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Nuclear Engineering

Overview

The power of the atom, yours to command.

Description

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when nuclear energy was considered the green alternative to petroleum and coal. They just didn't use the term "green" back then, mostly because the Incredible Hulk was still new and bringing up "green" and "nuclear power" in the same breath brought back memories of his latest rampage.

Since nuclear energy doesn't produce choking black clouds of awfulness, there was something to this reputation. Green or not, it does have other more insidious health effects. Combine that with a lax approach to safety, a couple scandals, a meltdown or two, and lingering fears about nuclear weapons, and you've got a climate where no one's interested in nuclear power anymore.

Fortunately for people considering this major (and any possible gamma-irradiated superheroes), that attitude is beginning to change. The current alternatives to nuclear energy are either too primitive or too polluting to be considered as long-term solutions for our energy needs. That leaves nuclear energy as one of the best possible fallbacks, and we need nuclear engineers to harness it.

But wait, isn't nuclear energy dangerous? The short answer is: yes. Extremely dangerous, even. Nuclear energy is not going to make any giant, fluffy animals. Looks like your dream of having a huge red panda cuddle an entire city of people will have to wait. Also, radiation exposure does not result in superheroes. Sorry, everyone. We were disappointed, too.

Nuclear energy can cause serious burns and repeated exposure can lead to cancer. Nuclear energy can do all kinds of damage when mishandled.

That's the key point there: mishandled.

Just about everything is dangerous when mishandled. Take a look at guns as an example. Sure, they're a blast to toss around in your backyard or to snuggle with at night, but what happens when you drop one on your foot? Ouch. Those things are made of heavy metal. Granted, nuclear power is more dangerous…but the principle holds. The key is to use it responsibly, or maybe even try to develop new and better ways of protecting people from the harmful effects.

The human race needs energy. As our population increases and the amount of electronic devices expands exponentially, that demand is only going to go up. As of now, it seems like nuclear power is the best answer.

Someone who was able to make it a safe and effective option would not only be doing the world a favor, but they would probably be rolling in cash (while covered in double-sided tape). Solving an energy crisis and winning vast amounts of cash? Too good to be true? Nope. Just make sure to pay attention at work.

Famous People who majored in Nuclear Engineering

  • Henry Sampson, inventor of the gamma-electrical cell.
  • X. George Xu, head of nuclear engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Shelby Brewer, former CEO of ABB-Combustion Engineering Nuclear Power
  • Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association of America
  • Richard G. Scott, designer of the reactor for the first nuclear submarine of the U.S. Navy

Percentage of US students who major in Nuclear Engineering:

0.01%

Stats obtained from this source.