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ORNL marks 75th anniversary with Lab Day

ORNL marks 75th anniversary with Lab Day

June 13, 2018 - The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory welcomed the public to its Lab Day on Saturday, marking the laboratory's 75th anniversary with exhibits, science talks, tours, music and food.

Approximately 4,500 attendees experienced ORNL's Traveling Science Fair exhibits, packed tours to facilities including the High Flux Isotope Reactor, Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, the Historic Graphite Reactor Museum and the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center.

"This was our day to 'show off' the laboratory," said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. "I was thrilled with the interest and participation by the local community, as well as the family members and friends of our staff members."

The year 2018 marks 75 years since work began under the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon ahead of Nazi Germany. ORNL, or X-10 -- one of its wartime monikers -- was established in a rural East Tennessee valley in early 1943. On Nov. 4, 1943, the "X-10 Pile," now known as the Graphite Reactor, went critical for the first time, marking the beginning of the nuclear era.

In the three-quarters of a century since, ORNL has grown and transformed into the nation's largest energy research laboratory for basic and applied research. The Lab's rich history of science and discovery toward solving the world's toughest challenges can be reviewed on the ORNL Timeline, prepared for the Laboratory’s 75th anniversary celebration.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit