The discovery and application of nuclear power is one of the most profound scientific accomplishments of the 20th century, beginning with tentative explorations of the structure of matter, expanding into a rapid succession of unexpected discoveries, and finally settling into a seamless transition from theoretical science to applied engineering. There were many changes to nuclear power during this century - science transitioned from an academic pursuit to an industry, the use of uranium changed from an occasional orange or green dye in ceramics to major power-fuel, and public safety concerns shifted from boiler explosions on steamboats to nuclear reactor explosions on continents.
James A. Mahaffey, Ph.D., has more than 25 years' experience as a senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, where he was engaged in a wide variety of projects, ranging from theoretical mathematics to nuclear science. At the Georgia Institute of Technology, he completed undergraduate and master's studies and earned a doctorate there in nuclear engineering. He was director of a long-term project to design and build the Emergency Response Data System at Georgia Power's Plant Hatch nuclear power station. He has also worked on projects for the Defense Nuclear Agency, the National Ground Intelligence Center, and the Air Force Air Logistics Center.