The “Nautilus Program” began September of 2017 and is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research. The mission of the program is to educate students and teachers in the nuclear sciences to support the future needs of the US Navy and other national programs. The program is available to Sacramento area high school students, college students, and science educators of all levels. Elements of the program include:
- All Sacramento area high school science students will be able to visit the facility (~1-2 hours) and safely see the MNRC’s nuclear reactor operate from only 20 feet away. Students and teachers may select one of several hands-on experiments to conduct at the facility during their visit. MNRC may also have the ability to travel to schools with certain experiments to preform onsite learning. These experiments are tied in closely with the State of California Next Generation Science Standards.
- Continuing education for secondary teachers in the field of nuclear physics (some funding for substitute teacher may be available).
- Provide research experiences for high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students in the nuclear sciences.
- High school students, especially those interested in pursuing careers in the nuclear sciences, are encouraged to participate in various summer programs at the facility. These programs are typically one to two days in length, and are intended to provide a look at the various career paths, along with enhancing students' understanding of the nuclear sciences. Informal mentoring is also provided by the MNRC staff members.
- Provide a series of three one-quarter classes in the nuclear sciences to UC Davis students. Students will learn the fundamentals of nuclear physics, reactor physics, and radiation protection. Students successfully completing the series may coordinate with their head of department and MNRC to gain practical experience, and eventually become eligible to take the exam administered by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to become a licensed reactor operator at MNRC.
- MNRC is also able to partner with Museums and STEM camps to promote STEM outreach to the general public.
The UC Davis “Nautilus Program” was named in commemoration of America’s first nuclear powered ship: the submarine USS Nautilus (SSN-571). "Underway on nuclear power" is the theme and slogan for the Nautilus program, as this phrase was signaled by the first Commanding Officer of USS Nautilus during the submarine’s maiden voyage on January 17, 1955.
Often transportation costs and incidentals can be paid for by the MNRC. For more information or scheduling of field trips, contact Dr. Wesley Frey and Elizabeth Gabler (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com).