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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Illustration of the optimized zeolite catalyst, or NbAlS-1, which enables a highly efficient chemical reaction to create butene, a renewable source of energy, without expending high amounts of energy for the conversion. Credit: Jill Hemman, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Illustration of the optimized zeolite catalyst, or NbAlS-1, which enables a highly efficient chemical reaction to create butene, a renewable source of energy, without expending high amounts of energy for the conversion. Credit: Jill Hemman, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Argon pellet injection text

As scientists study approaches to best sustain a fusion reactor, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated injecting shattered argon pellets into a super-hot plasma, when needed, to protect the reactor’s interior wall from high-energy runaway electrons.

The students analyzed diatom images like this one to compare wild and genetically modified strains of these organisms. Credit: Alison Pawlicki/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Department of Energy.

Students often participate in internships and receive formal training in their chosen career fields during college, but some pursue professional development opportunities even earlier.

Beneficial microbes, shown in red, aid Sphagnum mosses in using nitrogen from the air to fuel plant growth. ORNL scientists have shown this nitrogen fixing activity declines with warming temperatures. Credit: David Weston/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A team of scientists found that critical interactions between microbes and peat moss break down under warming temperatures, impacting moss health and ultimately carbon stored in soil.

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.

Misha Krassovski, a computer scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, stands in front of the Polarstern, a 400-foot long German icebreaker. Krassovski lived aboard the Polarstern during the first leg of the MOSAiC mission, the largest polar expedition ever. Credit: Misha Krassovski/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In the vast frozen whiteness of the central Arctic, the Polarstern, a German research vessel, has settled into the ice for a yearlong float.

Fusion—Heating the core

In a recent study, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory performed experiments in a prototype fusion reactor materials testing facility to develop a method that uses microwaves to raise the plasma’s temperature closer to the extreme values reached in a fusion energy reactor’s exhaust system.

Ethan Coon uses math and computational science to model the flow of above and belowground water in watersheds.

As a computational hydrologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ethan Coon combines his talent for math with his love of coding to solve big science questions about water quality, water availability for energy production, climate change, and the movement of contaminants through watersheds.

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.

Edmon Begoli

Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have the potential to support medical decision-making, from diagnosing diseases to prescribing treatments. But to prioritize patient safety, researchers and practitioners must first ensure such methods are accurate.