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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.

Peter A. Mouche

Postdoc, Materials Science and Technology Division
Ph.D., Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

What are you working on at ORNL?

My research considers the design of safer materials for use within existing nuclear power plants. My project focuses on coating new fuel cladding material to help it withstand the harsh environments inside a reactor core. I deposit the coatings and then characterize them, particularly for mechanical stability.

What would you like to do in your career?

I want to advance existing material performance, as well as understand how new materials can be used in current or next-generation nuclear reactors. New fabrication methods have expanded the field of available materials, and ORNL is the best place to try new ideas and approaches.

Why did you choose a career in science?

I was fortunate to have amazing science and math teachers who piqued my interest in exploring the world. My parents encouraged me to run mini-experiments growing up; research was always a part of my life. Discovering why something unknown happens is a most amazing process.