IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society History

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Brief Timeline of Events

  • April 29, 1949 - Held first meeting. They started out as 'Professional Group on Nuclear Science'.
  • Jan. 10, 1963 - They changed their name to 'Professional Technical Group on Nuclear Science'.
  • Jan. 21, 1964 - Changed their name to 'IEEE-Nuclear Science Group'.
  • Dec. 5, 1972 - 'Nuclear Science Group' merged with 'Plasma Interest' to become 'Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society'.
  • March, 1973 – Field of Interest revision


The first activity of record in this field was the formation of a Nuclear Studies Committee in the IRE in 1947, to determine the proper role of the IRE in this new technical field. Subsequently, in 1949 a petition was filed for the formation of a Professional Group on Nuclear Science, and it was approved on April 5, 1949, with L. R. Hafstad as Chairman. On April 29, an organizational meeting was held, the membership at that time consisting of 54, increasing to 970 by the end of the year.

The new organization became visible on a number of fronts in the early 1950s. In 1953, the PGNS formed an Atomic Energy Policy Committee which fielded a strong effort to have the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 modified. These efforts came to a fruition in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. Early in the 50's the PGNS became a co-sponsor of the Scintillation Counter Symposium which has now merged into the Nuclear Science Symposium. Also in 1954 the first issue of the Transactions on Nuclear Science appeared. In 1956, the number of issues of the Transactions was increased from one a year to four.

At essentially the same time as the Professional Group on Nuclear Science was formed in the IRE, the AIEE formed a number of committees and subcommittees to work in this area, the most important being the Nucleonics Committee and Committee on Nucleonic and Radiation Instruments. With the merger of the IRE and AIEE on January 1, 1963, to form the IEEE, procedures were begun to merge the like-interest groups of the former societies. The IRE Professional Group on Nuclear Science merged with the AIEE Nucleonics Committee and the Committee on Nucleaonic and Radiation Instruments on October 29, 1963, to become the Nuclear Science Group of the IEEE.

In 1972, two major events occurred for the Group. Midyear the scope was widened to include the plasma science field and in September the group was given Society status. The augmented group became the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society. March of 1973 saw the debut of a second publication, the Transactions on Plasma Science. NPSS thus has the distinction of issuing two publications, in addition to a newsletter.

Over the years the Society has inaugurated or assumed responsibility for a number of conferences. Every year the Society sponsors conferences on Plasma Science, Radiation Effects, and Nuclear Science. Conferences on Particle Accelerators and Engineering Problems in Fusion Research and Data Acquisition in Nuclear and Particle Physics are sponsored every other year. In addition, other conferences such as Symposium on Nuclear Power systems are co-sponsored by the Society.

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Link to IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society