National Lab Day: How the National Labs Keep Moving America Forward

on September 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM


Do you love science? The Department of Energy does. In fact, the Department is the single largest funder of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation. This research spans the Energy Department’s 17 National Labs.

The National Labs are a national treasure. They perform groundbreaking scientific research — from game-changing advancements in solar energy to supercomputer simulations of fossil fuel technologies to “invisible” breakthroughs that affect our daily lives. Some of these advancements were on display at National Lab Day, held yesterday on Capitol Hill.

In the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the labs set up 14 displays to illustrate the work they do across five key mission areas: high performance computing, energy and the environment, scientific discovery, manufacturing and national security. Members of Congress, their staff and other attendees got a firsthand look at 3D printers, mock-ups of proteins that make up the H1N1 virus, and a supercomputer called “Tiny Titan.” Secretary Moniz kicked off the event, moderated a panel on the role of the labs in American innovation, and even tried on a pair of 3D glasses.

Researchers at the National Labs have won 80 Nobel prizes in the sciences, and this past year alone, National Labs were awarded 31 of the 100 R&D 100 awards, known as the “Oscars of Innovation.”