The Michigan Engineer News Center

Terry Kammash receives Seaborg Medal

Terry Kammash, NERS professor emeritus, has received the Seaborg Medal, one of The American Nuclear Society's highest honors. | Short Read

The American Nuclear Society (ANS) is bestowing one of its highest honors, the Seaborg Medal, on Terry Kammash, a professor emeritus of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. The medal, named for Glenn Seaborg, the first recipient and a Nobel laureate, recognizes contributions to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The ceremony takes place Monday, November 12th at the ANS Winter Meeting.

Kammash’s explorations of fission-fusion hybrid reactors and of magnetic mirror machine fusion reactors may one day inform the design of powerful, high-efficiency thrusters for long-haul space flights. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics also recognized this work with the 2012 Pioneer Award.

In addition to driving space ships, fission-fusion hybrid reactors can generate electricity here on Earth, potentially improving the safety of the power plants and the security of the radioactive waste. The fusion reaction would feed neutrons into thorium fuel, creating uranium-233 and causing it to fission. Because the fission would stop without the fusion reaction, and because the fusion reaction requires energy input to continue, runaway reactions would be impossible. Moreover, the used thorium fuel would contain highly radioactive uranium-232. This isotope and its decay products are too hot to handle – their high-energy gamma ray emissions make the spent fuel too dangerous to work with for building nuclear weapons.

“I feel fortunate and honored to receive these awards,” said Kammash.

Portrait of Kate McAlpine


Kate McAlpine
Senior Writer & Assistant News Editor

Michigan Engineering
Communications & Marketing

(734) 763-2937

3214 SI-North

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read