University of Sheffield Scholar Award, University of Sheffield, Materials Engineering
I am a professor at Washington State University in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and a joint appointee at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, supervising about 15 students at all levels in materials research. I am passionate about our responsibility as citizens of the earth to secure its liveability for future generations. Scientists and engineers must work diligently to find safe and reliable means to immobilize and store nuclear waste. This environmental responsibility is acutely obvious in my home region, where a large amount of radioactive waste has accumulated over 80 years. The debates around treatment and storage are quite like those being faced in northern England, with citizens sharing many concerns. My time in the UK will involve collaborative work toward finding technical and public engagement solutions to problems in nuclear waste management. A Fulbright in the UK also connects me to my heritage as a descendant of Scottish-Irish immigrants, as well as to the recent past as the grandson of a Fulbright scholar to Taiwan in 1962. That year, in Hawaii en route to Taiwan, my father witnessed one of the last high-altitude nuclear bomb tests over the Pacific. As was the case then, our current generation continues to struggle with the benefits and liabilities of atomic energy.