U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry visited Argonne National Laboratory yesterday, getting a first-hand view of the multifaceted and interdisciplinary research program laboratory of the Department.
In his first stop at the laboratory since his confirmation as Secretary of Energy last year, Perry toured two of the laboratory’s standout national user facilities: the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF).
The APS, which annually hosts thousands of users from around the world, is currently slated for an upgrade, which will dramatically increase the brightness of X-rays it produces for use in a wide range of different experiments.
The ALCF, which like the APS is a DOE Office of Science User Facility, currently hosts one of the nation’s fastest computers, called Mira. The ALCF is scheduled to be the future home of a new exascale high-performance supercomputer — called Aurora — by 2021.
“The combination of world-leading expertise and state-of-the-art facilities found at Argonne keep America at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological breakthroughs,” Perry said. “Argonne and the other 16 Department of Energy National Laboratories sit at the heart of America’s innovation engine.”
Perry also toured Argonne’s Electrochemical Discovery Laboratory, where researchers work to develop next-generation beyond-lithium-ion batteries. Perry also spent time at the Materials Engineering Research Facility, where energy storage and other materials are scaled up for potential commercialization.
“As part of the Department of Energy, Argonne leads discoveries in countless scientific fields — from developing novel imaging and X-ray technology to introducing the exascale era of computing,” said Argonne director Paul Kearns. “The laboratory also fosters open and productive partnerships with a range of industries to ensure the future competitiveness of our nation’s businesses and enhance national defense and cybersecurity.”
In an open town hall meeting with Argonne staff, Perry said that he valued the laboratory’s pursuit of energy breakthroughs that have produced economic benefits while making America more secure.
Earlier in the day, Perry toured the DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory also in the Chicago area. He was joined on his tour of Argonne by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), as well as representatives from local DOE site management and the University of Chicago. UChicago Argonne LLC operates Argonne under a contract with the DOE.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.