Celebrating excellence in the Energy and Global Security directorate
This week, Suresh Sunderrajan and Sibendu Som announced the 2019 winners of the third annual EGS Excellence awards, which recognize Argonne’s world-class talent. Sunderrajan, the associate lab director (ALD) for the Energy and Global Security directorate, and Som, computational scientist and manager of Argonne’s Multi-Physics Computations group, awarded eight EGS staff in three categories:
- People award: Florent Heidet and Heather Connaway in the Nuclear Science & Engineering division
- Process award: Nathan Bremer in the Experimental Operations and Facilities division and Ryan Skeffington in the National Security Facility
- Project award: Beihai Ma, Steve E. Dorris, Tae H. Lee, and (Balu) Balachandran, all in the Applied Materials division
Looking to Argonne’s next generation
Heidet and Connaway received the People award, which highlights leadership, outreach, and inclusion. The duo brought the Next Generation Society, which they formed in 2017, from EGS to the entire laboratory this year. In 2018, Stephen Streiffer, Photon Sciences ALD, joined this employee research group as executive sponsor. This successful, cross-lab, grassroots group has grabbed the attention of other national labs and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) managers.
All eyes on safety and security
Bremer and Skeffington earned the Process award for their commitment to the lab’s safety and security.
As part of the lab’s renewed safety focus, Bremer quickly found and secured pyrophoric materials in Building 206. He stored all materials safely and then built a robust system to store those materials long-term. To do this, Bremer met with many groups cross the lab — Waste Management, Fire Protection Systems, Material Control & Accountability, and so on. His work inspired peers to review safety in other areas of the lab.
Meanwhile, Skeffington simplified reporting for foreign travel for staff who hold security clearances. He also launched an annual review of security clearances, which reduced threats of security violations and saved the lab money. His ideas will save the facility time and allow it to better serve its internal customers.
The chemistry was electric
The team of Beihai Ma, Steve E. Dorris, Tae H. Lee, and U. (Balu) Balachandran accepted the Project award for discovering a better way to produce covetic materials, which contain carbon nanoparticles that can boost electrical conductivity. The team’s new covetic copper films offer electrical conductivity that is 35% higher than copper. The team filed two patents and obtained $7.354 million from DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office for FY 2019 to FY 2021. The team’s efforts have transformed Argonne into the “go-to” national laboratory for covetic processes.
Special thanks to the awards committee, chaired by Sibendu Som and co-chaired by Denise Voss. Other committee members included Jackie Copple (CFC), Yan (Joann) Zhou (ES), Cathy Milostan (ES), Dan Carlson (EOF), Tanju Sofu (NSE), and Karen White (NSF).
By Dave Bukey (CPA)