WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today congratulated Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for receiving a Gordon Battelle Prize for scientific discovery and technology impact. The prize recognizes LLNL and Oak Ridge National Laboratory for their roles in the discovery of a new element on the periodic table, which is tentatively called “element 117.”
“Everyone at NNSA is very proud that the research being conducted across our enterprise is pushing the frontiers of science and discovery on a daily basis,” said Brig. Gen. Sandra E. Finan, Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application. “In addition to being an exciting development for the scientific community, this project is a great example of our Laboratory Directed Research and Development research projects in action. I applaud the men and women at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who worked on this project.”
Selected from 19 entries submitted by laboratories where Battelle plays a significant management role, the awards were divided into two categories: scientific advances published within the last three years that have significantly advanced human knowledge in any field of the physical, life, or social sciences; and technology innovations that are on track, or have high promise, to provide substantial social and/or economic benefit.
Each award-winning team receives a $5,000 education grant to their school of choice (K-12 or higher education).
The team who discovered element 117 included scientists from the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (Dubna, Russia), the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (Dimitrovgrad), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The team established the existence of element 117 from decay patterns observed following the bombardment of a radioactive berkelium target with calcium ions at the JINR U400 cyclotron in Dubna. The experiment depended on the availability of special detection facilities and dedicated accelerator time at Dubna, unique isotope production and separation facilities at Oak Ridge, and distinctive nuclear data analysis capabilities at Livermore.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.