March 2000

Distinguished Scientists form council
The UT/ORNL Distinguished Scientists, a collaboration between ORNL and the University of Tennessee that has existed since 1984, last month became an official advisory body for the Lab. Dr. Gerald Mahan, who was the first distinguished scientist and is thus senior member of the current dozen, and Al Trivelpiece signed a charter that establishes the ORNL Distinguished Scientist Council.
ORNL Director Al Trivelpiece (left), the Office of Science and University Relations' Linda Cain and ORNL/UT Distinguished Fellow Gerald Mahan shake on the fellows' charter.
The council, says the charter, will advise ORNL on matters pertaining to the Lab’s scientific well-being, foster interactions with outside academic and industrial institutions and contribute to science education efforts.

Mahan says that through the years the Laboratory has brought the researchers on board and has then recommended them to the university for the distinguished scientist program. He says the council is looking forward to enhancing its role with ORNL.

Members of the council are Mahan, Peter Cummings, Jack Dongarra, Georges Guiochon, Robert Hatcher, David Joy, Joseph Macek, Ward Plummer, Robert Uhrig, Jack Weitsman, David White and Bernard Wunderlich.

Lab honors Vandy’s Hamilton
ORNL and, especially, the Physics Division honored one of its most prolific supporters on February 23 when it named Vanderbilt University’s Joe Hamilton as the first Visiting Distinguished Laboratory Fellow. The Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research (buildings 6007 and 6008) was Hamilton’s idea, and he has brought in millions of dollars of non-DOE funding for physics research at the Laboratory.

“I saw the need for a joint institute when I served on the national policy board for the Holifield facility,” Hamilton said. “I convinced my chancellor at Vanderbilt to put up $100,000. (ORNL’s) Alex Zucker raised another $312,000.”
Hamilton said officials were at first skeptical of the joint institute.

“They said, ‘You don’t think we’re gonna let you build that Hamilton Hilton out there, do you?’”

But Hamilton, whose powers of persuasion must border on the supernatural, helped make the joint institute a reality and played major roles in obtaining funds for the University Ion Separator at Oak Ridge while organizing the UNISOR/UNIRIB consortium of universities and for the Recoil Mass Spectrometer.

Hamilton’s connections to ORNL came early. He was a graduate student alongside the late Russell Robinson of the Physics Division, who led the early drive to convert the Holifield to a radioactive ion beam facility. Hamilton helped garner support for that project as well.

The outstanding success of the Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research, said Physics Division Director Fred Bertrand, made it much easier to obtain state support for the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences at the Spallation Neutron Source.

“Joe has been phenomenal in his support of the Physics Division,” said Bertrand. “He is the epitome of university-lab research. Our division owes much to Joe, and he is extremely deserving of the honor the Laboratory has bestowed on him.”

Gresalfi “goes the distance” for MS
Michael Gresalfi, a strategic planner and business developer for ORNL, has long been a supporter in the battle against multiple sclerosis, including participating in fundraising bike rides in the Washington, D.C. area, where he’s based. Last year he raised $10,000 for MS research.
Michael Gresalfi had this bike custom made so his daughter, Kristen, who has cerebral palsy, can ride with him on this summer's tour.
“Every year I’ve increased my circle of friends and contributors,” says Gresalfi. Lockheed Martin has been an annual supporter of MS events locally.

This year Gresalfi’s sights are set a bit higher. He and friend Nick Irons, an athlete whose feats for MS have included swimming the Mississippi River—longways—are planning a bike ride across the country and back, with a $3 million goal of funds to raise for MS research.

Irons will ride the entire circular 10,000-mile route. Gresalfi’s somewhat more modest plans, along with helping the Irons family organize the tour, are to traverse the state of Montana this July. Both Irons and Gresalfi are motivated by the plight of friends and loved ones who have been stricken with the disease, which attacks the myelin sheathing of the nerves, causing a host of symptoms.

The “Going the Distance” bike tour, which has attracted network television coverage, will feature celebrity relays and participation by policitians and other newsmakers. Find out more at

With six you get superconducting
The five-lab family that makes up the Spallation Neutron Source project is adding a sixth member. Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is joining the effort to lend its expertise and experience in superconducting linear accelerators. The SNS linac will be a combination of conducting and superconducting radio-frequency cavities that accelerate the beam of negative hydrogen ions. Although Los Alamos National Laboratory is responsible for the linac as a whole, Jefferson Lab will be responsible for the superconducting cavities, one of three types of acceleration used in the linac.

SNS’s other lab partners with ORNL are Argonne, Brookhaven and Berkeley.

Reported by Bill Cabage