Pioneering nuclear power researcher bookends year with honors
CLEMSON — A Clemson University senior lecturer who helped improve the understanding of thermal hydraulics as France became a world leader in nuclear power is looking forward to fall semester after wrapping up a year bookended by two honors.
Jean-Marc Delhaye won a Clemson University teaching award almost exactly a year after a professional society recognized his pioneering research with nuclear reactors.
He is a former director of research and scientific adviser to the French Atomic Energy Commission (now the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and has been at Clemson since 2006.
His most recent award was the Byars Prize for Excellence in Teaching Engineering Fundamentals. The award is given each spring by Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science.
Delhaye’s strength lies in his ability to share his long experience in research and show how it applies in the real world, said Melur K. “Ram” Ramasubramanian, chairman of Clemson’s mechanical engineering department.
“When students in senior seminars are asked to name an effective teacher who influenced them, the name ‘Delhaye’ comes up time and time again,” he said.
James McAlpine, who now is a third-year student at the Medical University of South Carolina, said that the processes he learned from Delhaye have helped him make difficult patient diagnoses.
“Excellence is not thoughts relayed to a student, but it is how to think,” McAlpine said. “Add to that teacher a unique humility that makes him very approachable and you have a deserving winner.”
Delhaye teaches undergraduate and graduate students. He has developed new courses in thermal hydraulics of nuclear reactors and scaling methods in science and engineering.
“I have always thought that education was one of the three pillars of a scientific career, along with research and diffusion of knowledge,” he said.
Delhaye has studied how heat transfer interacts with fluids in nuclear reactors. The research has helped improve reactor design and safety.
The Byars prize came almost exactly year after Delhaye was elected NURETH fellow of the American Nuclear Society. NURETH stands for nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics.
“I congratulate Dr. Delhaye on a remarkable year,” said the college’s dean, Anand Gramopadhye. “I am impressed by his research and dedication to teaching.”
Delhaye first came to Clemson on sabbatical in 2001 and returned to France in 2003. He reached France’s mandatory retirement age but was able to remain with the commission as an adviser. Delhaye returned to Clemson in 2006 as a senior lecturer in the mechanical engineering department.
He previously held several positions at CEA-Grenoble, a research center of the French Atomic Energy Commission. He was appointed head of the Industrial Thermal-hydraulics Laboratories Grenoble and later director of research.
Delhaye was also a professor at Ecole Centrale Paris and at the French National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology. He also was adjunct professor at Purdue University’s School of Nuclear Engineering.