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Open House 1940s

Some less-often-told tales from ORNL's colorful past.

"This wonderful old reactor." Veterans celebrated the Graphite Reactor's 50th anniversary in 1993.

Presidential visit, 1992: George H.W. Bush visited ORNL to sign a CRADA.

When Tiger Teams prowled: Tom Row spearheaded the controvers...

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Others claim credit for generating the first electricity through nuclear power, but it happened at ORNL first, a few years after the accomplishment of the Manhattan Project mission at X-10 and the end of World War II.

Einstein's famous letter to FDR mentioned "vast amounts of power" from uranium,...

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The presidential primaries preceding the Election of 1992 were just cranking up when word came the incumbent, George H.W. Bush, would come to ORNL on Feb. 19 for the signing of a cooperative R&D agreement between the Laboratory, Y-12 and Coors Structural Ceramics Company.

Word of the impendin...

The Kennedys arrive at the Oak Ridge Research Reactor with ORNL Director Alvin Weinberg in 1959.

A film crew from Thailand visited ORNL in 2015, retracing the steps of that nation's revered King Bhumbidol Adulyadej. ORNL was a stop on the young king's high-level U.S. tour in 1960; photos from the visit show him touring the Oak Ridge Research Reactor with an attentive Atomic Energy Commission an...

Galvin Commission members visited ORNL in 1994.

In 1994 the Soviet Union had dissolved and the Cold War was considered over. A resulting and obviously debatable line of thought held that the national laboratory system, which was considered by many a Cold War appliance for winning the nuclear arms race, was obsolete.

Even less informed ideas we...

George Parker (left) and co-worker P.M. Lantz doing chemical separations in 1949.

In early 1943 young chemist George Parker landed a job at Indiana Ordnance, run by E.I. Dupont de Nemours Co., and took a night class taught by a Purdue University professor who had just returned from a trip to the University of Tennessee.

"He said that he had just come from Knoxville where he vi...

Deb Austin lifts the top of the Graphite Reactor model.

A historic ORNL relic has turned up in a central campus office. The portable scale model of the Graphite Reactor was once used for show-and-tells during ORNL's early days.

The model was saved from being discarded years ago by Mark Baldwin, a now-retired environment, safety and health organization...