Nicholas Brown joins faculty in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

September 1, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nicholas Brown has joined the department as an assistant professor of nuclear engineering. Brown comes to Penn State from the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has also worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He holds a doctoral degree from Purdue University in Nuclear Engineering. He brings expertise to the most critical area of nuclear power: reactor physics and sustainable nuclear fuel cycles.  Brown’s research program will be predominantly theoretical/analytical with potential synergies in ongoing experimental work.  He has been called upon by federal agencies to assess long range efforts in sustainable nuclear fuel cycles and, hence, brings an important vision to the field of nuclear power.

We asked Nick a few questions about himself and his plans to make an impact in mechanical and nuclear engineering at Penn State.

What excites you about joining the MNE Department?

The best thing has been the very practical and engaging students.

What can students expect from you in the classroom?

I hope my style is improvisational and engaging. I emphasize the pragmatic aspects of nuclear reactor design and analysis.

What have you found in Happy Valley that you really like or are looking forward to?

The Rathskeller.

What unique strength do you hope to bring to the department?

Nuclear reactor engineering is an inherently multi-physics problem. I am a very focused “nuclear reactor technology person” with a balanced skillset in neutronics, thermal hydraulics, and materials. I also have a strong connection to the Department of Energy (DOE) national labs. So far, I have been successful in bringing in several subcontracts from the national labs and am co-PI on two awarded DOE university projects.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Tough question- I’m a workaholic.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in California and grew up in New Mexico. I have lived in Indiana, New York, and Tennessee.

What professional goals do you hope to achieve here at Penn State?

I want to carry on the tradition of folks like the late Professor Lawrence Hochreiter, and provide a very strong nuclear reactor engineering-oriented education. I want to help maintain and strengthen Penn State’s ties to the U.S. DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, and create a strong pipeline of Penn State students to the DOE national laboratories.


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Nick Brown

Nick Brownn

Nicholas Brown, assistant professor of nuclear engineering.



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519