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Argonne's Nuclear Science and Technology Legacy

Historical News Releases

Argonne Historical News Release About the Historical News Releases
This is an archived Argonne News Release Item about the lab's nuclear energy legacy.
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International School focused on peaceful uses of nuclear energy

ARGONNE, Ill. (Oct. 12, 1996) — In December of 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in an effort to promote international scientific cooperation, proposed an "Atoms for Peace" program to the United Nations General Assembly. He offered other nations help from the United States in harnessing the power of nuclear energy for peaceful uses.

Nearly two years later, on Oct. 12, 1955, that vision began to bear fruit with the first graduating class of the International School of Nuclear Science and Engineering at Argonne National Laboratory.

The school's first session began on March 14, 1955. In attendance were 40 students from 20 countries, all from industry.

The curriculum included unclassified courses in design, construction, and operation of reactors for nuclear research; principles of design of nuclear power reactors; chemistry and metallurgy of reactor materials; handling of irradiated materials; and other related peacetime applications of nuclear energy.

President Eisenhower told the students in this first class, "You represent a positive accomplishment in the Free World's efforts to mobilize its atomic resources for peaceful uses and the benefit of mankind."

By 1959, Argonne had trained 420 students from 41 countries, including the United States. When the school closed in 1965, 800 students from throughout the Free World had participated in the training program. Argonne's educational outreach did not end there, however.

In 1968, the Argonne Center for Educational Affairs was established. Within this center, training courses in nuclear technology began in 1976, with sponsorship by the U.S. Department of State in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

All educational activities were consolidated into the Division of Educational Programs in 1980. Since then, Argonne has offered more than 75 training courses to more than 2,100 participants from around the world. Courses have included radiation protection, nuclear safety, energy planning and environmental monitoring.

In recent years, Argonne has reached thousands of U.S. students each year through a variety of programs. Undergraduate and graduate interns at the laboratory, for example, work on research projects in the physical and life sciences, mathematics, computer science and engineering as well as in a variety of applied research areas including energy conservation and environmental technology.

Other educational opportunities provided by the laboratory include summer research opportunities for faculty and students from colleges and universities across the nation; training for teachers from throughout the state of Illinois on how to use the Internet as a classroom resource and a teacher enhancement program that trains high-school and junior-high teachers on how to operate scientific equipment and allows them to borrow the equipment for use in their classrooms.

Related Information

  • Education: The Effort is Global - Learn more about the International School and the role the Argonaut reactor played in it visiting Argonne's page on education history at the lab…

Last Modified: Wed, September 25, 2013 9:24 PM