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DOH Health Physicist speaks to Seattle Fusor Group

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:56 am
On Friday night, we were privileged to listen to a presentation by Mike Brennan from the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Radiation Protection on the subject of the RAD BIZ! In attendance were all of the NWNC Fusor Crew, Teachers from Todd Beamer High School (We have some of their AP Physics students on our team) as well as Robert Tubs, Jake Hecla, David Housley, and Kim Brown.

We recently entertained a visit from Mike and another health physicist who's focus is X-Ray at our new facilities here in Federal Way. After a complete review of our neutron producing fusor and our new facilities and "source library", they determined there were no corrective actions required. That has now cleared the way for us to work directly with local high schools on a nuclear curriculum for AP Physics with our fusor as the primary teaching aid.

Mike made a very positive case for making nuclear engineering a long term career choice as the number of older nuclear engineers on the verge of retirement is going to create an avalanche of demand. Young people graduating in the next 8 years from either a military nuclear engineering curriculum or one of the remaining universities still offering such a course will not go wanting for work. Many of our students are high school Juniors or Seniors, so this was well received. For more information, check our website at or watch our video at

Re: DOH Health Physicist speaks to Seattle Fusor Group

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:13 am
by Carl Willis
Hi Carl,

Accolades to you for championing fusors as an instructional tool and a gateway to careers in nuclear science, and getting a wider community involved with your effort.

While certainly true that nuclear engineers are in demand and can look forward to financially-rewarding careers right now, the best reason to follow this trajectory is the opportunity for personal edification and enjoyment. Increasingly, education is being pitched as a means to an end--a job--but I think it serves a person and society better to approach it as a journey for its own sake, an inducement to the curious to tackle new challenges.

Best of luck with your high school curriculum. It's past time to dispel the notion that nuclear science can't be hands-on at this level.


Re: DOH Health Physicist speaks to Seattle Fusor Group

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:50 pm
by Richard Hull
I'll double up on Carl's comments. You are doing, locally, what this forum seeks to do globally. The difference is you have the edge in show and tell with the enthusiasm seen immediately, the one-on-one live action and Q&A responses. There are a lot of bright eyes gleaming and maybe looking at a career choice that was only in the formative stages.

All the very best in your continuing efforts.

Richard Hull

Re: DOH Health Physicist speaks to Seattle Fusor Group

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:48 pm
by RobertTubbs
I must also applaud what Carl has done as he's effectively acted as a popularizer making the DOH among others not just accepting of fusors but encouraging too, not to mention made projects (a few orders of magnitude more interesting than the typical sad classroom demos) available to kids who will now likely go into the field or similar fields later down the road.

Also, the opportunity Carl is providing to people isn't just limited to the high-schoolers, through Carl's operation I've met a very brilliant and willing engineer, David Housley, who's been kind enough to reveal much the the black magic behind TW & SW linacs at his place of work.

Thank you, both of you,
Robert Tubbs

Re: DOH Health Physicist speaks to Seattle Fusor Group

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:16 pm
by DaveC
I want to add my appreciation, Carl.

This a great example of going about things the right way. It's also a tribute to the folks on the Regulations side, who have a healthy attitude and quite a good supply of common sense.

Hats off to you all. Your setup is also quite photogenic, which always helps.

All the best,

Dave Cooper