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Awards and Recognition | Physical Sciences and Engineering

Argonne staff recognized with 2020 Physical Sciences and Engineering Excellence Awards

Each year, individuals and teams who have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievement and personal excellence are selected to receive this honor.

The Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Excellence Awards recognize teams and individuals for outstanding achievements and distinguished service during the previous fiscal year. Each award falls under one of two categories: Programmatic Scientific Achievement or Operational Excellence.

The PSE directorate is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 PSE Excellence Awards:

  • Massimiliano Delferro, Magali Ferrandon, Ryan Hackler and Robert Kennedy from PSE’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering (CSE) division

  • Marcia Wood, from PSE’s Nanoscience and Technology (NST) division

2020 PSE Excellence Award: Programmatic Scientific Achievement category

PSE recognizes Massimiliano Delferro, Magali Ferrandon, Ryan Hackler and Robert Kennedy of CSE for developing a new catalyst for upcycling polyethylene plastic wastes into higher-value products. The catalyst works at moderate pressure and temperature in the presence of hydrogen. It cleaves the carbon-carbon bonds in polyethylene to produce a high-quality hydrocarbon liquid. The liquid can be used in motor oil, lubricants and waxes or further processed to make ingredients for detergents and cosmetics.

The team has received considerable recognition for this discovery, including being highlighted in an American Chemical Society Discover Chemistry news release and in publications such as ScienceDaily, Forbes Magazine, Green Car Congress and London Mirror. There is also growing interest in this technology from major polymer producers, and the discovery has led to two patent applications. As a result, Argonne has quickly become a leader in the rapidly growing field of polymer upcycling.

2020 PSE Excellence Award: Operational Excellence category

PSE recognizes Marcia Wood of NST for her contributions to the division’s Limited Operations planning and preparation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wood serves as the NST Work Planning and Control (WPC) coordinator. Working closely with NST’s Environment Safety and Health coordinator, management and staff, Wood ensured the division was approved for the lab’s Limited Operations phase. She organized the materials needed in preparation for remote user operations across the Center for Nanoscale Materials, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility, and she worked with the WPC team to incorporate the required COVID-19 trainings and hazard controls into NST’s WPC documents.

Wood’s contribution to NST’s Limited Operations planning was instrumental to the division’s readiness to begin Limited Operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. She put forth extraordinary effort, displaying diligence and professionalism and demonstrating Argonne’s Core Values of Impact, Safety and Teamwork.

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 https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.