SRNL Research Earns Doctoral Student Invitation to International Nobel Laureates Meeting
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AIKEN, S.C. (August 27, 2007) – A doctoral student who conducted research at the Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory was among the 49 young rising stars in American research selected to join their peers from around the globe this summer for discussions with Nobel laureates as part of the 57th annual Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Lindau, Germany.
SRNL nominated Steven B. Jung, a doctoral candidate from the University of Missouri-Rolla, for his work on an SRNL research project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science to design and optimize new materials to remove certain radioactive elements from high-level radioactive waste. Jung, who is working toward a PhD in materials science and engineering, has also developed innovative new methods for testing how well different glass formulas can tolerate impurities, as part of an SRNL program to develop strategies for converting excess plutonium to a glass form. Utilizing his background in ceramic engineering, Jung is pursuing a variety of research interests from the use of glass for the permanent disposal of nuclear waste to glass and ceramic materials for medical applications, such as bone scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration.
The meeting provided Jung the opportunity to listen to some of the most influential scientists in the area of physiology of medicine. He personally met and conversed with Craig Cameron Mello, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of RNA interference; Bert Sakmann, director of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1991; and Aaron Ciechanover, an Israeli biologist who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In addition, he was able to meet and visit with hundreds of graduate students and young scientists from 62 countries, with vastly different backgrounds, to share ideas and interests. "This meeting does an excellent job of promoting professional camaraderie, even among countries that are currently experiencing political turmoil," Jung said.
"Looking at the diverse group of people that were selected for a meeting of this magnitude," he added, "Makes me think that research is going to become more cross disciplinary as the problems we try to solve become increasingly complex. Regardless of an individual's knowledge in a certain field, the people willing to branch out and interact with leaders in other fields will be the ones making the significant scientific contributions in the future. I think this is why a meeting of this nature is so meaningful and that understanding the importance of a cross disciplinary approach to research is what ultimately will have the largest impact on my future career."
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any scientist, and the opportunity became a reality for Steven because of his hard work and dedication," says Dave Crowley, SRNL Stabilization Science Research Manager. Washington Group subsidiary Washington Savannah River Company operates SRNL, which is the applied research and development laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site. "This annual gathering brings together top students from all over the world to not only hear presentations by Nobel Prize winners but to also meet for informal discussions. These kinds of interactions are vital if we are going to keep bright young people excited about careers solving the vast scientific and technical challenges ahead. We at SRNL are proud to be a part of Steven's career, and proud that we could make this opportunity available to him."
In recommending Jung for the Lindau meeting, Dr. James Marra, his research mentor at SRNL, said that his research interests encompass topics of expected importance for the 21st century, such as materials research for biomedical applications.
Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, and physiology/medicine have convened annually in Lindau, Germany, to have open and informal meetings with students and young researchers. The DOE Office of Science, the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities were invited to bring groups of top young researchers to the 2007 meeting. The DOE/NIH/NSF delegation consisted of 49 U.S. doctoral students whose research was funded by one of the sponsoring agencies.
SRNL is the applied research and development laboratory at DOE's Savannah River Site. The laboratory is operated for DOE by Washington Savannah River Company.
Media contact: Will Callicott (803-725-3786 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Angeline French (803-725-2854 or email@example.com) at SRNL.
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