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Prospecting for deformations in exotic isotopes of ruthenium and molybdenum, Allmond found they displayed a deflated-football morphology. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In the Physics Division of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, James (“Mitch”) Allmond conducts experiments and uses theoretical models to advance our understanding of the structure of atomic nuclei, which are made of various combinations of protons and neutrons (nucleons).

Kat Royston

As a teenager, Kat Royston had a lot of questions. Then an advanced-placement class in physics convinced her all the answers were out there.

This simulation of a fusion plasma calculation result shows the interaction of two counter-streaming beams of super-heated gas. Credit: David L. Green/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The prospect of simulating a fusion plasma is a step closer to reality thanks to a new computational tool developed by scientists in fusion physics, computer science and mathematics at ORNL.

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.

Quantum—Widening the net

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studying quantum communications have discovered a more practical way to share secret messages among three parties, which could ultimately lead to better cybersecurity for the electric grid 

Materials—Engineering heat transport

Scientists have discovered a way to alter heat transport in thermoelectric materials, a finding that may ultimately improve energy efficiency as the materials convert heat flow into electricity.

ORNL astrophysicist Raph Hix models the inner workings of supernovae on the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

More than 1800 years ago, Chinese astronomers puzzled over the sudden appearance of a bright “guest star” in the sky, unaware that they were witnessing the cosmic forge of a supernova, an event repeated countless times scattered across the universe.

Leah Broussard leads a study of neutron decay to understand correlations between electrons and antineutrinos as well as subtle distortions in the electron energy spectrum.

Leah Broussard, a physicist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has so much fun exploring the neutron that she alternates between calling it her “laboratory” and “playground” for understanding the universe. “The neutron is special,” she said of the sub...


Physicists turned to the “doubly magic” tin isotope Sn-132, colliding it with a target at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to assess its properties as it lost a neutron to become Sn-131.

Yu collaborates on the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, which set the stage for a future experiment to search for the signal of neutrinoless double-beta decay. Single beta-decay—in which a proton becomes a neutron and emits an antineutrino and a fast-moving electro

Chang-Hong Yu of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory fell in love with running in 2008 and has since completed 38 marathons or longer-distance races. Her passion for long-distance races serves her well chasing neutrinos—electrically neutral subatomic particles th...