Miss Wisconsin: Breaking down misconceptions about nuclear

September 23, 2022, 12:05PMANS NewsGrace Stanke

Grace Stanke in front of the cooling towers at the Byron generating station during this spring’s outage.

"Miss Wisconsin" and "nuclear engineer" are two phrases you have probably never heard in the same sentence before. And not just Wisconsin—it’s never been heard in any state. As Miss Wisconsin 2022, I will be the first nuclear engineering student ever to compete for the title of Miss America, an iconic position for which thousands of women across the country strive (which pays six figures and has the potential of thousands of dollars in scholarship earnings).

Over the summer, in an attempt to help find another opportunity to offset the cost of the last year of my education, I competed for the title of Miss Wisconsin for the second time. I was lucky enough this time to be selected for the job after competing against 22 candidates in the interview, talent, social impact pitch, red carpet wear, and onstage question events.

As Miss Wisconsin, I will travel thousands of miles across the state to attend community events, visit schools, and lead speaking engagements related to the Miss America Organization, my social impact initiative, and my career in nuclear energy. My social impact initiative, “Clean Energy, Cleaner Future,” promotes America’s transition to zero-­carbon energy with an emphasis on nuclear power, because I believe it is the best path forward as our major power source.

Jefferson Lab research reveals findings on nuclear structure

September 14, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at Jefferson Lab. (Source: Jefferson Lab)

Research with the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) has revealed new insights into short-range correlations—the brief pairings of nucleons (protons with neutrons, protons with protons, or neutrons with neutrons) in the nuclei of atoms. The study, published in Nature, used precision measurements to determine that short-range correlations differ depending on the density of the nucleus, that is, how many nucleons it contains.

DOE to award $22 million for cross-cutting accelerator R&D

February 22, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Instrumentation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source, an accelerator-based facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development. (Photo: ORNL)

Researchers advancing particle accelerator technology for medical, security, energy, and industrial applications have a new funding opportunity announced on February 16 by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-SC). The funding will support research to advance particle accelerator technology for medical, security, energy, and industrial applications. Grants will be awarded for work focused on innovation, technology transfer, and supply chain resiliency that falls under one of two DOE-SC programs: the Accelerator Stewardship program, which supports cross-disciplinary teams to solve high-impact problems, and the Accelerator Development program, which is aimed at strengthening domestic suppliers of accelerator technology.

DOE announces $18 million for advanced particle accelerator R&D

February 15, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy has announced an $18 million funding opportunity for research and development in particle accelerator science and technology for nuclear physics research. Provided through the DOE’s Office of Science, the funding is intended to support “efforts essential to developing world-leading core competencies and transformative technologies that significantly advance the state-of-the-art accelerator capabilities.”

Radioactive molecules could probe origins of the universe

July 9, 2021, 9:13AMNuclear News

Physicists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions have measured the effect of a single neutron in a molecule of radium monofluoride and hypothesize that radioactive molecules could be used as a tool to explore why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. The research team’s findings were published in the journal Physical Review Letters on July 7, and on the same day, an article published online by MIT News explained the implications of their work.

Brookhaven lab names new nuclear and particle physics directorate lead

April 19, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News


Haiyan Gao, currently the Henry W. Newson Distinguished Professor of Physics at Duke University, will join the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory as associate laboratory director for Nuclear & Particle Physics starting on or about June 1, 2021.

Details: Gao, who has a long history in nuclear physics, will help develop BNL’s collective long-term vision for the next 10 years. She’ll also work across the laboratory and beyond to craft its emerging expertise at the future Electron-Ion Collider, a one-of-kind nuclear physics research facility that will be built at the lab over the next decade.

A matter of perspective: Unleashing the power of particle physics

April 14, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn in their lab in Germany in 1913.

Comparing matter to a “lush tapestry, woven from a complex assortment of threads,” physics writer Emily Conover traces the evolution of our understanding of the atom over the past century in the recent Science News article, “How matter’s hidden complexity unleashed the power of nuclear physics.” Conover uncovers how our vision of matter changed from that of a “no-nonsense plaid” to one of an “ornate brocade,” ultimately transforming nuclear physics from an arcane academic pursuit to something that forever changed the world.

Manhattan Project scientist Chien-Shiung Wu honored with Forever Stamp

February 11, 2021, 11:59AMNuclear News

To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the U.S. Postal Service today issued a commemorative Forever stamp recognizing influential nuclear physicist and professor Chien-Shiung Wu (1912–1997).

A great honor: The stamp was dedicated during a virtual ceremony that can be viewed on the Postal Service Facebook and Twitter pages. USPS official Kristin Seaver was joined for the ceremony by Vincent Yuan, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and son of the honoree; Jada Yuan, granddaughter of the honoree; and Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University. The stamp is available for purchase at Post Office locations nationwide and online.

“I am elated to have my mother honored by USPS on a postage stamp because I believe it goes beyond recognizing her scientific achievements; it also honors the determination and moral qualities that she embodied,” said Vincent Yuan. “It’s even more profound that the recognition comes from America, the country of her naturalization that she loved.”

Is proximity key to understanding interactions on the nuclear scale?

November 13, 2020, 6:51AMANS Nuclear Cafe

An MIT-led team found that the formulas describing how atoms behave in a gas can be generalized to predict how protons and neutrons interact at close range. Image: Collage by MIT News. Neutron star image: X-ray (NASA/CXC/ESO/F.Vogt et al); Optical (ESO/VLT/MUSE & NASA/STScI)

In an MIT News article playfully titled “No matter the size of a nuclear party, some protons and neutrons will always pair up and dance,” author Jennifer Chu explains that findings on the interactions of protons and neutrons recently published in the journal Nature Physics show that the nucleons may behave like atoms in a gas.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology–led team simulated the behavior of nucleons in several types of atomic nuclei using supercomputers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory. The team investigated a range of nuclear interaction models and found that formulas describing a concept known as contact formalism can be generalized to predict how protons and neutrons interact at close range.

Researchers develop novel approach to modeling as-yet-unconfirmed rare nuclear process

July 8, 2020, 4:49PMAround the Web

According to a recent story published by AAAS, researchers from the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams Laboratory at Michigan State University have taken a major step toward a theoretical first-principles description of neutrinoless double-beta decay.