President's Column

The value of “fluffy” stuff

Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar

You know the old saying that those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach? Well, I say anyone thinking that way should be kept far away from students!

In my time at Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, I worked with incredible scientists and engineers doing cutting-edge research. Unfortunately, making progress in research is not always conducive to the education and training of those who haven’t yet gained the necessary expertise. And there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs the more one gains in education and experience: We tend to forget what we were like before, what it was like not to know everything we do now. More than one of my PhD colleagues at the national labs dismissed the education and outreach efforts that I pursued in my spare time: scouts, K-12 classroom visits, teacher workshops, science expos, etc., viewing any focus other than the truly technical as just “fluffy” and a waste of valuable time and effort.

Giving Tuesday: Bringing nuclear to every classroom

Giving Tuesday is a nationwide day of giving back to the not-for-profit community. For Giving Tuesday, the American Nuclear Society is on a mission–jumpstart funding for a special initiative, Nuclear in Every Classroom. This landmark effort helps ensure nuclear science and technology crosses the desks – virtual or in-person – of every k-12 student and teacher in the nation. The initiative builds upon the success of Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World, the ANS partnership with Discovery Education that has reached over 1.3 million students.

Elementary school resources added to Navigating Nuclear

Elementary school lesson plans are the latest additions to the Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World website. The two lesson plans were created to help students in grades 3-5 understand the power of the atom and how to investigate different energy sources.

Navigating Nuclear is a K-12 nuclear science and energy curriculum created in partnership by the American Nuclear Society and Discovery Education, with lead funding from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy.

Nuclear in K-12 education: Overview of ANS toolkit and reflections from educators

A free webinar today from 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (EDT) will look at the resources that the American Nuclear Society has developed with Discovery Education and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy to help K-12 educators teach nuclear science and technology.

The webinar will begin with an overview of the resources, followed by reflections and commentary from three educators of various grade levels on their experiences teaching nuclear science and their thoughts about ANS’s instructional materials. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session with the panelists.

Registration is required for this Nuclear Science Week event.

ANS celebrates Nuclear Science Week with social media campaign, new RIPB webpage

The nuclear industry has embraced the risk-informed and performance-based (RIPB) decision-making process over the past two decades. Still, it remains a complex concept to explain in lay terms.

With that in mind, the American Nuclear Society will be kicking off an RIPB awareness social media campaign as part of Nuclear Science Week 2020, which begins today and runs through Friday. The campaign will link decision making to everyday events in a person's life and feature a series of images and seemingly easy questions requiring a choice to be made. For example, ANS asks, “Would you get rid of your car if the radio didn’t work?” or “Would you toss a lamp if the shade was dirty?”

Navigating Nuclear: Bringing it home

American Nuclear Society members who are parent­ing K–12 students have been drafted to serve as home ed­ucators during the COVID-19 pandemic. While schools may have provided e-learning resources, the school year is at an end. How can concerned parents prevent the dreaded summer slide?

Here’s our suggestion: turn to Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World, ANS’s K–12 curriculum devel­oped in partnership with Discovery Education, and teach nuclear chem­istry! Even if you live apart from the children in your life, consider using Zoom to introduce Navigating Nuclear to children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

ANS is your nuclear resource during COVID-19

This story was updated on April 29 with details about the ANS Annual Meeting.

The American Nuclear Society remains committed to serving the needs of the nuclear community even as the COVID-19 pandemic affects how we all communicate. Read on to learn more about the timely content that ANS is delivering to fit the way you live and work today.

Navigating Nuclear takes high school students on virtual field trip to INL

When Navigating Nuclear’s latest virtual field trip (VFT) debuted online in February during Engineers Week, students in classrooms around the country learned about nuclear advancements happening right now at Idaho National Laboratory, on technologies including advanced reactors, TRISO fuel, and space power systems. The video, titled “Nuclear Reimagined,” highlights diverse applications of nuclear technology and career opportunities in the nuclear sector and puts a spotlight on the work of ANS members Heather Chichester, Paul Demkowicz, and Stephen Johnson at INL.

High school students become “decay detectives”

Lesson plans for middle school and high school students make up only one part of the compelling nuclear science education resources that Navigating Nuclear offers for today’s classrooms. ANS’s K–12 curriculum reaches students with virtual field trips (see article that begins on page 1), career resources, and STEM project starters to get students excited about nuclear science and its applications.

Show Engineering Love During EWeek, February 17-23

Nuclear Medicine Radiates Hope For Patients

As a fourth year nursing student working in Chicago area hospitals, I deal with nuclear medicine quite often. The term "nuclear medicine" can sound disconcerting, but when you are familiar with it, I assure you, it's not. Just think of it as a bunch of necessary medical tools with a little radiation thrown in. I know what you are thinking. Radiation? What? Relax. It's fine. You already know it, and either you, or someone you know, has been exposed to this specific area of medicine via certain procedures.

National Nuclear Science Week 2018 Kicks Off

Navigating Nuclear with Bob Fine and Dr. Eric Loewen