Nuclear engineering seminar celebrates new book and honors late professor

(L to R) Cesare Frepoli, president and founder of FPoliSolutions LLC, Susan Hochreiter and Robert Martin, methods development lead for BWX Technologies, Inc., pose after the Hochreiter Distinguished Speaker Series lecture on Oct. 31. Credit: Tyler Henderson / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering hosted a seminar on Oct. 31 to honor the legacy of Lawrence “Larry” Hochreiter, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering who died in 2008. 

Hochreiter’s family and industry friends endowed the Hochreiter Distinguished Speaker Series in his memory. The series brings prominent researchers and members of industry to Penn State University Park to speak on topics of current interest to the field of nuclear engineering once a semester. In the fall 2019 lecture, Robert Martin, methods development lead for BWX Technologies, Inc., and Cesare Frepoli, president and founder of FPoliSolutions LLC, spoke about safety analyses contributions made by a team of nuclear safety experts representing academia, national laboratories and industry.  

Lawerence Hochreiter Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

Martin and Frepoli specifically focused on how nuclear power plant safety analyses of design-basis accidents — hypothetical events used to design safety protocols to prevent worst-case scenarios — uniquely intersect technical, commercial and public policy issues. Nuclear regulators use this analysis to help verify the safety of nuclear power plants, with the understanding that safety features should make the plant resilient to credible events. These designs also help regulators to assess unlikely but potential events to demonstrate the robustness of the proposed design. 

More broadly, the speakers reflected on Hochreiter’s legacy, who mentored them individually as well as many of the book’s authors. 

“We celebrated the publication of the book that commemorated Larry’s legacy with about 13 of the 21 co-authors of chapters in the 700-page book in attendance,” said Arthur Motta, professor of nuclear engineering, who helped organize the event. “The Hochreiter family attended, as well as several alumni and friends of Penn State, including two other nuclear engineering department heads.”

Hochreiter taught at Penn State for 11 years, where he earned the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2005. The last classes he taught were Design Principles of Reactor Systems and Nuclear Reactor Core Synthesis. Hochreiter is survived by his wife, Susan; son, Paul; and daughter, Sarah. His family worked closely with the nuclear engineering department and Hochreiter’s friends in industry to establish the Hochreiter Distinguished Speaker Series. 

“The evening was truly an example of Larry’s legacy and impact in the nuclear industry that has helped, in part, create Penn State’s reputation as one of the top nuclear engineering programs in the world,” said Jean Paul Allain, head of the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering. 

The Hochreiter Distinguished Speaker Series is free and open to the public. The next speaker and date will be announced in the spring.


Last Updated November 26, 2019