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Nearly 300 scientists, technicians, managers, family members and invited guests attended this year's INL Honors Reception.

Researchers, inventors, technicians honored for achievements

By Sarah Robertson, INL Communications & Governmental Affairs

Richard Schultz, Individual Lifetime Achievement in Science and Technology

Idaho National Laboratory welcomed its scientists and engineers to an evening of elegance in honor of numerous achievements during 2012. The annual Honors Reception, hosted Feb. 1 at the Colonial Theater in Idaho Falls, is the lab's version of the Oscars. The best and the brightest minds mingled with special guests from the Idaho community and enjoyed hors d'oeuvres as the ceremony got under way.

More than 120 researchers and inventors were honored during the event. These achievements culminated in the celebration of 38 new patents, filing for 26 new patents and submission of 88 new invention disclosures. These efforts produce advances that may be used by U.S. government agencies and licensed for commercialization in various markets.

INL also added one more international R&D 100 Award to its total of 47 since 1986. There have been 15 R&D 100 Awards presented to INL researchers since INL was created in 2005. This year's award went to INL researchers who collaborated with a University of Utah professor and his graduate student to invent Wireless Spectrum Communications. WSComm offers the potential to ensure reliable communication well into the future for the more than 6 billion mobile phones and devices in use.

Laura Carroll, Early Career Exceptional Achievement
Laboratory Director John Grossenbacher recognized several other researchers for receiving national acclaim for their work. Derek Gaston, who won last year's laboratory director award for early career achievement, received the 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers — the highest honor the government bestows on young researchers. Rita Wells was recognized for her appointment by Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to the cyberskills task force. INL researchers Steve Johnson, Kelly Lively, Amy Powell, Eric Clarke and Darrell Wheeler were recognized for receiving the Partnership for Science and Technology's Nuclear Energy Advocate Award for their work on the radioisotope battery that is powering the Mars Rover.

"In 2012, INL's talented people achieved, accomplished, added important new capabilities and moved our institution forward," said Grossenbacher. "Our record of invention and research impresses me more each year. Our researchers at Idaho National Laboratory are working on some of the nation's most daunting challenges in energy, environment, and national and homeland security. They deserve recognition and congratulations for their many impressive achievements."

In addition to recognizing invention, three Laboratory Director's Achievement Awards and a Technician of the Year Award were given to employees who made significant contributions in their research fields in 2012.

Paul Demkowicz, Exceptional Engineering Achievement

Paul Demkowicz for Exceptional Engineering Achievement
Paul Demkowicz has worked at INL for nine years on a number of nuclear materials projects. He was the principal investigator responsible for post-irradiation examination and safety testing of TRISO fuel for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant project.

Laura Carroll for Early Career Exceptional Achievement
Laura Carroll has been at the lab since 2008. She leads work to characterize advanced reactor materials and is principal investigator for the "Fast Reactor Advanced Materials: Advanced Alloy Testing" project under the Small Modular Reactor Advanced Reactor Concepts program. She is the task lead for the "Elevated Temperature Cyclic Behavior Characterization" portion of the Next Generation Nuclear Plant program.

Richard Schultz for Individual Lifetime Achievement in Science and Technology
Richard Schultz has been at INL since 1976. He is the plant technical lead on the Next Generation Nuclear Plant Methods Experimental Verification and Validation and other related projects. He has conducted research around the world and has authored 130 publications, peer-reviewed articles, conference papers, book chapters and reports. He is also a founding member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Presidential Task Force on Response to Japan Nuclear Power Events following the Fukushima event.

Paul Hansen, Technician of the Year
Paul Hansen for Technician of the Year
Paul Hansen is a research and development technician for the Fuel Fabrication and Characterization Department and develops innovative casting processes and techniques for metal fuels. He has worked on casting of Experimental Breeder Reactor-II Uranium-Zirconium driver fuel, complicated multicomponent transuranic fuels and annular fuels for the U.S. Department of Energy's Fuel Cycle Research and Development program and TerraPower, a private company developing an innovative reactor design.

More information
Watch a video of INL's notable achievements in 2012.

(Posted Feb. 25, 2013)

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