Dan Ilas

Dan Ilas

[Ph.D. NE 2001]
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

e-mail: dan.ilas@comcast.net

Not long after my start in the NE program I went to a student conference with other students and professors. The students had free activities during the evening and one morning I was asked by Dr. Nolan Hertel if one of the students was "wild" the previous evening. I didn't hesitate, and I answered:"Yes, of course!" as I understood the question if she was "well". Everybody around began to laugh. Indeed, it's been a long road for me (and my English) since!

It was a great fortune to be admitted at a school with an excellent academic reputation and I had no hesitation when I received the admission letter from Dr. William Wepfer. Besides the academic work I had lots of enjoyable moments at Georgia Tech, not the least of them being those lived during the Atlanta Olympic Games.

As a graduate student, the credit I received for courses taken previously helped me concentrate my efforts toward research, in which I was involved from the very beginning. At the same time, I was always at freedom to take any classes I thought would help me, without any pressure, as I was able to enjoy the liberty in choosing the Ph.D. thesis topic. Since my work was in computational methods development, I expected to have up-to-date computers and codes. The Woodruff School and the Nuclear Engineering program always lived up to these expectations.

In the Nuclear Engineering program I was fortunate to meet a small but very dedicated and very professional faculty, each of them very well known in his field. Their personal examples were, I would say beyond anything else, an important source of inspiration for me, for my adjustment to the "New World's" conditions, for my work style. And I always found support from them, whenever I needed it, before or after graduation. I have the same good words towards the non-academic and administrative staff, for their friendly attitude and support. Finally, the students were absolutely special. My memories about our "social gatherings" will always stay alive.

I was very excited to see a great revitalization of the NE program when I returned at Tech as a postdoc in 2003, including the diversification into Medical Physics and the fantastic increase in the number of students.

Looks like Nuclear Engineering is living a new life at Georgia Tech.