on materials science. I am affraid that students of materials science may be preferred. Should I still keep my dream of being a materials scientist in nuclear engineering?
    I have some research background in materials corrosion, precisely non-irradiation induced stress corrosion cracking testing. But I find a majority of faculty in nuclear materials are focusing on irradaiton damage.
    I have found some professors I am interested in, they are: Peter Hosemann at UC Berkeley; Gary Was at Umich; James Stubbins at UIUC; Todd Allen at PSU. I read lots of their papers in Journal of Nuclear Materials. How do you think of these professors? Could you recommend more professors for me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2012 #2
    Sorry I made a mistake, Todd Allen at UW-madison
  4. Oct 27, 2012 #3
    I'm in nuclear materials. When I started the program (nuclear engineering), I didn't have much background in materials (my undergrad was physics), so I don't think it's a big problem. You're expected to do some learning at grad school!

    It shouldn't be surprising that people involved in *nuclear* materials are interested in irradiation damage. Otherwise they would just be in materials science. You solve many of the same problems whether or not you can about irradiation damage -- there just tend to be more defects to deal with in irradiated environments, so it's a little bit more interesting, in my opinion.

    There are hundreds of good professors in the area, including the ones you mentioned. You certainly shouldn't limit yourself to a small list like that; you'll often get more attention with less well known professors. You should also decide whether you're interested in experimental or computational work.

    Good luck!
  5. Oct 27, 2012 #4
    I have only experimental experience, and I feel I do love doing experimental work, like designing and constructing coolant loops, operating SEM/TEM and etc.. Our school is not permitted to have radiation source, so we cannot have irradiation testing. However, I notice just a few differences in testing technology between irradiation one and unirradiation one. I think the most significant difference is the microstructure investigation, right?
    I have done research on computation of macro fluid, but I think the nano-scale simulations are so cool, which really attract me. Now I am taking the course of Quantum mechanics, the most interesting course I've ever taken during my undergraduate years. Since I have no research background in atomistic computation, I cannot judge whether the research is as interesting as taking the course. Could you introduce something you are doing to me? From my observation, many groups have both experimental and computational work, like Allen's and Stubbins'. So does it mean that I have a chance to choose which part I would like to engage in after I am admitted?
    btw, is the competition for nuclear materials fierce compared to that in other fields of nuclear engineering?
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