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Why Science?

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 staff members, 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.

Swapneeta Date

Postdoc, Environmental Sciences Division
Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Hometown: Pune, India

What are you working on at ORNL?

Seafood is an important food source for millions of people around the world, but several types of fish contain high levels of a potent neurotoxin, methylmercury. I am trying to decipher the molecular details of how certain anaerobic bacteria form methylmercury, which eventually ends up in fish.

What would you like to do in your career?

I am passionate about both doing high-impact research and facilitating good research. Therefore, I am interested in a career in scientific leadership and management. I would like to follow the footsteps of great scientific leaders such as Dr. Marcia McNutt, an exceptional scientist and president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Why did you choose a career in science?

Everything that we take for granted today—wireless internet, healthy life for 90 years, plentiful food—has resulted because thousands of scientists have dedicated their lives to answering whats, whys and hows. A career in science is my way of contributing to the greater good while standing on the shoulders of giants.