Brown's National Labs Day Highlights Research Links, Welcomes Partnerships

The daylong conference brought together scientists, engineers and technical experts from Brown and the Department of Energy's National Laboratories to strengthen existing partnerships and enable new collaborations.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] - Brown University's inaugural National Labs Day brought research collaborations to the forefront for University scientists and the Department of Energy's National Laboratories.

Hosted by Brown's Office of the Vice President for Research and the School of Engineering, the daylong conference on Friday, April 19, convened scientists, engineers and technical experts from a number of the country's national laboratories and experts on College Hill to highlight, celebrate and advance important research.

"Brown researchers have a lot to offer the nation when it comes to basic and applied research, including areas where national labs are eager to engage with the academic community," said Jill Pipher, Brown's vice president for research and a professor of mathematics.

In all, almost 100 Brown faculty members, students and researchers joined 10 staff scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories for a series of panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities on topics where expertise at Brown intersects with the workforce development needs and research efforts of national labs.

"This marks the first time that Brown has dedicated a day to learn firsthand about the national labs scientific priorities and to hear about their workforce development needs," Pipher said. "The meeting highlighted current partnerships between Brown and the national labs and provided an excellent opportunity for our research community to learn more about potential partnerships with national labs by better understanding their needs and priorities."

At Brown, current and past collaborations with researchers from national labs have included work that has led to breakthroughs in next-generation solar cells, longer lasting batteries and fuel-cell technology, enzyme structures that could spur new medical therapies, high-performance fabrics and insights into brain trauma - as well as research that has helped advance the understanding of fundamental aspects of how the universe works, like projects on detecting dark matter and research that details the complexity of entangled quantum states.

Panels, moderated discussions and poster sessions during the event touched on a number of these topics, including quantum materials, energy research, computational modeling and the study of materials under extreme conditions. Many presenters from the lab discussed the world-class scientific facilities, capabilities, and resources at their respective labs.

At the opening panel on quantum materials, for instance, Mark Lumsden from Oak Ridge Lab and Mark Dean from Brookhaven Lab spoke about their work, career paths, research collaborations and instruments available at the labs to university researchers likes accelerators, lasers and X-rays.

"There's an enormous amount of equipment that's available to you," Dean said during the panel.

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