Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr.

Essay by ankHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2005

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He was a physicist, mathematician, and nuclear/chemical engineer. He was also known as child prodigy and was accepted into the University of Chicago at the age of 13 and received his B.S. in Mathematics when he was only 17 years old. During the course of his career Wilkins published around a 100 research papers in the fields of pure and applied mathematics, optics and optical optimization problems, and nuclear engineering. He also wrote 22 unpublished reports for the Atomic Energy Commission. His nuclear engineering led to publications on the design, operation, and heat transfer of nuclear reactors. The thing he is probably best known for his Research on Radiation Shielding. He conducted this in collaboration with Herbert Goldstein and published it in Physical Review in 1953. Wilkins developed mathematical models for the calculation of the amount of gamma radiation absorbed by a given material. This work was important for the development of shielding to absorb gamma radiation emitted by the sun and other nuclear sources and was instrumental for both nuclear reactor design and space research.

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