Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Bill Cabage (cabagewh@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Vinod Sikka honored as ORNL's top scientist for 2007

Directors Award winners at ORNL's 2007 Awards Night were (from left) Vinod Sikka, Poplar Genome team leader Gerald Tuskan, Jeff Christian and Ron Crone.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 16, 2007 — Vinod Sikka, one of ORNL's most prolific and internationally recognized inventors, has received the UT-Battelle Director's Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Sikka was also honored with ORNL's Inventor of the Year Award.

Sikka, whose research has resulted in 41 patents and commercial products with sales in the billions of dollars, received the award from ORNL Director Thom Mason at this year's Awards Night ceremony Friday night at the Knoxville Convention Center.

"It would be difficult to find anyone to match Vinod Sikka's impact on materials-related industry," said ORNL Director Thom Mason. "His work with nickel aluminides, infrared-based process heating and computationally designed stainless steels and cast irons is unmatched in the research community."

Also honored with a Director's Award for Outstanding Team Accomplishment was the ORNL team that participated in the international effort to sequence the poplar tree genome, which is regarded as a key step toward advancing biomass as an alternative energy source.

Sikka's achievements in materials properties and processes, particularly concerning intermetallic alloys, has earned him recognition as one of the world's leading scientists in the field. His honors include 10 R&D 100 awards (the most by any ORNL researcher), several Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society's "Application to Practice" award.

His technologies, such as the Exo-Melt process for intermetallics that brought him Department of Energy special recognition in 1996, have produced materials and processes that save industries millions of dollars through reduced energy and maintenance costs. His technologies also account for reduced process emissions. More than 60 percent of his inventions are being practiced commercially.

The Materials Science and Technology Division senior researcher is a UT- Battelle Corporate Fellow, and a member of the Distinguished Inventors of Battelle and a fellow of the ASM International professional society.

The poplar tree genome sequencing team, a five-year international effort that included ORNL and DOE's Joint Genome Institute, was led by ORNL researcher Gerald Tuskan of the laboratory's Environmental Sciences Division. Tuskan is credited by his colleagues with combining enthusiasm, organizational skills and scientific prowess to achieve a complex scientific goal.

Members of Tuskan's ORNL poplar genome team included Stan D. Wullschleger, Udaya Kaluri, Lee Gunter, Frank W. Larimer, Philip F. LoCascio, Tonming Yin, Gwo-Liang Chen and Ed Uberbacher.

The Director's Award for Laboratory Operations went to the Research Reactor Division's Ronald Crone for his leadership in support of efforts toward the successful restart of the High Flux Isotope Reactor following its refurbishment and upgrade.

The Engineering Science and Technology Division's Jeffrey Christian received the Director's Award for Community Service for his effective communication of building technologies research and development--most notably Near-Zero Energy housing--to the public.

More than 90 ORNL staff members were honored at this year's Awards Night for their contributions to science and technology, laboratory operations and community service.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.

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