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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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An artist rendering of the SKA’s low-frequency, cone-shaped antennas in Western Australia. Credit: SKA Project Office.

For nearly three decades, scientists and engineers across the globe have worked on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a project focused on designing and building the world’s largest radio telescope. Although the SKA will collect enormous amounts of precise astronomical data in record time, scientific breakthroughs will only be possible with systems able to efficiently process that data.

Catherine Schuman during Hour of Code

ORNL computer scientist Catherine Schuman returned to her alma mater, Harriman High School, to lead Hour of Code activities and talk to students about her job as a researcher.

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.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed an experiment for testing potential materials for use in interplanetary travel. The experiment exposes prototype materials to temperatures over 2,400 degrees Celsius with only 300 watts of input electrical power. Credit: Carlos Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

If humankind reaches Mars this century, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed experiment testing advanced materials for spacecraft may play a key role. 

Snapshot of total temperature distribution at supersonic speed of mach 2.4. Total temperature allows the team to visualize the extent of the exhaust plumes as the temperature of the plumes is much greater than that of the surrounding atmosphere. Credit: NASA

The type of vehicle that will carry people to the Red Planet is shaping up to be “like a two-story house you’re trying to land on another planet. 

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.

Project bridges compute staff, resources at ORNL and VA health data to speed suicide risk screening for US veterans. Image Credit: Carlos Jones, ORNL

In collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has expanded a VA-developed predictive computing model to identify veterans at risk of suicide and sped it up to run 300 times faster, a gain that could profoundly affect the VA’s ability to reach susceptible veterans quickly. 

Layering on the strength

A team including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee researchers demonstrated a novel 3D printing approach called Z-pinning that can increase the material’s strength and toughness by more than three and a half times compared to conventional additive manufacturing processes.

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.