May 2000

Wigner fellowships mark 25 years of attracting top talent

ORNL is celebrating its 25th year of Wigner fellowships. The Eugene P. Wigner Fellowship program was established in 1975 to honor the Nobel Prize winner and first director of research at ORNL.

The two-year fellowships have attracted exceptional young scientists to ORNL over the years. The program, true to its charter, makes it possible for outstanding scientists and engineers to continue on the developmental path. Better yet, many of these young researchers have stayed at ORNL.

Annett Sullivan and Lars Petersen are two new Wigner fellows who attended the ceremony marking the fellowship program's 25th year.
Past and current Wigner fellows gathered for a ceremony marking the anniversary on April 20. Fellows who will soon depart the program were honored and new fellows were welcomed and congratulated.

Lab Director Bill Madia credited former director Herman Postma with originating the fellowships. “Herman’s vision was to attract the best and brightest talent,” Madia said. “And getting them to stay here was essential.”

Since 1975, 56 fellows, including three new fellows, have joined the ORNL program. Twenty of those still work at ORNL. The three new Wigner fellows, who were noted at a special reception on April 20, are

Current Wigner fellows include Michael Lance and Sean Agnew of the Metals and Ceramics Division, Jian Shen of the Solid State Division and Mark Lumsden at the Spallation Neutron Source. Wigner, who died in 1995, received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1963 and is considered a pioneer in the field of nuclear engineering.—B.C.