Education & Outreach

RSEC is proud to partner with the American Nuclear Society and Navigating Nuclear to bring you a virtual field trip about the application of nuclear science in space! Check it out at the link below:

Learn about how nuclear technology helps us on earth and beyond.  The RSEC is involved in radiation testing for space components and is featured in this Virtual Field Trip (VFT) including a reactor pulse!  The main RSEC segment starts around timestamp 10:30.

Penn State faculty and staff work with the American Nuclear Society to provide technical review of educational materials for the Navigating Nuclear curriculum.  Access information and educational materials at:


2020 Summer Contest Winners!

First place comes from a Junior at Rockwood Area High School entitled, Where the Sky meets the Sea:

The submitter aspires to attend Penn State University with dual majors in Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering and chose to picture a plane and fish in their design as the depictions of the sea and air relate to nuclear powered Naval Aircraft Carriers. Congratulations! And hope to see you, here, soon!


Second place comes from Greensburg-Salem High School and is titled, Quantum Phase Shifter:

The idea here is to rapidly switch between the neutron radiograph and x-ray images to make it look as if the person facing left is suddenly teleported from in front of person facing right to behind them. Great job!

Finally in the High School category, we'd like to recognize another submission from Greensberg-Salem called, GS Prideograph:

The submitter is showing off their pride for Greensburg-Salem in this radiograph which reads "Go Lions" in the x-ray and "GS" with a lion's paw in the radiograph. From our pride to yours, keep up the good work!

School Spirit

Our Middle School winner comes from an 8th grader at Lock Haven Catholic School and is titled, Fish! Featuring an Angler Fish attempting to lead a school of minnows astray.

Second place comes from a team at Franklin Regional dipicting the sky in the day in the x-ray and at night in the radiograph.

And our school spirit award winners are a team of kids who were just looking for a fun task during quarentine. They chose to show some school spirit for Penn State! WE ARE!... 

Middle School

Congratulations to everyone who participated in our Summer 2020 Radiography Design Contest. We hope you all had ad much fun building these designs as we had seeing them. If you didn't get in your submission this time around, that's okay, because we're relaunching the contest for 2021!

Download the information for the new design contest here: 2021 Radiography Design Contest

Submit your design before March 2021 and you and your school could be our next featured designers!



The RSEC uses the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor to take images using neutrons emitted from the fission process of uranium atoms in the reactor fuel.

Similar to X-rays which are blocked by bone and thus can be used to observe a broken bone through soft tissue, neutrons will be blocked by some materials and pass through others. 

The Education & Outreach team is proud to announce the 2020 Radiography Design Contest for all pre-college students! Learn about our neutron radiography capabilities here at the RSEC, how it compares with common diagnostic x-ray radiography, and then use your creativity to design a picture which demonstrates it all.

Check out this video of an aluminum box with grooves cut into it being filled with water. You'll notice the water can be seen through the metal and the deeper the grooves, the more neutrons are stopped, therefore the darker it shows on the image.

Download the information and contest rules here:

2020 Radiography Design Contest


Illuminating Illusions Feature:


The Radiation Science and Engineering Center is being featured as part of the "Illuminating Illusions" exhibit put together by the Penn State Museum Consortium. The exhibit is currently on display on the first floor of the HUB-Robeson Center or you can view it here:

Our display features a story about the sculptor and Bellefonte native, George Gray Barnard, a work of art he donated to Penn State, and our use of a technique called neutron activation analysis to return said work of art to its original condition.



The Radiation Science & Engineering Center (RSEC) was established to manage Penn State's comprehensive nuclear research facilities, including the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, Gamma Irradiation Facility, Radioactive sources and Radiation measurement resources. The RSEC provides safe nuclear analytical and testing facilities in support of the research and education activities of faculty, staff, and students at Penn State.

Radiation Science & Engineering Center

101 Breazeale Nuclear Reactor

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-6351