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Lab Director's Columns and Opinion Pieces


Chris Mundy

WSU, UW and PNNL: Rival schools make for good partners
Published in the Tri-City Herald, October 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Many of us are looking forward to next month's Apple Cup as the Cougars and Huskies battle for regional pigskin pride. At the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, however, we strive to bring these fierce gridiron competitors together to collaborate on research and development. Read more...

Hansi Singh

PNNL on the cutting edge of making extreme weather predictable
Published in the Tri-City Herald, September 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

A few weeks ago, Texas was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, a once-in-500-years storm. Irma was right behind it, leaving a path of destruction in the Caribbean and Florida. Read more...

John Cliff

EMSL has expanded far beyond original focus 20 years ago
Published in the Tri-City Herald, August 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Earlier this month, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility. Read more...

Melanie Godinez

PNNL lending a hand — and technology — to first responders
Published in the Tri-City Herald, July 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

When disaster strikes, first responders rush in to provide assistance. In addition to their courage and training, they depend on a panoply of technologies to do their jobs. Read more...

Mahantesh Halappanavar

PNNL advancing the frontiers of computing: the march toward exascale
Published in the Tri-City Herald, June 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

We often hear how supercomputers are used to tackle incredibly complex problems. They have played an essential role in the design of automobiles and aircraft, including the Boeing 777 Dreamliner, the creation of new anti-cancer drugs and discoveries related to the origin of the universe. Read more...

Wendy Shaw

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory fueling a sustainable future
Published in the Tri-City Herald, June 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Imagine a future in which agricultural, animal and even human waste is used to produce fuels and high-value chemicals. Read more...

Steven Ashby

PNNL committed to embracing diversity
Published in the Tri-City Herald, May 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

As director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, I often have an opportunity to write or speak about the incredible science and technology that we perform on behalf of the nation.Read more...

PNNL detecting and preventing the use of chemical weapons

PNNL detecting and preventing the use of chemical weapons
Published in the Tri-City Herald, April 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Like detectives looking for clues, researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been working for nearly a decade on ways to identify the "fingerprints" of potential chemical threats. Read more...

Skating to where the puck will be

Skating to where the puck will be
Published in the Tri-City Herald, March 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

The "Great One" of hockey fame, Wayne Gretzky, said the secret to his success was skating to where the puck would be, not where it has been. Great organizations are similar: they anticipate their customers' needs and then meet those needs before— and better —than anyone else. Read more...

PNNL helps Hanford cleanup

PNNL helps Hanford cleanup
Published in the Tri-City Herald, February 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Cleaning up Hanford is no easy task: it is one of the world's largest and most complex environmental remediation projects. The nation's top engineering firms are on the job and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is helping. Read more...

PNNL in Richland detecting nuclear explosions around the world

PNNL in Richland detecting nuclear explosions around the world
Published in the Tri-City Herald, January 2017, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Just reading the headlines makes it clear that these are anxious times. Read more...

PNNL shares the gift of innovation

PNNL shares the gift of innovation
Published in the Tri-City Herald, December 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

It has been said that invention is the process of turning money into ideas and innovation is the process of turning ideas into money. Read more...

Being grateful and going green at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Being grateful and going green at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Published in the Tri-City Herald, November 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on our many blessings, and being a part of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is one for which I am especially grateful. Read more...

PNNL research fuels nuclear energy solutions

PNNL research fuels nuclear energy solutions
Published in the Tri-City Herald, October 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Nuclear power figures prominently in our country's energy portfolio and is essential to our economic and environmental security. Read more...

Making better stuff at PNNL

Making better "stuff" at PNNL
Published in the Tri-City Herald, September 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

There is a science website for kids that defines materials science as "the study of stuff" and, in the simplest of terms, that's right. Read more...

PNNL gives students hands-on experience

PNNL gives students hands-on experience
Published in the Tri-City Herald, August 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Many of us remember writing that dreaded essay about how we spent our summer vacation — often struggling to recall what we did or make it sound interesting. Read more...

PNNL saving energy, money through innovation

PNNL saving energy, money through innovation
Published in the Tri-City Herald, July 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

July in the Tri-Cities usually brings sunny skies, hot weather and high demand for electricity as many of us retreat to air-conditioned homes and offices. Read more...

PNNL a world leader in subsurface science

PNNL a world leader in subsurface science
Published in the Tri-City Herald, June 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

The earth is a complex system and its study is the focus of research at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Read more...

PNNL research is enhancing cybersecurity

PNNL research is enhancing cybersecurity
Published in the Tri-City Herald, May 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Cybersecurity is increasingly top-of-mind and in the news. Individuals worry about identify theft and the compromise of financial and medical records. Companies struggle to stay one step ahead of criminal hackers looking for customer data and corporate secrets. And the federal government battles myriad threats aimed at our national security and critical infrastructure. Read more...

PNNL researchers drive innovation to lead the way to a better world

PNNL researchers drive innovation to lead the way to a better world
Published in the Tri-City Herald, April 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Steve Jobs said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." That is especially true in research and development. New technologies and creative solutions do not materialize overnight or on their own. Read more...

Meeting America's Pressing Needs -- One Reaction at a Time

Meeting America's Pressing Needs — One Reaction at a Time
DOE's BLOG, March 28, 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

In the Middle Ages, alchemists worked diligently to transform base metals, such as lead, into gold or other precious metals. While these ambitions were without success, medieval alchemy set the stage for modern chemistry. Read more...

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Discovery in action

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Discovery in action
Published in the Tri-City Herald, March 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Discovery in action. These words describe what we do at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. For more than 50 years, we have advanced the frontiers of science and engineering in the service of our nation and the world. We make fundamental scientific discoveries that illuminate the mysteries of our planet and the universe. We apply our scientific expertise to tackle some of the most challenging problems in energy, the environment and national security. Read more...

Science and solutions for environmental remediation at PNNL

Science and solutions for environmental remediation at PNNL
Published in the Tri-City Herald, March 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

As a Department of Energy national laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory takes pride in advancing scientific frontiers and developing solutions to vexing problems. In particular, we apply our technical expertise to address national needs in security, energy and the environment. Read more...

PNNL puts bacteria and bugs to work

PNNL puts bacteria and bugs to work
Published in the Tri-City Herald, February 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

As a Department of Energy national laboratory, you would expect Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to perform research in chemistry, physics and engineering in support of our energy, environmental and security missions. Read more...

PNNL making cleaner and more efficient vehicles

PNNL making cleaner and more efficient vehicles
Published in the Tri-City Herald, January 2016, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

As Tri-Citians, we're fortunate that we don't have the frustrating traffic and long commutes that our friends in Seattle and Portland endure. And with lower prices at the pump, we don't think much about fuel efficiency. Read more...

PNNL helps advance science behind climate change:

PNNL helps advance science behind climate change:
Published in the Tri-City Herald, December 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Climate change is a global issue. And in the past few weeks, it received global attention as leaders from more than 190 countries met in Paris to discuss how to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change — known as COP21 — recently ended with pledges to reduce emissions and accelerate deployment of clean energy alternatives. Read more here: Read more...

PNNL trying to keep the world safe from nuclear weapons:

PNNL trying to keep the world safe from nuclear weapons:
Published in the Tri-City Herald, September 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Despite the end of the Cold War, the spread of nuclear weapons and the trafficking of nuclear materials remain real national and global security challenges. Addressing these challenges is one of the main missions of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Almost half of our research staff are working on programs to deliver science and technology to protect against these threats. Read more...

Tackling the big data challenge:

Tackling the big data challenge:
Published in the Tri-City Herald, August 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Our digital age is generating data at an unrelenting pace. Some estimates put it at more than one exabyte (1 billion gigabytes) per day, which is enough to fill the hard disks of a million PCs. Read more...

Today's interns are tomorrow's scientists:

Today's interns are tomorrow's scientists:
Published in the Tri-City Herald, July 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

School's out, which means a new group of interns is settling into summer research assignments with mentors at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. Last year, about 1,200 students and teachers immersed themselves in laboratory research experiences through programs offered to high school, undergraduate and graduate students, as well hands-on opportunities for post-doctoral fellows and educators. Read more...

PNNLís role in environmentally-sustainable hydro power:

PNNL's role in environmentally-sustainable hydro power:
Published in the Tri-City Herald, June 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

The Northwest and the nation depend on hydroelectricity as a clean source of power. While it accounts for only about seven percent of the nation's overall power production, it represents about half of the renewable energy in the United States. Here in Washington, more than 70 percent of our energy comes from hydroelectric dams. Read more...

US Energy Labs Together Engineer New Grid

"US Energy Labs Together Engineer New Grid"
Published in The Energy Times, May 2015, co-authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

"There's a big energy challenge on our hands and the need for a solution is imminent. The electric grid — which hasn't had major design advances in decades — needs a transformation to meet future needs and opportunities," says Steve and Dan Arvizu, director of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab. Read more...

International Physics Research Community

Tri-Cities Part of International Physics Research Community
Published in the Tri-City Herald, May 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

Physics is central to understanding the world around us and the universe in which we live. It seeks to answer some of humankind's most fundamental questions, such as what comprises the universe and how it began. Read more...

Steven Ashby

Grid Research Just One Highlight for New PNNL Director
Published in the Tri-City Herald, April 2015, authored by Lab Director Steven Ashby

I am both honored and humbled to have been selected to succeed Mike Kluse as director of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. I look forward to building on the foundation of success that Mike built during his eight years as director. Read more...

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