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Ely M. Gelbard Graduate Scholarship


The Ely M. Gelbard Graduate Scholarship was established by the American Nuclear Society Mathematics and Computation Division in June 2015.

Dr. Ely M. Gelbard obtained his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a radar technician. Ely started his postgraduate career when the use of digital computers to solve the neutron balance equations for fission reactor core design and analysis was just starting to receive wide application. At Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory during the 1950s and 1960s, he participated in the efforts that put the numerical methods for the solution of the finite difference form of the neutron transport equation on a firm mathematical basis. He devised several approximation schemes that were suitable for numerical methods, and developed efficient algorithms for their solution. While at Bettis, he earned international stature in the field, authoring important papers on variants of the solution procedures (spherical harmonics, Sn, synthetic methods, and Monte Carlo). With Jerome Spanier, he wrote the classic book Monte Carlo Principles and Neutron Transport Problems.

In 1972, Ely joined Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). At that time the lab was focusing on fast reactors, with an emphasis on accurate computation of the neutron spectrum. Ely's work in this area produced fundamental advances in the analysis of neutron streaming and collision probabilities, improvements in Monte Carlo methods, and the development of neutron diffusion and transport within the nodal approximation. He also brought improved iterative solution strategies to bear on the equations of single-phase computational thermal-hydraulics analysis of passively safe metal-cooled reactor systems. He was consulted by many at ANL, at other labs, and at universities on a wide variety of technical issues, and invariably, he provided important insights.

Ely's outpouring of the highest-quality technical work attracted a series of bright and vigorous visiting scholars and students whose collaboration magnified his work. He excelled at distilling complex technical issues to their essence, performing the relevant mathematical analysis and, finally, computationally confirming the analysis. Ely was always careful, honest, and thoroughly scrupulous in his work. He earned the ANS Special Award for Computer Methods for the Solution of Problems in Reactor Technology, the ANS Mathematics and Computations Division Distinguished Service Award, the ANS Reactor Physics Division Eugene Wigner Award, and the University of Chicago Distinguished Performance Award. He was a Senior Scientist at Argonne, and a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society.

In spite of his great stature and many accomplishments, Ely was a mild and modest gentleman who always gave full credit to others. work, and was very approachable and an excellent listener. His technical questions at meetings were insightful, probing, and gentle. He also pursued the understanding of others. points of view in personal and political matters with both intellect and sensitivity. Ely's restaurant adventures at meetings and other venues have provided a rich array of gastronomic experiences and many fond memories to his many friends in our profession.

Sponsoring organization or Individual

Mathematics and Computation Division (MCD)

Selection Process

A selection committee will be established by the Mathematics and Computation Division.

Academic level



1 awarded annually @ $3,500/each

Special selection criteria, restrictions, and other special requirements (if any)

For students pursuing graduate studies with a focus on the development of mathematical and/or computational methods for nuclear applications. An applicant for this scholarship must be a full–time graduate student engaged in MS or PhD research and enrolled in an accredited U.S. university. Students of all nationalities are eligible.

Deadline: February 1

Last modified June 20, 2017, 3:09pm CDT