portrait of Kathryn Huff

Kathryn Huff, US Department Of Energy Assistant Secretary, visits April 7

A national leader in nuclear energy speaks with students as part of the Osborn Lecture Series.


Kathryn Huff, the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, will be visiting the University of Michigan on April 7, 2023 to give the 10th annual Osborn Lecture Series at the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department.

Her lecture will discuss the state of nuclear energy in the U.S. and the world, career paths in the field of nuclear engineering, and computational methods in nuclear engineering, the focus of Osborn lectures and her technical area of expertise.

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Huff will be visiting NERS,” said Todd Allen, the Glenn F. and Gladys H. Knoll Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. “Her national leadership is establishing the nation’s nuclear programs as critical for the adoption of clean energy in the 21st century.”

Prior to her current role, Huff served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary. She also led the office as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy.

She received her undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Chicago, and completed her PhD in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Madison-Wisconsin in 2013. 

Her passion for education led her to teach others, becoming an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here she led the research group on Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles. She was also a Blue Waters Assistant Professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Dr. Huff was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

She is currently an active member of the American Nuclear Society, a past Chair of the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Policy Division as well as the Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division, and recipient of both the Young Member Excellence and Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement awards. Through leadership within Software Carpentry, SciPy, the Hacker Within, and the Journal of Open Source Software, she is an advocate for best practices in open and reproducible scientific computations. 

“Her amazing professional growth is an inspiration for our students,” said Allen. “Her academic background is a perfect match for the Osborn lecture.  Her amazing professional growth is an inspiration for our students.”

The Richard K. Osborn Lectureship is an annual series of lectures that have been made possible by a generous endowment by MIT Professor Emeritus Sidney Yip, a former student of Osborn’s. Osborn taught at the University of Michigan from 1957 to 1986.  The annual lectures are a tribute to his unwavering dedication to education of students in fundamental science. It is the goal of these lectures to inspire future generations of students in nuclear theory and simulation. The lectures first began in 2011, continuing to the present day.

Huff’s lecture will take place from 4:00-5:00 PM in the White Auditorium, in the Cooley Building (G906). Please arrive early to take your seats before the event begins; refreshments will be served at 3:45 PM.
Learn more about the NERS department at https://ners.engin.umich.edu/, and visit here for more information on the Osborn Lecture Series.