Brief History of Nuclear Engineering at Georgia Tech

1885 The Georgia Legislature passes a bill appropriating $65,000 to found a technical school.

1886 Atlanta is chosen as the location for the Georgia School of Technology.

1888 Georgia Tech opens for classes on October 8 with 129 students working toward the only degree offered, the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

1931 The Georgia Legislature creates the University System of Georgia.

1948 The Board of Regents authorizes Tech to change its name to the Georgia Institute of Technology.

1957 Frank Neely helps Georgia Tech get one of the first nuclear reactors in the South. The Georgia Legislature grants Tech $2.5 million for a nuclear reactor. The cost for the entire complex was 4.5 million dollars.

1958 The first master's degree in Nuclear Science is granted. This would later become the Health Physics degree.

1960 The Board of Regents names the research facility that contains the reactor the Frank H. Neely Nuclear Research Center.

1962 The School of Nuclear Engineering is established with the M.S.N.E. as its first degree.

1963 Dr. Geoffrey Eichholz is the first faculty member hired in the School of Nuclear Engineering. The first MSNE is awarded to a minority student.

1964 The heavy-water-cooled nuclear reactor begins operations. The Ph.D. in nuclear engineering is approved.

1965 The first Ph.D. in nuclear engineering is awarded to Walter Waverly Graham. The curriculum option of health physics within the MSNE program is initiated.

1967 The undergraduate program in Nuclear Engineering is established.

1972 The first master's degree in nuclear engineering is awarded to a minority student. The Board of Regents approves the conversion of the master's degree in applied nuclear science to be conferred on health physics students in the nuclear engineering department. This will be called the M.S. in Health Physics.

1973 The bachelor's degree in nuclear engineer is approved.

1975 The master's degree in nuclear engineering is accredited. The first master's degree in nuclear engineering is awarded to a female student.

Mid-1970s Tech is one of the first undergraduate programs in nuclear engineering to be accredited.

1977 The Center of Radiological Research is formed to coordinate research in health physics. The distance-learning (video) program in health physics (M.S.H.P.) and nuclear engineering (M.S.N.E.) is started.

1979 The School of Nuclear Engineering is renamed the School of Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics.

Late 1970s Tech has the largest graduate health physics program in the country.

1981 The first Ph.D. in nuclear engineering is awarded to a minority student.

1984 The first Ph.D. in nuclear engineering (HP) is awarded to a woman. The School of Nuclear Engineering is merged into the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

1985 Tech decides to maintain its nuclear engineering program during a period of downturn because nuclear power and security are important to the economies of the southeast and the nation.

Late 1980s Tech still has one of the largest health physics programs in the country.

1995 The nuclear reactor is shut down.

1997 The B.S.N.E. degree becomes the B.S.N.R.E. degree to reflect the addition of radiological engineering courses in the curriculum.

2002 Decommissioning the nuclear reactor is completed. The NRE/HP program becomes an autonomous unit in the Woodruff School. A Woodruff School Associate Chair is appointed for the program.

2003 ABET approval of the undergraduate program. The Master's Degree in Medical Physics receives approval from the Board of Regents.

2004 Students are admitted to the Medical Physics program, which begins in the fall. The distance-learning program in Medical Physics begins. The undergraduate program in nuclear and radiological engineering is ranked 11th in the nation by U. S. News & World Report.

2005 The first three students finished the MSMP program.

2006 The nuclear reactor containment is torn down to make way for a nanotechnology center.

2007 Because of increased enrollment, four faculty members are hired.

2010 NRE/MP program moves to the third floor of the Boggs Building.

2012 NRE/MP program opens the Radiological Sciences and Engineering Laboratory (RSEL).