This institution is one of the most prestigious research centers in Latin America. Its special characteristics, both, in the training of students and in the approach to research, make it a unique institution in the region. It is recognized world-wide, and students trained here are sought-after by other highly ranked labs. The center strives to produce excellent professional scientists.
The Balseiro Institute, founded in 1955, is the academic sector, where students study the last 3 years of Physics, Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering. They are admitted after a tough examination where between 30 and 40 are selected out of around 100-150 applicants. They are all given a full scholarship which allows them to be devoted full-time to their studies. It has around 90 undergraduates, 160 graduate students, and 80 professors.
It also offers advanced courses, international workshops and schools, PhD and Master programs open to all students in Argentina and the rest of Latin America. This has allowed many non-Argentine students to come to Bariloche seeking excellence in education and research (currently they amount to around 15% of the total number of students).
The Bariloche Atomic Center is the research institution. Both are intimately linked since the students do experiments in the labs of the Center and the professors are all active researchers there (a sine-qua-non condition which enhances the teaching quality). Both institutions depend on the National Atomic Energy Commission. The Institute is also affiliated with the National University of Cuyo, which provides academic support. The nearly 160 researchers, in all areas including physics and engineering, are mainly employees of the National Atomic Energy Commission and/or of the National Science Research Council.
The Institute has produced as a spin off one of the few high-tech companies in Argentina, INVAP, which has built and exported several research reactors, radars and nuclear medical equipment.
All these institutions have nucleated the largest density of scientists and engineers of Argentina and most probably in Latin America. The institution is located in Bariloche, at the foot of the Andes in the midst of the Nahuel Huapi National Park which offers a unique scenario in the Argentinean Patagonia.
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