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Paul Abraham uses mass spectrometry to study proteins.

Systems biologist Paul Abraham uses his fascination with proteins, the molecular machines of nature, to explore new ways to engineer more productive ecosystems and hardier bioenergy crops.

ORNL’s Lab-on-a-crystal uses machine learning to correlate materials’ mechanical, optical and electrical responses to dynamic environments. Credit: Ilia Ivanov/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

An all-in-one experimental platform developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences accelerates research on promising materials for future technologies.

The CrossVis application includes a parallel coordinates plot (left), a tiled image view (right) and other interactive data views. Credit: Chad Steed/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

From materials science and earth system modeling to quantum information science and cybersecurity, experts in many fields run simulations and conduct experiments to collect the abundance of data necessary for scientific progress.

Pine trees in the Tuolumne Valley of Yosemite National Park show the effects of drought and fire. Credit: Anthony Walker/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A multi-institutional research team found that changing environmental conditions are affecting forests around the globe, leading to increasing tree death and uncertainty about the ability of forests to recover.

Scanning probe microscopes use an atom-sharp tip—only a few nanometers thick—to image materials on a nanometer length scale. The probe tip, invisible to the eye, is attached to a cantilever (pictured) that moves across material surfaces like the tone arm on a record player. Credit: Genevieve Martin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Liam Collins was drawn to study physics to understand “hidden things” and honed his expertise in microscopy so that he could bring them to light.

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.

Researchers at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences demonstrated an insect-inspired, mechanical gyroscope to advance motion sensing capabilities in consumer-sized applications. Credit: Jill Hemman/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S Dept. of Energy

Researchers at ORNL and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory took inspiration from flying insects to demonstrate a miniaturized gyroscope, a special sensor used in navigation technologies. 

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.

Desalination process

A new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory improves the energy efficiency of a desalination process known as solar-thermal evaporation. 

Heat impact map

A detailed study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimated how much more—or less—energy United States residents might consume by 2050 relative to predicted shifts in seasonal weather patterns