The Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project
Exploring the Peacetime Possibilities of Atomic Science
The University of Michigan Energy Institute builds off the legacy of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project (MMPP), launched in 1948 to engage in research and other activities that support the peaceful uses of atomic energy.
By pursuing the constructive potential of a technology that showed such extraordinary destructive power at the close of World War II, these focused activities were meant to serve as a “living memorial” for the 579 members of the University of Michigan community who gave their lives during the war.
The Phoenix Project was also the university’s first fundraising campaign. The novel approach to honoring those who died in the war proved to have broad appeal among alumni and friends, and the campaign raised $7.3 million (almost $64 million in 2014 dollars) by the time it concluded in 1953.
In addition to supporting the construction and use of the Ford Nuclear Reactor, now decommissioned, the Phoenix Project has helped fund studies on the applications of nuclear technology in such fields as medicine, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, archeology, engineering, and law.
MMPP stands as a distinct entity within the Energy Institute, which will support the Project’s unique, memorial mission for generations to come. The Phoenix Project’s legacy also endures in the name of the renovated and expanded new home of the Energy Institute – the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory on North Campus.
The MMPP is overseen by an interdisciplinary advisory board:
Ron Gilgenbach (Chair), Professor and Chair, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department
Mark Barteau, Director of the Michigan Energy Institute and Professor, Chemical Engineering Dept.
Fred Becchetti, Professor Emeritus, Physics Department
Yuni Dewaraja, Research Associate professor, Radiology Dept.
Greg Moses, Professor of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin
Sara Pozzi, Associate Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science Dept.
Gary Was, professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science Dept.
Want to go in-depth? Read more about the Phoenix Project’s achievements and unique history.