Science at Our Core
Science at Our Core
Basic science is the centerpiece of what we do at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Research that helps us understand systems and processes provides the foundation of our work in sustainable energy and national security, opening new lines of inquiry to address the nation’s most significant challenges. Our distinctive strengths in biology, chemistry, Earth sciences, data science, and materials science are central to the discovery mission we embrace.
To address the nation’s growing need for clean energy, we discover new chemical transformations that are fast and selective and new chemistries and materials for advanced energy storage. We seek ways to understand, predict, and even control how a biological system responds to changes to its genetic code or surrounding environment. We explore the impact of the vast whirl of aerosol-laden clouds on our climate and advance the frontiers of scientific research and national security by applying artificial reasoning to scientific problems. Understanding the fundamental science behind chemical and biological systems leads us to work on solving the greatest challenges of our future.
Simply put, we do the difficult, demanding, and exhilarating fundamental research to make the world safer and more secure and our global footprint clean and conscientious. This research spurs further innovation that makes its way into our lives in the form of a reliable electricity supply, for instance, or secure gatherings free from threat.
We draw upon some of the world’s most sophisticated scientific resources, including two Department of Energy user facilities that we manage, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory and the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facility—EMSL and ARM. The Energy Sciences Center, opening in fall 2021, will accelerate scientific discovery in chemistry, materials science, and computing. But our most important asset is our people—experts across the range of scientific disciplines who collaborate with colleagues worldwide, teaming together to take on the biggest scientific challenges of our time.
By the Numbers: Fundamental-Science-Related Research, Fiscal Year 2020
Scientists, engineers, and professional staff
Highly cited researchers
PNNL and Battelle Fellows
Peer-reviewed journal articles
Energy Frontier Research Centers located at PNNL on behalf of the Department of Energy
User facilities managed by PNNL on behalf of the Department of Energy