Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32$68,000 AVERAGE STARTING SALARY 19 Meet Zain Karriem, a senior reactor physicist at INL Education background: Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Pennsylvania State University Master’s degree in physics from University of the Western Cape, South Africa Job description: My focus area is reactor physics and particle transport modeling (i.e., how neutrons and gamma rays move inside a nuclear reactor), and how their interactions affect the reactor’s physical parameters (e.g., reactor power). Projects that I am working on relate to the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) and high-temperature reactors. What led you to become a physicist? My initial interest in science started with chemistry—coming to learn about various natural (and rather violent) chemical reactions. I was interested in how we are able to understand the processes involved and use this knowledge to predict the outcomes of other chemical reactions. This later led to a greater interest in how the physical world works (physics) and especially at the subatomic scale, which ultimately led to my career choice in reactor physics. High school classes I took were chemistry, physics and mathematics. What do you love about your job: My work in reactor physics entails the calculation of physical things (neutrons and gamma rays) that we can’t even see, which will always be pretty amazing to me! What I like about being a reactor physicist is that it brings together many disciplines—like physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, material sciences, etc. The work I perform is an input to all these areas, which gives me a sense that my work is important, but it also offers me the opportunity to learn about other science and engineering disciplines. Why is your work important to INL’s mission and the world? INL is home to the ATR, which is a versatile reactor that is used for material testing and for the production of medical radiation sources. The primary customer of the ATR is the Office of Naval Reactors, who has the comprehensive responsibility for the safe and reliable operation of the U.S. Nuclear Propulsion Program. My work supports the safe, future operations of the ATR. What advice do you have for future physicists? You’ll have to take physics and math classes as preparation. However, try to focus on the physical phenomena, as this is ultimately what physics and mathematics aim to describe. There are many educational resources out there (YouTube) that explain and illustrate various scientific and mathematical concepts. Find this information. Explore your curiosities and interests. This curiosity provides the energy and effort you need to expend to learn new things and achieve your goals, but it will be fun. Never give up!