The History of NSW

Nuclear Science Week 2010 – 2017


In 2009, the Smithsonian affiliated National Museum of Nuclear Science & History consulted with its nuclear industry partners, discussing the need for generating communication and public awareness centered on the achievements of nuclear science. Through these discussions, the idea of hosting a week that celebrated the field of nuclear science materialized.

Through the support of staff members from the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History and industry partners such as Entergy, the American Nuclear Society, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization and others, a National Nuclear Science Week steering committee was formed to promote community engagement and education regarding the contributions of the nuclear science industry and those who work in it every day.

The first Nuclear Science Week (NSW) celebrations, 2010-2012, were held in late January. The national steering committee decided it was time to change in 2013, as the January timeframe proved too cold for some parts of the country to easily mount programming efforts. To ensure participation with all members of the national steering committee and industry partners – including all areas of power generation, nuclear medicine, national defense and teaching communities – Nuclear Science Week was officially moved to the third week of October.

A number of local events take place all over the nation during Nuclear Science Week. It is celebrated in cities big and small, and any community is invited to get involved and host a Nuclear Science Week celebration. Each year a different city is chosen to host a “Big Event”, and smaller celebrations take place throughout the country.

The first NSW was hosted in Albuquerque, NM, at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. The second year, in 2011, the Big Event took place on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. In 2012, the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago hosted the main event, and in 2013 it was hosted in Aiken, SC. In 2014, the national event took place at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA. In 2015, the national event took place in Knoxville, TN, and in 2016, the Big Event took place in Wilmington, North Carolina. The 2017 Big Event will take place in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

As each event passes on to the next, Nuclear Science Week continues to grow and continues to tell the story of the nuclear sciences to members of the public and key stakeholders by promoting understanding and connection to the profession.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History


NMNSH Logo smallThe National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a Smithsonian affiliated, nationally accredited Museum, located in Albuquerque, NM. As the nation’s only congressionally chartered museum in its field, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s mission is to serve as America’s resource for nuclear history and science.

It is a place to learn, to imagine, to think and to draw your own conclusions. The Museum welcomes visitors of all ages and all walks of life, as the history and science of nuclear energy affects everyone. The Museum chronicles the past, describes the present and imagines the future applications of nuclear science beyond weapons and energy to the cutting edge of technology and healthcare.

To learn more about the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, visit