Originally appeared in October 18, 2002 Knoxville News-Sentinel
ORNL through the decades
A look at key developments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from the 1940s to 2000.
| In 1942, Oak Ridge was selected as the site for the World War II Manhattan Project.|
1942 - Oak Ridge selected as site for World War II Manhattan Project.
1943 - Graphite Reactor and other pilot operations built in eight months at a cost of $12 million
1945 - First neutron-scattering studies at a nuclear reactor by Ernie Wollan and Cliff Shull, who won a Nobel Prize almost 50 years later for the pioneering work.
1946 - ORNL makes first radioisotope shipment (carbon-14) to a cancer hospital in St. Louis.
* Pressurized water reactor conceived and later applied to submarines.
1947 - Biologists begin using mice to study genetic effects of radiation.
1948 - Union Carbide becomes the government's contractor in Oak Ridge.
1949 - Lab scientists begin work on the PUREX process, which later became the worldwide method of recovering uranium and plutonium from spent nuclear fuels.
| In 1959, Sen. John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, visit laboratory.|
1950 - Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology (ORSORT) established, and two new test reactors begin operation.
1952 - Based on studies of irradiated mouse embryos, Oak Ridge scientists recommend against pelvic X-rays of childbearing women during periods when pregnancy is possible.
1953 - Engineers design transportable reactor for the Army to use in remote sites such as Antarctica and the Panama Canal Zone.
* ORACLE, world's most powerful computer, starts up.
1955 - Alvin Weinberg named laboratory director, a position he would hold for 18 years.
1957 - ORNL launches first fusion experiment.
1958 - Oak Ridge Research Reactor starts up, expanding the laboratory's nuclear research base.
1959 - Sen. John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, visit laboratory.
| In 1966 , the Graphite Reactor was named a National Historic Landmark.|
1960 - Scientists develop personal radiation monitors, including the "pocket screamer" that chirps and flashes when gamma radiation levels go too high.
1961 - Work begins on radioisotope heat sources to power satellites in space.
1962 - Lab becomes a center for civil defense research to help protect U.S. population in the event of a nuclear war.
1964 - Concept of nuclear desalination is featured at UN conference.
1965 - High Flux Isotope Reactor and Molten Salt Reactor begin operations.
* Researchers begin effort to measure genetic effects of pesticides, tobacco and other chemicals.
1966 - Graphite Reactor, the world's first continuously operated nuclear reactor, named a National Historic Landmark.
1968 - UT-ORNL Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences founded.
1969 - Engineers design moon scoop for Apollo 11.
| In 1978, President Jimmy Carter visits ORNL.|
1970 - Researchers test a new doughnut-shaped fusion machine, the ORMAK. It was used to evaluate concepts for fusion reactors.
1971 - ORNL helps prepare early environmental impact statements for nuclear power plants, gathering data on the impacts on fish of heated cooling water from these facilities.
1972 - The first successful freezing and thawing of mouse embryos.
* Hijackers threaten to crash airplane into High Flux Isotope Reactor.
1973 - Lab scientists study moon rocks.
1974 - Herman Postma becomes laboratory director, a position he would hold for 14 hears.
1975 - Because of disruptions in the supply of Mideastern oil to the U.S., the government orders research on producing liquid and gaseous fuels from coal.
1978 - President Jimmy Carter visit ORNL.
1979 - Using neutral-beam injections, Oak Ridge engineers achieve record temperature for fusion plasma.
* Researchers help determine cause of the accident at Three Mile Island nuclear plant and assess core damage.
| In 1982, Union Carbide announces plans to leave Oak Ridge after more than 30 years as government's chief contractor. In 1983, Martin Marietta succeeds Union Carbide as laboratory manager.|
1980 - The Holifield Heavy Ion Research Facility begins operation on nuclear physics studies.
1981 - Researchers develop whisker-toughened ceramics that resist fractures.
1982 - Union Carbide announces plans to leave Oak Ridge after more than 30 years as government's chief contractor.
1983 - Martin Marietta succeeds Union Carbide as laboratory manager, defeating Westinghouse and Rockwell International in the contract competition.
1984 - Lab researcher Eli Greenbaum conducts experiments that use photosynthesis to produce energy from spinach.
1985 - ORNL researchers develop gelcasting, and advanced process for forming ceramic material into complex shapes -- such as automotive turbines, accelerator magnets, and artificial bone.
1986 - Workers complete construction of the High Temperature Materials Laboratory.
1987 - High Temperature Materials Laboratory opens.
* Human genome studies begin.
1988 - The Advanced Toroidal Facility begins operation, enabling researchers to learn more about the physics of fusion energy.
1989 - Al Trivelpiece becomes laboratory director.
| In 1999, Vice President Al Gore announces plans for the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source project.|
1990 - Lab provides computer data-assembly programs to organize U.S. transportation needs for the Gulf War.
1991 - ORNL uses neutron activation analysis on President Zachary Taylor's hair and nails to help disprove a theory that he died of arsenic poisoning.
1992 - Researchers identify and clone the mouse "agouti" gene, which is associated with coat color, obesity, diabetes and skin cancer in mice.
* Center for Computational Sciences created.
* President Bush visits laboratory.
1993 - Nuclear medicine researchers develop the rhenium-188 generator, which provides hospitals with a ready source of isotopes to treat bone pain in cancer patients.
1994 - Researchers develop "lab on a chip" that's used to help diagnose diseases and provide quick and cheap method for DNA sequencing.
1995 - Researchers develop the rolling-assisted biaxial textured substrates technique for fabricating nickel-based, high-temperature superconducting wire.
1996 - Project shows a more efficient refrigerator-freezer can cut energy use in half.
1997 - Nuclear astrophysics studies begin at redesigned and newly named Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility.
1999 - Groundbreaking for the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source.
* The University of Tennessee joins with Battelle to win contract competition to manage ORNL.
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Mirrored with permission.