Oct. 1, 1998
Vol. 18, No. 1

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    Secretary of Energy praises University, Argonne partnership

    The U.S. Department of Energy has notified the University that it will negotiate an extension of the current multi-year, multi-billion dollar contract for the management and operation of Argonne National Laboratory.

    The current, performance-based contract with the University runs through Sept. 30, 1999, and the new contract would extend this agreement for an additional five years.

    The DOE recently rated Argonne's science and technology performance as "Outstanding," the highest rating that can be received. Argonne also received an "Excellent" operation rating for its management.

    "We are delighted with the department's decision to extend the contract. We very much value our continued relationship with Argonne National Laboratory," said Arthur Sussman, Vice President for Argonne National Laboratory. Sussman added that the University has worked in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory for more than 50 years.

    The new five-year extension is expected to provide approximately $2.2 billion in funding for basic and applied research.

    In a statement, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson recognized the collaboration between the University and Argonne National Laboratory for its important impact on society.

    "I would like to congratulate the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory staff for their critically important contributions to science and excellent management over the term of this contract," said Richardson.

    "This standard of performance gives us the assurance that the next five years of this relationship will reflect similar excellence in meeting our science and technology challenges and delivering benefits to the American people."

    The University and Argonne National Laboratory have maintained and are further developing a close scientific relationship. This has been aided by a collaborative grants program funded by the DOE and the University and designed to foster joint scientific activity.

    One major, DOE-funded, joint initiative is the Accelerated Strategic Computer Initiative Center on Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes.

    With a total of $25 million awarded to the University over a period of five years, the ASCI Flash Project involves the development of a computer simulation of nuclear explosions, said Robert Zimmer, the Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics and the College and Senior Associate Provost.

    Of the five DOE-funded projects within the ASCI program, Chicago's is the only science-based project, with others being engineering-based.

    The ASCI Flash Project combines the expertise of faculty from the University led by faculty in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics with that of the staff in Mathematics and Computer Science at Argonne.

    "We would like to develop a framework for doing many more of these types of projects," said Zimmer.

    "We at the University believe that ASCI is an example of the kind of collaborative projects we can do with Argonne. We want to do more and richer collaboration across a broad scope of mutual scientific interests," Zimmer said.