Newswise — Jean Paul Allain has been named the inaugural head of the recently established Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State, effective July 1. He will hold the Lloyd and Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair in Plasma Medicine in the Huck Institutes for Life Sciences, as well as the positions of an Institute for Cyber Science faculty co-hire and professor of biomedical engineering by courtesy.

Allain is currently a professor and the associate head of graduate programs in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also leads the Radiation Surface Science and Engineering Laboratory. Allain is also professor of Bioengineering, the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab, the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory and an affiliate of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.

“Jean Paul has an extraordinary vision for nuclear engineering at Penn State,” said Justin Schwartz, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “He has an eye not only toward research innovations in the department and how to best prepare students to enter the field, but he also thinks bigger with the goal of harnessing these advancements to define nuclear science and engineering for the future.”

Allain’s start day of July 1 corresponds with the official creation of the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering, which has been a part of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering since 1999.

“I believe that becoming the head of the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering is one of the greatest honors I could hope for,” Allain said. “This is the right time for this challenge. Nuclear engineering at Penn State has some of its best days ahead as we build from the department’s incredible tradition and deep roots.”

Prior to joining Illinois as a faculty member in 2013, Allain held a faculty position at Purdue University and served as a staff scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy multidisciplinary science and engineering research center.

An author of more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers, Allain conducts experimental and computational modeling work in the area of particle-surface interactions. Allain has received numerous awards for his work and teaching, including Argonne National Lab’s Distinguished Performance Award (2003-06), Best Teacher Award in 2008 at Purdue University and 2013 at Illinois, the Department of Energy Early Career Award in 2010, the Research Excellence Award in 2011, the Fulbright Scholar Award in 2015, Faculty Entrepreneurial Fellow in 2016 at UIUC, Dean’s Excellence in Research Award in 2017 and the 2018 American Nuclear Society Fusion Energy Division Technology Accomplishment Award.

Allain earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State Polytechnic University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from Illinois.

The Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the top ranked nuclear engineering programs in the United States. The department distinguishes itself from other programs with a strong focus on experimental research in power, science, security and safety. The actively growing department leads four educational programs for students pursuing a bachelor of science, a master of science, a master of engineering or a doctoral degree. The department also houses the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, the country’s first and longest operating licensed nuclear reactor. The construction and operation of the reactor introduced nuclear engineering to Penn State, and, in doing so, harnessed research and educational opportunities as key strengths for the department. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

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