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Why Science?

Topic: Clean Energy

ORNL is proud of its role in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers. We bring in talented young researchers, team them with accomplished scientists and engineers, and put them to work at the lab's one-of-a-kind facilities. The result is research that makes us proud and prepares them for distinguished careers.

We asked some of these young researchers why they chose a career in science, what they are working on at ORNL, and where they would like to go with their careers.

Adam Witt

Postdoc, Environmental Sciences Division
Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota 
Hometown: Champlin, Minnesota


What are you working on at ORNL?

I am part of the Energy-Water Resource Systems Group, which works to advance innovative water power technologies. My research seeks to characterize the technological and environmental limitations, functional requirements and economic feasibility of modular hydropower and pumped storage concepts. I am also developing a forecasting tool to help mitigate the environmental impacts of hydropower on the mid-Columbia River.


What would you like to do in your career?

I very much appreciate the complex and codependent relationship between energy and water. This relationship is evolving faster than ever before, and I hope to continue contributing to our common understanding of the many important challenges we face with respect to water and energy sustainability, security, consumption and availability.


Why did you choose a career in science?

While working at an intellectually unfulfilling job after college, I made a conscious decision to alter my career trajectory and focus on big problems that involve our human relationship with nature. I desired a career where I could curiously and rigorously contemplate the “why” and the “how.” Hence, science!