Exceptional Nuclear Engineering Professors

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Said I. Abdel-Khalik - PhD - Georgia Tech

Dr. Said I. Abdel-Khalik is the Southern Nuclear Distinguished Professor of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology or Georgia Tech. In addition to being a celebrated educator, he is a prolific researcher and writer with almost 400 leading academic journal papers, several patents, and many published conference proceedings to his name.

Dr. Abdel-Khalik’s research in nuclear engineering, heat transfer, and fusion technology is supported by government agencies and key industry players, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Southern Nuclear Operating Company.

As a professor, he has supervised more than 100 graduate theses and won several teaching awards, including the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering’s Ziegler Outstanding Educator Award and the Outstanding Faculty Service Award (Georgia Tech); Outstanding Teacher Award (UW–Madison); and the Glenn Murphy Award (American Society for Engineering Education). Dr. Abdel-Khalik also won the American Nuclear Society’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

Assel Aitkaliyeva - PhD - University of Florida

Dr. Assel Aitkaliyeva is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering in the University of Florida’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She also holds a joint appointment with the Idaho National Laboratory and is a principal investigator at UF’s Materials for Nuclear Advancement and Technology in Extreme Environments program, or MANATEE.

Dr. Aitkaliyeva previously served as the technical lead of the Focused Ion Beam and Nuclear Science User Facilities groups labs. Her current research interests include the thermal and mechanical properties of materials in irradiated environments, kinetics, nanostructured materials, and multi-scale simulation of nuclear fuel. She earned her PhD from Texas A&M University. Her research has been published in prominent journals such as the Journal of Nuclear Materials, Scientific reports, Micron, and Applied Physics Letters.

Todd Allen - PhD - University of Wisconsin–Madison

Dr. Todd Allen is a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a key contributor to the Wisconsin Institute of Nuclear Systems (WINS), which researches health physics, multiphase flow, materials science, neutronics, and reactor physics. As a materials scientist, he studies nuclear radiation damage and corrosion while championing the establishment and commercialization of advanced nuclear concepts.

Dr. Allen is particularly interested in fission reactors, fuels, and the sustainability of nuclear energy. He has been honored by several organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the American Nuclear Society, and the Argonne National Laboratory. He completed his PhD and MS at the University of Michigan and a BS at Northwestern University.

Jacopo Buongiorno - PhD - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

A TEPCO professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT and a director of science and technology in the MIT nuclear reactor laboratory, Dr. Jacopo Buongiorno teaches several graduate and undergraduate courses in the engineering of nuclear systems, thermal-fluids engineering, engineering of nuclear reactors, and thermal-hydraulics in power technology. His current research efforts are focused on nuclear batteries, nanofluids for nuclear applications, and surface effects on boiling heat transfer.

Dr. Buongiorno’s research has been published in prominent journals such as the Journal of Computational Physics, and the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer. He has received many awards such as the ANS Outstanding Teacher Award from MIT, and the Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching from the School of Engineering. He holds his PhD from MIT and a BS from Polytechnic of Milan.

James Duderstadt - PhD - University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Dr. James Duderstadt is the President Emeritus University Professor in nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, which consistently ranks among the top nuclear engineering schools in the nation (and beyond). He is also director of the U-Millennium Project, a research center focused on technology’s impact on communities, institutions, and the world; the chair of the National Research Council’s Policy and Global Affairs Division; the co-director of the Glion Colloquium; and a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution.

Dr. Duderstadt’s research interests include nuclear fission and fusion reactor theory and design; radiation transport; and the interaction of intense laser particle beams with plasmas. He is highly celebrated for his contributions to the field of nuclear engineering as both a professional and an educator.

Among Dr. Duderstadt’s honors: the E.O Lawrence Award for excellence in research, the Arthur Holly Compton Prize for outstanding teaching, the President’s National Medal of Technology, and the Vannevar Bush Award for lifelong scientific and public policy contributions.

Massimiliano Fratoni - PhD - University of California–Berkeley

Dr. Massimiliano Fratoni is an associate professor in the department of nuclear engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where he teaches or has taught courses in nuclear criticality safety, supervised independent study, individual research, and group research seminars. His research areas include advanced nuclear reactors design, fusion reactors, and fuel cycle analysis.

Dr. Fratoni’s research has been published in journals such as Progress in Nuclear Energy, Scripta Materialia, and Annals of Nuclear Energy. He has received many awards such as the Early Career Reactor Physicist Award from ANS, and a Directorate Award from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He holds his PhD and MS from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Laurea in nuclear engineering from Università di Roma.

Uwe Greife - PhD - Colorado College of Mines

Dr. Uwe Greife is a professor of nuclear engineering at the Colorado College of Mines’ Department of Physics. He is an experienced teacher and recipient of the Dean’s Excellence Award. What distinguishes him from other professors on this list, however, is his work, which he says can be “loosely described as applied nuclear physics.”

In addition to studying nuclear astrophysics with radioactive ion beams, nuclear diagnostics, and neutron detection—work carried out in several national laboratories—he heads CCM’s Greife Research Group, a part of the school’s subatomic physics group, and is working to create a time projection chamber and the next generation of gamma and neutron-sensitive organic scintillators.

Dr. Greife is deeply committed to developing future nuclear engineers: according to his home page, he is “naturally dedicated to education through the involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in the research enterprise.”

Kostadin Ivanov - PhD - North Carolina State University

Dr. Kostadin Ivanov is a professor of nuclear engineering and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, North Carolina State University. His teaching is focused around nuclear fuel management, Monte Carlo methods, reactor kinetics & dynamics, and neutron transport theory, among others. His research interests include nuclear core design and safety analysis, nuclear reactor physics and multi-physics, nuclear plant simulations.

Dr. Ivanov’s research has been published in journals such as the Annals of Nuclear Energy, the Journal of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science, and Nuclear Engineering and Design. He has received many awards such as NCSU Outstanding Global Engagement Award, MNE Department Head’s Outstanding Faculty Award, and US DOE Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Award. He completed his PhD at the Institute of Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy and a BS from Moscow Institute of Power Engineering.

Stephen McHale - PhD - United States Naval Academy

Stephen McHale is an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department of the United States Naval Academy. His research areas include nuclear weapon effects, radiation transport & shielding, and neutron imaging and activation analysis. His research has been published in prominent journals such as Semiconductor Science and Technology, Physical Review, and Applied Physics Letters.

Dr. McHale has received the Dr. Leslie M. Norton Teaching Excellence Award and the Southwest Ohio Council for Higher Education Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013 and 2014 respectively. He earned his PhD and MS from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a BS from the United States Military Academy.

Yassin A. Hassan - PhD - Texas A&M University

Dr. Yassin A. Hassan is a professor of nuclear and mechanical engineering and the principal investigator of the Thermal-Hydraulics Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University, College of Engineering. His research interests include reactor safety, two-phase flow, imaging techniques, fluid mechanics, turbulence & laser velocimetry, and computational & experimental thermal hydraulics. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Dr. Hassan’s research has been published in journals such as the International Journal of Multiphase Flow, the International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, and the Journal of Computational Physics. He holds his PhD and MS from the University of Illinois and a BS from the University of Alexandria in Egypt. He has received several awards such as Thermal Hydraulics Technical Achievement Award and the George Westinghouse Gold Medal Award.

Ahmed Hassanein - PhD - Purdue University

Dr. Ahmed Hassanein is Purdue University’s Paul L. Wattelet Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and widely recognized as one of the world's foremost leaders in modeling and benchmarking material responses to different radiation and particle sources.

He accrued more than three decades of practice and research experience in the fields of nuclear and plasma physics and engineering before joining PU, holding such positions as a senior scientist, group leader, and director of the Fusion Power Program at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. He continues his work as director of the university’s Center for Materials Under Extreme Environment.

Dr. Hassanein’s research emphasis includes plasma material interactions; radiation and particle transport in materials; magnetic and inertial fusion; and laser-produced plasma. He has penned more than 400 articles and technical reports in over 30 different national and international physics, engineering, and materials journals, and has several patents to his name. His students and research staff have won numerous national and international awards in various research fields.

Dr. Hassanein is a fellow of at least seven honorific professional societies including AAAS, SPIE, IEEE, ANS, OSA, APS, and IOP. Notably, he received the IEEE Merit Award—the highest IEEE technical achievement award for society’s nuclear and plasma sciences.

Keith Holbert - PhD - Arizona State University

Dr. Keith Holbert is the director of the nuclear power generation program and an associate professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University. His teaching includes nuclear power engineering, electrical circuits, and electric power plants. His research efforts are focused on noise analysis, process monitoring & diagnostics, radiation effects, and sensor fault detection.

Dr. Holbert’s research has been published in prominent journals such as Progress in Nuclear Energy, Applied Physics Letters, and Journal of Applied Physics. He holds his PhD, MS, and BS from the University of Tennessee.

Arthur Motta - PhD - Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Arthur Motta is a professor and graduate program chair of nuclear engineering in the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. He teaches or has taught courses such as issues in nuclear engineering, nuclear materials, radioactive waste control, and environmental degradation of materials in nuclear power plants. He has more than 120 publications which include several book chapters and reviews. His research centers around the behavior of nuclear materials in the reactor environment.

Dr. Motta’s research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Nuclear Materials, Progress in Nuclear Energy, and Annals of Nuclear Energy. He has received several awards such as the Mishima Award from the American Nuclear Society, and the William J. Kroll Medal from ASTM. he completed his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and his MS and BS at the University of Rio de Janeiro.

Donald R. Olander - ScD - University of California–Berkeley

Dr. Donald R. Olander is professor emeritus of nuclear engineering and James Fife Chair in Engineering at the University of California–Berkeley. He is an accomplished researcher, engineer, and teacher, once winning the U.S. DOE Nuclear Engineering Education & Research Award and the Mishima Award for contributions to the field of nuclear materials.

Dr. Olander’s research interests include the high-temperature kinetic and thermodynamic behavior of nuclear reactor fuel—including the performance of degraded fuel—and the design of an online boron-removal process in LWR coolant water. He remains a go-to consultant for industry and research organizations such as Duke E & S Hanford and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he provided information on the long-term storage of weapons materials.

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in irradiation effects in metals and corrosion in nuclear power systems. He completed his ScD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS and AB from Columbia University.

Camille J. Palmer - PhD - Oregon State University

An associate professor in the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering at Oregon State University, Dr. Camille J. Palmer is a member of several professional organizations such as the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and the American Nuclear Society.

Dr. Palmer’s current research efforts are focused on investigating robotic applications for nuclear safeguards, nuclear forensic signature development, and introducing new analytical techniques for nuclear forensics. Her research has been published in journals such as Health Physics, Analytical Chemistry, and Progress in Nuclear Energy. She completed her PhD and MS at the University of Cincinnati and a BS at Oregon State University.

Mark A. Pierson - PhD - Virginia Tech

Dr. Mark A. Pierson is an associate professor of nuclear engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he is credited with redeveloping the entire nuclear engineering program, including all curricula. His efforts won him several honors including the Virginia Tech College of Engineering W.S. “Pete” White Innovation in Engineering Education Award; a Certificate of Teaching Excellence; and the Sporn Award for Excellence in Engineering Instruction.

Dr. Pierson was deputy department head of the Office of Naval Research’s Engineering, Materials and Physical Sciences Department and program officer for its Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarine Security. He also served as an executive officer, as second-in-command for the USS Indiana nuclear submarine, and as a submarine maintenance program officer for the Pentagon’s director of naval warfare.

According to Virginia Tech’s website, Dr. Pierson’s naval engineering experience informs his teaching and continues to drive cutting-edge research in areas like nano-nuclear applications in radiation detection, nuclear nonproliferation, plant operations & safety, and computational particle transport applications in accelerator-driven subcritical systems.

Richard Schultz - PhD - Idaho State University

Dr. Richard Schultz is a research professor at Idaho State University and a consulting engineer for the Idaho National Laboratory. He previously served as a professor of practice at Texas A&M University, a distinguished research engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory, and an experimentalist at the United Technology Research Center.

Dr. Schultz has won several awards for his contributions to the field of nuclear engineering such as the Outstanding Engineer Award (ISU); the Outstanding Service Award (ISU); the George Westinghouse medal for eminent achievement in power engineering; the American Society of Mechanical Engineering’s Dedicated Service Award; and multiple Outstanding Research Awards internationally.

Dr. Schultz was also an esteemed recipient of the Idaho National Laboratory Award for Individual Lifetime Achievement in Science and Technology, the lab’s highest achievement. He has taught courses such as two-phase flow, heat transfer, nuclear engineering thermal-hydraulics, advanced fluid mechanics, and nuclear reactor safety & economics.

James F. Stubbins - PhD - University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign

Dr. James F. Stubbins is a professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His teaching nods include the Materials Science and Technology Division’s Outstanding Achievement Award and the Glenn Murphy Award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Stubbins’ research honors are just as impressive, once earning him the title of International Scientist of the Year, and earning him memberships and chairs in many esteemed professional nuclear societies.

Dr. Stubbins’ primary areas of interest include irradiation damage and effects, mechanical properties, high-temperature corrosion, and electron microscopy of nuclear materials. He also studies the development and analysis of new materials with energy-related applications.

Dr. Stubbins is a champion for advanced energy systems and policy. He has taught courses such as energy systems, materials in nuclear engineering, and nuclear engineering materials lab. He completed his PhD and MS at the University of Cincinnati and a BS at the University of Michigan.

Lawrence W. Townsend - PhD - University of Tennessee–Knoxville

Dr. Lawrence W. Townsend is both the Chancellor’s Professor and Robert M. Condra Professor Emeritus of nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville. He is an accomplished researcher with special interests in radiation physics; nuclear and radiological engineering; transport; shielding and risk assessment; and theoretical nuclear physics, though his work in space research is especially notable.

Dr. Townsend served on the NASA Task Group to Examine Radiation Issues for Manned Lunar and Mars Missions and the NASA Mars Human Precursor Science Steering Group, among other groups. His contributions to the field earned him the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal; the NASA Group Achievement Award; the NASA Langley Special Achievement Award; and the NASA Langley Superior Accomplishment Award.

Notably, Dr. Townsend is celebrated as a professor of nuclear engineering, holding such accolades as the UT Research and Creative Achievement Award; the Moses E. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award; and the Leon and Nancy Cool Superior Teaching Award.


The field of nuclear engineering has many accomplished professors. www.onlineengineeringprograms.com considered the following criteria in selecting the final picks:

  • Active teaching and/or advising nuclear engineering students
  • Acknowledgment of teaching excellence
  • Ongoing scholarship and research
  • Elected memberships and chairs in professional societies
  • Professional contributions to the field
  • Awards, fellowships, grants, and other marks of achievement
  • Published journal articles, presentations, conference proceedings, books, and other works