The ANS 2012 Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition

By Elia Merzari

One of the missions of the American Nuclear Society’s Young Members Group is to promote participation of young members in the activities of the society. Boosting the involvement of young members in the technical programs of the society’s professional divisions is an important goal in this effort.

Every year since 2006, the Thermal Hydraulics Division (THD) and the Young Members Group (YMG) have organized the Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition for ANS members with less than 5 years of professional experience after graduation or younger than 35 years old. The competition is also open to graduate students, but the first author of the summary is expected to present the work and be largely responsible for the research conducted.

Participants submit a summary to the ANS Winter Meeting, which undergoes the usual peer-review process. The accepted summaries and the corresponding presentations are then critiqued by a panel of judges organized by the THD at the winter meeting. The winner receives a plaque furnished by the THD.

The competition has enjoyed a growing success, in each of the last two years receiving 14 submissions or more. The majority of these summaries are from graduate students, but a growing number of papers comes from professionals working in national laboratories, research centers, and industry. The competition has proven to be an effective means for YMG members to become involved in THD activities—and vice versa. For example, I began my involvement in the YMG because of the competition, while, in turn, the THD also benefitted from the competition, with a significant increase in summary submissions observed in recent meetings, most of which are from young members.

Nathaniel Salpeter, the 2011 Winner, had this to say about the competition: “The Young Professional Thermal Hydraulics Competition was a constructive experience that provided a great platform not just for presenting my own research, but also for engaging with many extremely talented peers in a mutually beneficial setting where high quality research presentations, constructive peer review, and interaction with nuclear industry champions combine to form a model professional development competition.”

Overall, the Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition is a remarkable success story of cooperation between the YMG and the technical divisions. Experience has shown that the dedication of some key people is essential. If you wish to volunteer to organize this competition or a similar one sponsored by a different division, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always looking to expand on this positive experience!

The next Thermal Hydraulics Young Professional Research Competition will be held in San Diego in conjunction with the ANS Winter Meeting in November. For more information, check the competition announcement or contact Wade Marcum. The submissions website for the ANS Winter Meeting opens on April 1.



Elia Merzari is the current YMG secretary. He works as a nuclear engineer at Argonne National Laboratory, where his research interests include nuclear thermal-hydraulics, modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, and accelerator driven systems.

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