In Memoriam: Prof. Joonhong Ahn

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Professor of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley and NSSC collaborator and friend, Joonhong Ahn died in Japan on Sunday, June 19, 2016. Since his diagnosis in April 2015 with advanced liver cancer and throughout his treatment regimen, he maintained a relentless pace of work in service to the profession, the department and his students.

Professor Ahn received B.S., M.S. and D.Eng. degrees at the University of Tokyo, and his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley, studying under Professor Paul Chambré and Professor Thomas Pigford of our Department. In addition to being a member of the Nuclear Engineering Department, where he served recently both as Vice Chair and Head Graduate Adviser, he was a Geological Faculty Scientist in the Earth Sciences Division of LBNL, and a Core Faculty Member of the Center for Japanese Studies within the Institute of East Asian Studies.

Professor Ahn’s research broadly encompassed the entire nuclear fuel cycle, with particular emphasis on mathematical modeling and computational analyses for performance assessment of geological disposal, safeguards and radiological safety. He was a leading expert on Asian nuclear power and traveled frequently to the Asia-Pacific region advising governments and industry, along with his extensive academic collaborations. After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Power Plant in 2011, engineering resilience, resilient communities and the science-technology-society nexus became a major focus of his research. Professor Ahn played a key role in standing up the engineering ethics program at UC Berkeley. His service assignments, accomplishments and recognitions are too numerous to cite here; a proper and complete tribute will be published in the near future. The Department in conjunction with the Center for Japanese Studies plans to hold a memorial service early in the fall semester.