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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.

Riley Hanus

Postdoc, Materials Science and Technology Division
Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University
Hometown: Clear Lake, Iowa

What are you working on at ORNL?

I am performing neutron scattering experiments and theoretical simulations to establish materials design principles for heat conduction in defective and complex crystals.  The goal is to provide the basic scientific understanding required to guide the development of next-generation energy technologies, such as power electronics and thermoelectrics. 

What would you like to do in your career?

I would like to establish the scientific understanding and technological capability required to improve global quality of life and ensure a sustainable future. More specifically, I aim to apply materials physics in practical ways to advance technology. Where our basic understanding is insufficient, I strive to pave new ground.

Why did you choose a career in science?

I find science challenging, rewarding and quite fun. Additionally, I enjoy the thought that the work I do may someday be impactful and useful in the betterment of society.