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Argonne National Laboratory

  • Enrico Fermi's nobel prize.

    Enrico Fermi's nobel prize.
    Enrico Fermi, Argonne’s founding director, won the 1938 Nobel Prize in physics for his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons.
  • First self-sustaining nuclear reaction.

    First self-sustaining nuclear reaction.
    First self-sustaining nuclear reaction.
  • Nuclear energy program.

    Nuclear energy program.
    On July 1, 1946, the laboratory was formally chartered as Argonne National Laboratory to conduct "cooperative research in nucleonics." At the request of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, it began developing nuclear reactors for the nation's peaceful nuclear energy program. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the laboratory moved to a larger location in Lemont, Illinois, and established a remote location in Idaho, called "Argonne-West," to conduct further nuclear research.
  • Experimental Breeder Reactor

    Experimental Breeder Reactor
    In quick succession, the laboratory designed and built Chicago Pile 3, the world's first heavy-water moderated reactor, and the Experimental Breeder Reactor I, built in Idaho, which lit a string of four light bulbs to produce the world's first nuclear-generated electricity in 1951.
  • Elements Einsteinium 99 and Fermium 100 discovered.

    Elements Einsteinium 99 and Fermium 100 discovered.
    The laboratory maintained a strong presence in the basic research of physics and chemistry. In 1955, Argonne chemists co-discovered the elements einsteinium and fermium, elements 99 and 100 in the periodic table.
  • Argonne's first digital computer.

    Argonne's first digital computer.
    AVIDAC, Argonne's first digital computer, began operation in January 1953. Pictured is pioneer Argonne computer scientist Jean F. Hall.
  • First ultrasound images of humans body.

    First ultrasound images  of humans body.
    Not all nuclear technology went into developing reactors, however. While designing a scanner for reactor fuel elements in 1957, Argonne physicist William Nelson Beck put his own arm inside the scanner and obtained one of the first ultrasound images of the human body.
  • Discovery of Gas Xenon.

    Discovery of Gas Xenon.
    1962, laboratory chemists produced the first compound of the inert noble gas xenon, opening up a new field of chemical bonding research.
  • Proton Accelerator GeV Zero

    Proton Accelerator GeV Zero
    High-energy physics made a leap forward when Argonne was chosen as the site of the 12.5 GeV Zero Gradient Synchrotron, a proton accelerator that opened in 1963.
  • Radiation "Janus" reactor.

    Radiation "Janus" reactor.
    Remote manipulators designed to handle radioactive materials laid the groundwork for more complex machines used to clean up contaminated areas, sealed laboratories or caves. In 1964, the "Janus" reactor opened to study the effects of neutron radiation on biological life, providing research for guidelines on safe exposure levels for workers at power plants, laboratories and hospitals
  • Alpha Radiation for analyze the moon surface

    Alpha Radiation for analyze the moon surface
    Scientists at Argonne pioneered a technique to analyze the moon's surface using alpha radiation, which launched aboard the Surveyor 5 in 1967 and later analyzed lunar samples from the Apollo 11 mission.
  • Tracker of Subatomic Particles.

    Tracker of Subatomic Particles.
    A bubble chamber allowed scientists to track the motions of subatomic particles as they zipped through the chamber; in 1970, they observed the neutrino in a hydrogen bubble chamber for the first time.
  • Reactor Nuclear including recycling fuel.

    Reactor Nuclear including recycling fuel.
    The next nuclear reactor model was Experimental Boiling Water Reactor, the forerunner of many modern nuclear plants, and Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II), which was sodium-cooled, and included a fuel recycling facility. EBR-II was later modified to test other reactor designs, including a fast-neutron reactor and, in 1982, the Integral Fast Reactor concept
  • Plasma wakefield acceleration.

    Plasma wakefield acceleration.
    in 1987, the laboratory was the first to successfully demonstrate a pioneering technique called plasma wakefield acceleration, which accelerates particles in much shorter distances than conventional accelerators. It also cultivated a strong battery research program.
  • Final foundation of Argonne nuclear programs.

    Final foundation of Argonne nuclear programs.
    a revolutionary design that reprocessed its own fuel, reduced its atomic waste and withstood safety tests of the same failures that triggered the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters. In 1994, however, the U.S. Congress terminated funding for the bulk of Argonne's nuclear programs.
  • Advanced Photon Source

    Advanced Photon Source
    Following a major push by then-director Alan Schriesheim, the laboratory was chosen as the site of the Advanced Photon Source, a major X-ray facility which was completed in 1995 and produced the brightest X-rays in the world at the time of its construction.