Spotlight: Nobel laureate visits ORNL for distinguished lecture series

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Delivers ORNL Lecture

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan delivers his lecture in the Iran Thomas Auditorium at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source on Monday. (Photos by Jason Richards/ORNL)


Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is visiting Oak Ridge National Laboratory this week (Monday and Tuesday) as part of the lab’s Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Lecture Series in Science, Technology, and Policy.

Ramakrishnan’s talk on Monday morning was titled “How Antibiotics Block the Ribosome, the Cell’s Protein Factory.” He discussed his research on ribosome structure that earned him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. More information on his background is available here.

His visit will include small group discussions with senior researchers, early career scientists, and postdoctoral fellows, as well as tours of the lab’s research facilities, ORNL said. [Read more...]

Anderson Chamber elects new board member

Arlene Garrison

Arlene Garrison

Arlene A. Garrison, vice president of university partnerships at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, has been elected to serve on the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Garrison, with more than 35 years of experience in science and education, works with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to enhance and expand research participation programs that provide opportunities for faculty and students from ORAU member institutions to work alongside renowned ORNL scientists, a press release said.

Prior to ORAU, she served as a program director for the National Science Foundation and in a number of senior leadership positions with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge could consider taking over DOE’s Clark Center Park

Clark Center Park Swimming Beach

The swimming beach at Clark Center Park. (Photos courtesy Cindy McCullough)

City officials could consider taking over Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge, City Manager Mark Watson said Sunday.

It could be an alternative to letting the U.S. Department of Energy turn over the popular swimming, boating, picnicking, and fishing destination to the federal General Services Administration, which could, in turn, dispose of it, Watson said.

The 80-acre park—which includes a softball field, boat ramp, swimming beach, restrooms, and picnic areas—is a major cost to DOE, Watson said. And running a park is not really part of the department’s mission.

“They’re facing continuing budgetary shortfalls, and they’re going to have to do something with the park,” Watson said.

It’s part of a discussion that dates back to at least 1993, Watson said.

“This time, it looks like it’s moving in a different direction,” he said. “It’s moving toward GSA.” [Read more...]

Vinyard named chief of Payment Services Branch at DOE Oak Ridge

Lynda M. Vinyard

Lynda M. Vinyard

Lynda M. Vinyard was recently named chief of the Payment Services Branch in the Oak Ridge Financial Service Center within the Oak Ridge Office of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Vinyard’s responsibilities include directing a staff of accountants, technicians, and support contractors in developing, administering, and planning DOE’s consolidated payment activities through the DOE payment center, which processes more than 150,000 invoices and payments totaling approximately $12B per year. She also ensures the ORO payment center maintains a prompt payment percentage rate greater than the 98 percent target set by the United States Office of Management and Budget. Her responsibilities also include overseeing the ORO payments system, travel and payroll office, and the Internal Revenue Service tax reporting requirements.

Vinyard’s DOE federal career began in 1984 when she was a student aid in the badging office in the Safeguards and Security Division for ORO. Since then, she has served in various positions within the ORO including accounts maintenance clerk, systems accountant for travel, financial systems, data and payroll branch, and most recently senior systems accountant in the Payment Services Branch. [Read more...]

Creedon confirmed as NNSA principal deputy administrator

Madelyn R. Creedon

Madelyn R. Creedon

WASHINGTON—Madelyn Creedon was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the U.S. Department of Energy’s principal deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“Madelyn Creedon’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “She is well-prepared for her new role at the department as it follows a long career of public service in national security, including at the Department of Defense, with the Senate Armed Services Committee, and, previously, at the Department of Energy. NNSA Administrator Klotz and I thank the Senate for their attention to Madelyn’s nomination, and look forward to working with her.”

As NNSA’s principal deputy administrator, Creedon will support NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz in the management and operation of the NNSA, as well as policy matters across the DOE and NNSA enterprise in support of President Obama’s nuclear security agenda, a press release said. [Read more...]

Community considers future of AMSE as Congress debates Manhattan Project park

David Moore and Mark Watson

During Thursday’s community meeting at AMSE, David Moore, left, said a few words about his background after being introduced by Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, right. (Photos by Sara Wise)


The American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation teamed up with the City of Oak Ridge on Thursday to host the first of four community meetings meant to allow the community to have some input into the future of the museum, and how it might fit into the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The first meeting was at the museum on Thursday night. It began with presentations that focused on providing information to help audience members make informed suggestions about the museum.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Communication Director David Keim was among those who made presentations. He said that the museum attracted 71,500 visitors in 2013 and received $1.6 million in federal funding.

Keim explained why AMSE’s contract with Enterprise Advisory Services Inc. was allowed to run out June 30. [Read more...]

Spotlight: Knoxville mayor tours ORNL’s manufacturing demonstration facility

Madeline Rogero at Manufacturing Demonstration Facility

Foreground, from left, ORNL’s Ryan Dehoff shows 3-D printed parts to Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, accompanied by ORNL Director Thom Mason and Craig Blue, director of ORNL’s advanced manufacturing program and the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. (Photo by Jason Richards/ORNL)


Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero recently visited the U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Rogero had been invited to participate as a “Maker Mayor” at the June 18 White House Maker Faire. Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan also attended.

When Roger returned, she asked ORNL for more information on additive manufacturing, the lab said.

The tour of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility gave Rogero an overview of the facility and the research underway there.

Students explore engineering, design during robotics camp

ORAU Robotics Camp

Marise Wilson, a student at Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy in Louisiana and Anna Keim, a student at Knoxville’s West High School, use a robot they created to place tennis balls into a container during a week-long Oak Ridge Robotics Camp presented by ORAU and held at its Center for Science Education. (Photo courtesy ORAU)

A recent week-long robotics camp at Oak Ridge Associated Universities was designed to help excite students about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.

The robotics camp was presented by ORAU and held at its Center for Science Education.

The free day camp allowed teams of middle school students to design, build, program, and test their own robots, a press release said. Students also spent the week competing in various engineering challenges and had the opportunity to speak with robotics engineering research scientists while touring Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s research facilities.

The camp was one of various ORAU-sponsored or administered programs designed to excited students about STEM subjects with the goal of inspiring them to pursue STEM careers, the release said.

Honors: ORAU’s Garrison elected American Chemical Society fellow

Arlene Garrison

Arlene Garrison

Arlene Garrison of Oak Ridge Associated Universities has been named a fellow of the American Chemical Society.

Garrison is vice president of university partnerships for ORAU. She was recognized for her outstanding achievements and contributions to science, the profession, and the society during her 35-year career, a press release said.

Garrison is responsible for enhancing ORAU’s scientific research opportunities and expanding partnerships with universities, national laboratories, and private industry, the press release said. [Read more...]

Uranium Processing Facility team signs partnering agreement

UPF Partnering Agreement

The Uranium Processing Facility Project Office and Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC signed a partnering agreement to move forward on delivering the UPF mission. Shown in the photo are, front row, left to right: Bill Priest, CNS; John Eschenberg, UPO; Brian Reilly, CNS; and Dale Christenson, UPO; and back row, left to right: Joe Brown, CNS; Brant Morowski, CNS; Mike Pratt, CNS; Jim Sowers, CNS; Matt Crookshanks, CNS; John Clayton, UPO; Art Haugh, UPO; Laurie Folden, UPO; and Steve Wellbaum, UPO. (Submitted photo)


Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Uranium Processing Facility Project Office and Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC recently signed a partnering agreement to create a cohesive and effective team united in accomplishment of the Uranium Processing Facility mission.

“The UPF partnering agreement is an important step to ensure our team carries out its mission to deliver a new UPF, a key infrastructure investment for our country, with Building 9212 capabilities, for not more than $6.5 billion by 2025,” said UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg.

The agreement also emphasizes a collaborative approach to problem-solving and issue resolution focused on early identification and rapid communication. [Read more...]

City, AMSE Foundation have community meeting on museum Thursday


The American Museum of Science and Energy is at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Sara Wise)

The City of Oak Ridge and the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation are sponsoring a community meeting on Thursday that will include discussions of ways to strengthen the museum as a community and regional asset and destination attraction.

The meeting will also include an information session on current museum operations and the role of the AMSE Foundation. New AMSE Director David Moore will be at the meeting.

The meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the museum, which is at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge. Registration and light refreshments will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m., a press release said.

In a press release, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said it’s the right time to get the community involved in a dialogue about the museum. [Read more...]

Students, teachers come to Oak Ridge for summer science learning, fun

ARC, ORAU, and ORNL Summer High School Institute

Participants of the 2014 ARC/ORNL/ORAU High School Institute. (Photo courtesy ORAU)


While the majority of young students were using their break from school to enjoy nice weather and a variety of summer activities, 34 exceptional high school students along with 13 teachers from across 12 Appalachian states chose to spend two weeks of their summer vacation participating in a hands-on institute focused on math, science, and technology.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities hosted the 25th annual High School Summer and Math-Science-Technology Institute from July 7-18, during which the students and teachers worked on cutting-edge science projects with mentors at ORNL and participated in a variety of East Tennessee tours and activities.

Students were nominated by their state governor and chosen to participate in the program by ARC. They were selected based on their potential to excel in math and science, to continue in higher learning, and to influence others in their communities as the leaders of tomorrow.

Since 2000, the program has provided a total of 542 students and 223 teachers with in-lab learning experiences at one of the nation’s premier national laboratories. In addition, they have had the opportunity to visit some of the area’s most popular educational and recreational attractions. [Read more...]