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Verónica Melesse Vergara speaks with third and fourth graders at East Side Intermediate School in Brownsville. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Twenty-seven ORNL researchers Zoomed into 11 middle schools across Tennessee during the annual Engineers Week in February. East Tennessee schools throughout Oak Ridge and Roane, Sevier, Blount and Loudon counties participated, with three West Tennessee schools joining in.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory entrance sign

Balendra Sutharshan, deputy associate laboratory director for operational systems at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has joined ORNL as associate laboratory director for the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate.

A 3D printed turbine blade demonstrates the use of the new class of nickel-based superalloys that can withstand extreme heat environments without cracking or losing strength. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated that a new class of superalloys made of cobalt and nickel remains crack-free and defect-resistant in extreme heat, making them conducive for use in metal-based 3D printing applications.

ORNL has modeled the spike protein that binds the novel coronavirus to a human cell for better understanding of the dynamics of COVID-19. Credit: Stephan Irle/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

To better understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have harnessed the power of supercomputers to accurately model the spike protein that binds the novel coronavirus to a human cell receptor.

The Perseverance rover

On Feb. 18, the world will be watching as NASA’s Perseverance rover makes its final descent into Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars. Mars 2020 is the first NASA mission that uses plutonium-238 produced at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The ORNL National Center for Computational Sciences is now home two Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or HPE, Cray EX supercomputers that will provide the U.S. Army and Air Force with global and regional numerical weather model outputs for planning and executing missions worldwide. Credit: Jason Smith/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy and HPE Cray

The U.S. Air Force and Oak Ridge National Laboratory launched a new high-performance weather forecasting computer system that will provide a platform for some of the most advanced weather modeling in the world.

 The researchers embedded a programmable model into a D-Wave quantum computer chip. Credit: D-Wave

A multi-institutional team became the first to generate accurate results from materials science simulations on a quantum computer that can be verified with neutron scattering experiments and other practical techniques.

ORNL recognized the small businesses that have made a positive impact on ORNL’s operations at the virtual 2020 Small Business Awards. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Thirty-two Oak Ridge National Laboratory employees were named among teams recognized by former DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette with Secretary’s Honor Awards as he completed his term. Four teams received new awards that reflect DOE responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

Merlin Theodore holding N95 mask filtration material produced at DOE's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility

Three technologies developed by ORNL researchers have won National Technology Transfer Awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium. One of the awards went to a team that adapted melt-blowing capabilities at DOE’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility to enable the production of filter material for N95 masks in the fight against COVID-19.

ORNL welder Devin Johnson uses a new orbital welder to seal a hollow target in a glovebox in the lab’s Radiochemical Engineering Development Center. The new welder makes a clean seam on the metal target, eliminating the need for hand-finishing afterward. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A better way of welding targets for Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s plutonium-238 production has sped up the process and improved consistency and efficiency. This advancement will ultimately benefit the lab’s goal to make enough Pu-238 – the isotope that powers NASA’s deep space missions – to yield 1.5 kilograms of plutonium oxide annually by 2026.