Simulation Used to Spur Design Development for Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is a key player in the future of clean energy, and multiple companies are pursuing new technologies to maximize nuclear’s contribution to the clean energy space. Founded in 2011 and based in Cambridge, MA, Transatomic Power is an advanced nuclear technology startup developing and commercializing a molten salt reactor (MSR), or a nuclear reactor whose fuel is in liquid, rather than solid, form. This technology, originally developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960’s, offers multiple safety and cost benefits over traditional nuclear reactors, in which the fuel is in the form of solid pellets cooled by water.

Tranatomic’s MSR design builds on the original work at ORNL and adds a few innovative new features that reduce the reactor’s size and, as a result, it’s cost – a huge factor in building new nuclear power plants. Though the development process is a long one, the world needs a larger capacity for clean energy generation, and it’s this ultimate goal that drives the Transatomic team forward. Continue reading

Women in Tech and the NAFEMS World Congress

women in tech engineering 3D

About 6 weeks ago, I attended the NAFEMS Multiphysics and Multiscale conference in Columbus, Ohio, USA. I have witnessed the benefits women in tech bring to their companies and themselves and make a habit of counting how many women are at these events. I am excited when the number of women exceeds 10% of the attendees. This event did not quite meet that benchmark. Most conferences I attend in the simulation space do not. As a woman in tech with a keen interest in increasing the number of women in engineering and technology as well as promoting and supporting those already there, I find this disheartening. Continue reading

Pretty and Smart – STEM Issues

I am always thinking about women in engineering, and how to get young girls more involved in STEM, and some of the challenges they’re faced with. Today I’d like to share a story along that same vein. It’s a little long, but please bear with me, there’s a point. I promise.

A few weeks ago I was on vacation with my family and in-laws. Among the ten of us, was my 11 year old niece, I’ll call her “Miss M.” One evening, we were on our way out to dinner after swimming, waiting for the elevator. I checked my appearance in the mirror and scowled. I have hyper-pigmentation on my face that appears almost as dark tear streaks on my cheeks. I also have mild rosacea that causes redness around my nose. I started wearing make-up regularly just over a year ago to even out my skin tone and have become used to my made-up look. I scowled because the hyper-pigmented parts of my skin were readily apparent in the lobby light. Continue reading

It’s Women’s History Month – Honoring Famous Female Engineers

Acknowledging the achievements of women across all walks of life – engineering, science, literature, art, sports, medicine, education – can have a big impact on girls and young women who are just beginning to make their way in this world.  In March, we celebrate those achievements through “Women’s History Month.”

Image of Kate GleasonWhile researching women in engineering, I came across the story of Kate Gleason. Kate was the first female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Concrete Institute. Born in 1865 in Rochester, New York, she didn’t have any thorough engineering training. Kate attended Cornell University as a “special student” in 1884 to study mechanical arts while pursuing part-time studies at the Sibley College of Engraving and the Mechanics Institute. She started her career working in her father’s machine-tool factory, and by 1893 they had designed and perfected a machine that produced beveled gears quickly and at low cost. She was instrumental in helping the factory become a leading U.S. producer of gear-cutting machines in the early 1900s. Continue reading