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Leal awarded ANS Seaborg Medal

ORNL’s Luiz Leal is the recipient of the 2023 Seaborg Medal from the American Nuclear Society. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept of Energy. 

The American Nuclear Society, or ANS, has named ORNL’s Luiz Leal of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory the recipient of the 2023 Seaborg Medal. The award is a top tier ANS award and is an engraved bronze medal that is presented at the ANS Winter Conference.

Leal is a distinguished researcher in ORNL’s Nuclear Data group in the Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate. Leal led nuclear data and measurement efforts with ORNL’s Linear Accelerator early in his career and is recognized as a leading international expert in the evaluation of nuclear data and development of global data libraries. His work is foundational in supporting nuclear criticality safety and reactor system analyses completed around the world.

Leal is a Fellow of ANS and Reactor Physics Division recipient of the Eugene P. Wigner Reactor Physicist Award in 2016.  

The Seaborg Medal recognizes an individual for outstanding scientific or engineering research achievements associated with the development of peaceful uses of nuclear science. This award honors “excellence worthy of international recognition sustained over a period of time.”

Nuclear chemist Glenn T. Seaborg grouped and named the actinides — the 15 metallic elements on the periodic table with atomic numbers from 89-103, actinium through lawrencium. Seaborg’s work garnered him the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Seaborg played a pivotal role in the establishment of the national laboratory system and a founding member of ANS.

The Seaborg medal award was established by ANS in 1983 to provide high-level recognition for sustained technical accomplishments contributing to peaceful uses of atomic energy. The medal is named for Seaborg, the inaugural recipient. Leal is the 30th recipient of the Seaborg Medal.

Seaborg’s legacy continues today. ORNL in 2022 joined four other national laboratories — Idaho, Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley — that have institutes named after Seaborg. The ORNL Glenn T. Seaborg Initiative, or GTSI, serves as a center for actinide science, facilitating global leadership through the performance of cutting-edge research, national and international collaboration and the training of the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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