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November 22, 2020 | Tom Ballard

ORNL holds “Awards Morning” to present the annual “Director’s Awards”

In the words of Thomas Zacharia, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) held its first-ever “Awards Morning” on Friday where it celebrated the accomplishments of lab scientists and others with the annual “Director’s Awards.”

Friday’s livestreamed ceremony, captured in this video, concluded a two-week period in which category winners were announced daily to laboratory staff. Normally, all of the awards are announced during a Black-Tie optional celebration but not in the era of COVID-19. Zacharia, both ORNL Director and President and Chief Executive Officer of UT-Battelle LLC, recognized the difference this year by wearing the traditional tuxedo over a Hawaiian shirt.

The winners announced during the session were:

  • Paul Kent, a Computational Nanoscience Researcher in the Computing and Computational Science Directorate who was recognized for “Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology.”
  • A research group in ORNL’s Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate that was honored with the “Outstanding Team Accomplishment in Science and Technology” for “revolutionary advancements in the area of microbial isolation techniques that promise to usher in a new era for microbiome studies, an area of current significant interest in both health and agriculture.” Led by Mircea Podar, the team includes Jerry Parks, Connor Cooper, Manasi Balachandran and Dawn Klingeman. The team also received an “Outstanding Scholarly Output” award.
  • Bart Iddins, ORNL Health Services Division Director, won the “Director’s Award for Mission Support” for ensuring the safety of the ORNL staff and enabling the continued performance of the laboratory’s research activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Iddins received the “Mission Support Leadership” award.
  • A second “Director’s Award for a Mission Support” went to a multidisciplinary team led by Merlin Theodore, Director of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in ORNL’s Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD), “for the rapid development and deployment of melt blowing and charging technology to enable domestic production of N95 media.”  The team also won a “Technology Transfer” award.

Videos on the category winners can be found here.

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