Fifteen years ago was the genesis of DOE R&D Accomplishments. It was established with the purpose of featuring U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and predecessor agency past research accomplishments whose benefits are being realized now. As the individual responsible for the growth and development of this Web product, the journey has been challenging, fun, exciting, and thought-provoking -- but never boring.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has historically played a leading role in supporting human genome research. March 2014 is the anniversary of the 1986 Santa Fe Workshop, which brought together participants from government, academia, and the private sector to explore the possibility of sequencing the human genome. This workshop was sponsored by DOE and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The Human Genome Project (HGP) was formalized in mid-February 1990.
In honor of the anniversary of the Santa Fe Workshop, DOE R&D Accomplishments has published a new feature page, Human Genome Research: DOE Origins. This page describes the key role played by Charles DeLisi, then Associate Director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER) in conceiving the idea for a program to sequence the human genome. The Santa Fe Workshop met DeLisi’s goal of laying out an approach to sequence the human genome.
Once again, dedicated representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters program offices, field offices, national laboratories and technology centers are convening along with OSTI staff for the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) Annual Working Meeting. This year the STIP Annual Working Meeting will be held March 31-April 4 in Richland, Washington. The meeting will be hosted by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
Recently, I attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. on the topic of innovation – how it comes about, what factors can impede it, where the U.S. might be headed as a lead innovator in the 21st Century, and what cultural and ethical issues need to be considered in a complete understanding of innovation.
As a science and technology agency, the Department of Energy (DOE) cares a great deal about questions surrounding innovation. As an information management agency within DOE, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) works to accelerate innovation through the sharing of knowledge. We also love to point out where DOE has done just that.
It is rare when someone comes along whose ideas change science. Nobel Laureate Kenneth Geddes Wilson (1936 –2013) forever changed how we think about physics. Wilson left a legacy of his prize-winning problem solving in theoretical physics, the use of computer simulations and the modeling of physical phenomena, the establishment of supercomputer centers for scientific research, and physics education and science education reform.
Wilson was gifted mathematically at an early age. His grandfather taught him how to do mathematical computations in his mind. When he was 8 years old, he would calculate cube roots in his head while waiting for the school bus. This brilliant and shy young boy went through grade school and high school at an accelerated pace to enroll in Harvard when he was only 16 years old. He obtained his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology, did postdoc studies at Harvard as a junior fellow that included a year at CERN, joined the faculty of Cornell University and later Ohio State University’s Departments of Physics. At the age of 46, he became one of the youngest winners of a Noble Prize when he received the 1982 Noble Prize in Physics based on his pioneering work developing a theoretical framework on the nature of phase transitions, such as the moment when metal melts at a certain temperature or when liquid transforms to a gaseous state.