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Researcher Profiles

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Elizabeth Herndon takes a soil sample at a field site outside Abisko, Sweden in July 2019.

Elizabeth Herndon believes in going the distance whether she is preparing to compete in the 2020 Olympic marathon trials or examining how metals move through the environment as a geochemist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Jason Nattress, an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow, is developing new nuclear material inspection and identification techniques to improve scanning times for ocean-going cargo containers.

Jason Nattress, an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, found his calling on a nuclear submarine.

Gaute Hagen uses ORNL’s Summit supercomputer to model scientifically interesting atomic nuclei.

At the nexus of theory and computation, physicist Gaute Hagen of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory runs advanced models on powerful supercomputers to explore how protons and neutrons interact to “build” an atomic nucleus from scratch.

Christa Brelsford's dissertation research marked the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the water-conserving effects of one of the most widely used water conservation programs in the western United States.

Christa Brelsford, a Liane B. Russell Fellow at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, decided as a teenager growing up in rural Alaska to use her empirical mind and math and science skills to do good in the world.

Tyler Gerczak, a materials scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is focused on post-irradiation examination and separate effects testing of current fuels for light water reactors and advanced fuel types that could be used in future nuclear systems. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Ask Tyler Gerczak to find a negative in working at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his only complaint is the summer weather. It is not as forgiving as the summers in Pulaski, Wisconsin, his hometown.

ORNL scientist Nina Balke uses scanning probe microscopy to explore materials’ nanoscale properties and push boundaries in nanomaterials for energy applications. Credit: Genevieve Martin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy

When Nina Balke came to the United States on a Feodor Lynen Fellowship for German scholars, her original plan was to complete a year abroad and return home to native opportunities in materials sciences. 

Eva Davidson, a nuclear engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is developing modeling and simulation techniques for current and future nuclear reactors.

Like many soon-to-be high school seniors, Eva Davidson thought she knew what she wanted to be and how to get there. A chance encounter at a college fair altered that path—a change in plans she has never regretted.

Raphaël Hermann of Oak Ridge National Laboratory studies magnetic materials and batteries using Mössbauer spectroscopy.

Raphaël Hermann of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducts experiments to better understand materials for energy and information applications.

Alex Johs at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source

Sometimes solutions to the biggest problems can be found in the smallest details. The work of biochemist Alex Johs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory bears this out, as he focuses on understanding protein structures and molecular interactions to resolve complex global problems like the spread of mercury pollution in waterways and the food supply.

Organic chemist Santa Jansone-Popova designs new chemical architectures to support chemical separations that lay the groundwork for clean water and energy advances.

An organic chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Santa Jansone-Popova focuses on the fundamental challenges of chemical separations that translate to world-changing solutions for clean water and sustainable energy.