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National Security Education Center


Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Summer School 2012

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, June 11 — July 20, 2012

View the Nuclear Summer School Flyer (pdf).

*** The deadline is past for the 2012 Summer School. Applications are no longer being accepted. ***

How to apply

Undergraduate students specializing in the physical sciences are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be US Citizens. Fill out the ONLINE APPLICATION. Applicants must submit:
  • Brief Statement of Intent stating strengths, goals and interests
  • Current Resume
  • University Transcript (with copy of spring 2012 schedule)
  • One Letter of Recommendation from a Faculty Member or Technical Reference
Application Deadline EXTENDED to: April 6, 2012

Students will be notified of selection by April 16, 2012 (Requests for early decision can be considered individually—contact Susan Ramsay).

For more information:

Susan Ramsay
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Email: ramsay@lanl.gov
Phone: 505-665-7214
Fax: 505-665-7895

Student Stipend
Each student will receive housing, three meals per day M-F, and a $5,000 stipend that includes travel.


In its third year, six-week summer school, to be held June 11-July 20, 2012 on the University of Missouri, Columbia (MU) campus (shown above), is designed to provide comprehensive, experimental, hands-on training in topics essential to nuclear forensics as a means of interesting students in pursuing graduate studies in technical fields related to nuclear forensics.

Technical Focus

Students will be trained in topical areas such as:
  • Nuclear Decay
  • Atomic and Nuclear Structure
  • Nuclear Material Processes and Uses
  • The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
  • Radiation Detection
  • Standard Analytical Methods
  • Environmental Radiochemistry

Course Format

Two 1 1/2 hour lectures will be presented in the morning, with laboratory experiments performed most afternoons. Coursework will cover major topics in nuclear and radiochemistry, as well as in the chemical and physical characterization of actinide-bearing materials.


At the completion of this summer school, students will understand:
  • The chart of nuclides, and be able to utilize it
  • Different modes of radioactive decay
  • Components of the nucleus and how it influences nuclear properties
  • How fission is induced and the resulting products
  • Radiation detection or mass spectroscopy and be able to determine isotope concentration or ratios
  • The fundamental components and chemistry in the nuclear fuel cycle
  • The chemistry of key radionuclides in applications important to nuclear forensics
  • The application of analytical methods in characterizing materials
  • Contemporary issues in nuclear forensics

Field Trip

The 2012 Nuclear Forensics Summer School will include a field trip to a National Laboratory to provide participants a first-hand view of an operational environment.

Sponsored By

  • Department of Homeland Security - Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Washington State University
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