Established in 1958, the Department of Nuclear Engineering is one of the first nuclear engineering programs in the United States. The Department's programs are at the forefront of nuclear science and technology leading to improved performance of fission-powered reactors, the technological applications of nuclear and radiation phenomena in biomedical, industrial, and environmental fields, and the development of nuclear fusion as an energy source. Both within MIT and in the surrounding Boston metropolitan area, there is a unique concentration of a dynamic learning environment in many fields of science, engineering, economics, and business management.
The Department defines its education and research mission broadly as the study of nuclear, molecular, and radiation interactions and their applications to problems of beneficial interest to society. The development of such applications is a relatively recent activity in the history of mankind, taking place mostly in the second half of the 20th century. Yet, today nuclear technology is a major contributor to the vitality and health of society with its widespread use for electricity generation and industrial and medical diagnostics, and as an indispensable tool for scientific research in fields ranging from pharmaceuticals to environmental studies. Compared to more traditional engineering disciplines, the field of nuclear engineering is a new addition to university educational programs. Because we have only recently begun to understand basic nuclear processes, nuclear engineering is still in its "pioneering" phase with regard to its impact on our lives.
For more information, go to http://web.mit.edu/ned/www/