July 13, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 19

current issue
archive / search

    University, DOE sign Argonne Lab contract

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    [gammasphere] The U.S. Department of Energy and the University have agreed to extend the current contract for management and operation of Argonne National Laboratory through Sept. 30, 2004.

    With sites in Argonne, Ill., and in Idaho, Argonne is one of the nation’s leading scientific research laboratories. Nearly 4,000 employees perform research and engineering work in fields ranging from energy technology to high-speed computing. Argonne’s annual operating budget is approximately $450 million.

    “Under this new agreement, DOE and the University will continue the partnership that has brought a new understanding of nature and produced technologies that will be of great benefit to society for many decades,” said Robert San Martin, Manager of the DOE Chicago Operations Office, which oversees the Argonne contract. “Under the University’s leadership, we expect Argonne to continue to contribute in major ways that fulfill the department‰s key science and technology missions and benefit the nation,” he said.

    Hugo Sonnenschein, President Emeritus, said, “The University will continue to work with the laboratory and with the Department of Energy to maintain Argonne‰s scientific and technological pre-eminence and continue its second half-century of partnership with Argonne.”

    DOE and the University agreed upon an initial 90-day term and subsequent extensions with a goal of providing additional time for the University to fulfill DOE’s objective of a broad and inclusive search for highly qualified candidates for a new laboratory director.

    The former Laboratory Director, Dean Eastman, left Argonne in June 1998 to return to research and teaching.

    “DOE has been impressed with the diligence and commitment shown by the University in seeking excellent candidates for this important leadership position,” said San Martin.

    “The University has kept us well-informed about its efforts. Although the search has not yet been successful, we are confident that the University is making a good-faith effort to fulfill the Department’s expectations,” he said.

    The University has been Argonne’s manager and partner throughout its history. Argonne was formed in 1946 as an outgrowth of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University, which, in 1942, produced the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Today, in addition to basic research, Argonne researchers study problems in energy production and use, the environment, economic competitiveness and health.

    Argonne is home to a wide array of research instruments and facilities, including the approximately $1 billion Advanced Photon Source, the world’s most powerful source of X-rays. Researchers from universities, business and industry from around the world use it to gain an unprecedented look at the microstructure of solid materials.

    The Advanced Photon Source and other Argonne facilities are expected to provide new insights into nature and the development of new materials, technologies, medical treatments and other discoveries of importance to the nation.