Events and Conferences


The Wigner Distinguished Lecture Series

Eugene P. WignerEugene P. Wigner

ORNL’s Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Lecture Series in Science, Technology, and Policy promotes dialogue among Oak Ridge researchers and renowned leaders in science, industry, and government. The invited lecturers bring distinct perspectives to the lab’s community of scientists and engineers, whose scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs target some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Albert Fert, recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics, opened the Wigner Lectures on November 4, 2013, 70 years to the day after ORNL’s Graphite Reactor reached criticality. The milestone, achieved as part of the World War II Manhattan Project, helped to usher in the Nuclear Age. Today, to fulfill its missions in clean energy, global security and scientific discovery, ORNL provides some of the world’s foremost facilities and expertise in an array of fields including material science, high-performance computing, biological science, neutron science, and nuclear science and engineering.

The Wigner Lectures are named in recognition of ORNL’s first research director, Eugene Wigner, recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics. Wigner was both a towering figure in theoretical physics and a key contributor to the development of nuclear reactors. He established an enduring vision for the laboratory and laid the foundations for programs that continue to this day.

Hosted by ORNL's Corporate Fellows, the Distinguished Lectures are available for viewing through the links below or on the laboratory's YouTube site.

Upcoming lecturers
C.N.R. Rao C. N. R. Rao - September 21, 2015
National Research Professor
Linus Pauling Research Professor
Honorary President, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
 Frances Arnold Frances Arnold - Novenber 2, 2015
Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry
Director, Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center
Principal Investigator, The Frances H. Arnold Research Group, California Institute of Technology
Past lecturers
Siegfried Hecker

Siegfried Hecker - April 30, 2015
Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Research Professor of Management Science and Engineering
Center for International  Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Harold Kroto

Harold Kroto - March 26, 2015
Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee
Professor Emeritus, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Ada Yonath

Ada Yonath - January 15, 2015
The Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professor of Structural Biology
Director, The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly, Weizmann Institute of Science
2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

  • Lecture: Combating Species-Specific Antibiotics Resistance
 Susan Solomon

Susan Solomon – December 10, 2014
Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science
Founding Director, Environmental Solutions Initiative, MIT

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan - July 28, 2014
Structural Studies Division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

 Craig Barrett

Craig Barrett - April 8, 2014
Former Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation

 John Holdren John Holdren - March 13, 2014
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Co-Chair, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
 Steven Chu Steven Chu - February 12, 2014
William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics, Stanford University
Former US Secretary of Energy
1997 Nobel Laureate in Physics
 Arun Majumdar Arun Majumdar - January 27, 2014
Vice President of Energy, Google
Former Director, U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
 Albert Fert Albert Fert - November 4, 2013
Scientific Director, Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS/Thales
2007 Nobel Laureate in Physics



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