Rapid Innovation in Nuclear Physics and Engineering

Monday, March 6, 2023 at 12:00pm

Fulton Hall, 227 301 W 14th Street, Rolla MO 65409

Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science Seminar speaker this upcoming Monday 3/6 will be Dr. Robert V. Duncan!

We welcome alumni, students, faculty, and staff to join us on Monday at 12:00 PM, Fulton Hall, Room 227! 

Zoom Link:


Passcode: 888


Over $5,000 M of private equity has been invested over the last two years in novel nuclear science and engineering.  During this same period, the US Government has expanded its investment in this area by ~ $700M.  This has led to rapid advances in novel nuclear energy technology, which will likely produce transformational results. 

A research collaboration centered at NASA’s Glenn Space Flight Center has recently reported their ‘short cut’ to lattice-confinement based nuclear fusion, which is secondary collisional fusion that is enhanced by gamma-enhanced nuclear screening by the electrons in the solid lattice. To date, we have not been able to repeat these NASA results. A collaboration of leading research laboratories, funded by Google, have shown that these effects substantially increase D-D fusion cross-sections, but only for deuterium collisional energies below 10 keV. We are now in the early stages of developing a new approach to light-element fission/fusion, utilizing micron-sized fuels that do not produce substantial heating. This allows direct nuclear fragment escape that may be used in solid-state electrical conversion, and direct nuclear thrust for spacecraft that are outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Most importantly, this new cycle produces no fuel-associated nuclear waste, and it is almost twice as efficient at converting mass to energy than conventional 235U fission. While it is difficult to obtain criticality in this new light-element cycle, sub-critical applications using accelerators are feasible. This new light-element, fission-fusion cycle may be combined with conventional fission fuel to obtain criticality, but this produces modest fuel-associated nuclear waste.

Bio:  Robert Duncan, Ph.D. is the President’s Distinguished Chair of Physics at Texas Tech University (TTU).  He served as Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Labs, as a Physics Professor at UNM, and as the Gordon and Betty Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech. He was the founding Director of the New Mexico Consortium at LANL in 2006, then VCR at MU from 2008-2013, and then Sr. VP for Research at TTU from 2014 to 2017. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the USAF, on the BPSS Decadal Survey of the NAS, and as a Fellow and Board Member of the National Academy of Inventors. He is a Fellow of the APS. Duncan received his B.S. in physics at MIT in 1982, and his Ph.D. in physics from UCSB in 1988

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Meetings, Lectures and Conferences


College of Engineering and Computing, Mining and Nuclear Engineering




##NuclearEngineering #MissouriS&T

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