Paul Wilson (nuclear engineer)

Paul Philip Hood Wilson (born October 13, 1971) is the Grainger Professor of Nuclear Engineering in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a prominent nuclear energy communicator,[1][2][3][4] and advocate of modern computational science practices.[5][6] He is well known for leading the production of the computational nuclear engineering toolkits ALARA,[7][8][9] Cyclus,[10][11] and DAGMC.[12] He is also the founding president of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear and is the Faculty Director of the Advanced Computing Initiative (ACI) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Grainger Professor of Nuclear Engineering

Paul Wilson

Ph.D., Dr.-Ing.
BornOctober 13, 1971 (1971-10-13) (age 51)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Toronto
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Known forACI
AwardsANS Presidential Citation (1996)

Marie Curie Research Fellow (1996–98)
Vilas Mid-Career Investigator Award (2014)
Discovery Fellow, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Arthur Holly Compton Award In Education (2018)

ANS Young Members Advancement Award (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear engineering and scientific computing
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
Doctoral advisorsDouglass Henderson

Ulrich Fischer

Günther Kessler


Wilson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was raised in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada. He obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in engineering science in the Nuclear Power option of the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto. He then obtained a Doktoringenieur degree in mechanical engineering from the Institute for Neutron Physics and Reactor Engineering of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1999.[13] There, Wilson became an assistant professor in August 2001, associate professor in July 2008, and full professor in January 2013.

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wilson serves on the Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Energy Institute, the Steering Committee of the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and as Faculty Director of the Advanced Computing Initiative. He also served as Chair of the Energy Analysis & Policy Program (2008–2013).


  • 1996 Presidential Citation from the American Nuclear Society
  • 1996–1998 Marie Curie Research Fellow
  • 2013 elected chair of the Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division of the American Nuclear Society.
  • 2014 Vilas Mid-Career Investigator Award
  • 2018 Arthur Holly Compton Award In Education (ETWDD) from the American Nuclear Society[14]
  • 2019 Young Members Advancement Award from the American Nuclear Society[15]


Wilson has contributed an array of computational advances to nuclear engineering:

  • Lead developer of the Analytic and Laplacian Adaptive Radioactive Analysis (ALARA) neutron activation package[7][8][9]
  • Principal investigator of Cyclus, the next generation fuel cycle simulator[10][11]
  • Lead developer of the Direct Accelerated Geometry Monte Carlo Toolkit (DAGMC) CAD-based radiation transport toolkit[12]
  • Contributor to PyNE, The Nuclear Engineering Toolkit[16]
  • Research contributed to new methods in widely used radiation transport software[17] such as the Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code.


  1. ^ American Nuclear Society. "The Hofstra Debate in Brief American Nuclear Society Position on Nuclear Equality." American Nuclear Society Public Information, November 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Hofstra University. Should Nuclear Energy Be Expanded to Help Create a More Sustainable Future? Accessed October 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Marketplace. "A Reactor to Make Nuclear Affordable." NPR radio program, March 8, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2015.
  4. ^ On Point with Tom Ashbrook. "Debating a Nuclear Revival." NPR radio program, February 18, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2015.
  5. ^ Wilson, Greg, D. A. Aruliah, C. Titus Brown, Neil P. Chue Hong, Matt Davis, Richard T. Guy, Steven H. D. Haddock, et al. "Best Practices for Scientific Computing." PLoS Biol 12, no. 1 (2014): e1001745. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001745
  6. ^ Kousta, Stavroula. "» Metrics and Impact – Looking Beyond Research Articles." Accessed October 13, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Wilson, P.P.H. "ALARA: Analytic and Laplacian Adaptive Radioactivity Analysis." PhD Thesis, Fusion Technology Institute, UW-Madison, 1999.
  8. ^ a b Wilson, P.P.H., and D.L. Henderson. "ALARA: Analytic and Laplacian Adaptive Radioactivity Analysis, Volume I, Technical Material." Fusion Technology Institute Report. Madison, WI, United States: Fusion Technology Institute, UW-Madison, 1998.
  9. ^ a b Wilson, P.P.H., and D.L. Henderson. "ALARA: Analytic and Laplacian Adaptive Radioactive Analysis, Volume II, Users’ Guide." Fusion Technology Institute Report. Madison, WI, United States: Fusion Technology Institute, UW-Madison, 1998.
  10. ^ a b Huff, Kathryn D., Matthew J. Gidden, Robert W. Carlsen, Robert R. Flanagan, Meghan B. McGarry, Arrielle C. Opotowsky, Erich A. Schneider, Anthony M. Scopatz, and Paul P. H. Wilson. "Fundamental Concepts in the Cyclus Fuel Cycle Simulator Framework." arXiv:1509.03604 [cs], September 11, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Carlsen, Robert W., Matthew Gidden, Kathryn Huff, Arrielle C. Opotowsky, Olzhas Rakhimov, Anthony M. Scopatz, Zach Welch, and Paul Wilson. "Cyclus v1.0.0." Figshare, June 2, 2014. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1041745.
  12. ^ a b Tautges, Timothy J., Paul PH Wilson, Jason Kraftcheck, Brandon F. Smith, and Douglass L. Henderson. "Acceleration Techniques for Direct Use of CAD-Based Geometries in Monte Carlo Radiation Transport." International Conference on Mathematics, Computational Methods & Reactor Physics (M&C 2009), 2009.
  13. ^ Wilson, Paul. "Paul P.H. Wilson Biography". CNERG: Computational Nuclear Engineering Research Group. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  14. ^ ANS (June 17–21, 2018). "ANS Annual Meeting 2018 Honors and Awards Recipients" (PDF). American Nuclear Society Honors and Awards Program. Philadelphia, PA Marriott Philadelphia Downtown: American Nuclear Society. Retrieved 2 October 2018. Arthur Holly Compton Award In Education (ETWDD) Presented to: Prof. Paul Philip Hood Wilson University of Wisconsin, Madison For his unparalleled contributions to nuclear engineering computing education through innovating locally, volunteering nationally, and advising a next generation of computational nuclear engineering educators. Previously Presented.
  15. ^ ANS. "ANS Young Members Advancement Award". American Nuclear Society Honors and Awards. American Nuclear Society. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  16. ^ the PyNE Development Team, "PyNE: The Nuclear Engineering Toolkit." 2015.
  17. ^ B. C. Kiedrowski, F. B. Brown, Wilson, "Adjoint-weighted tallies for k-eigenvalue calculations with continuous-energy Monte Carlo." Nucl. Sci. Eng. 168, no. 3 (2011): doi:10.13182/NSE10-22.

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