Feature Story | 1-Nov-2021

Energy Secretary explores the nature of matter at Jefferson Lab

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visits Jefferson Lab with distinguished guests to learn more about the lab’s research mission

DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

On Oct. 25, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility welcomed U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and honored guests for a short tour of the lab and briefing on its research mission and plans for the future. The delegation interacted with several members of the lab’s community, including CEBAF operations staff, nuclear physicists, engineers, accelerator research scientists and students.

Congressional Representatives Bobby Scott and Elaine Luria, Newport News Mayor McKinley Price, and a representative from Senator Mark Warner’s office joined Granholm on her visit to the lab.

Jefferson Lab Director Stuart Henderson kicked off the visit with a brief introduction to the lab and its science.

“Our work here has impact on our understanding of the building blocks of matter, on technology that benefits the nation, on educating the next generation, and in our region’s economy,” Henderson said. “It was great to have an opportunity to showcase that impact to the Secretary and members of our delegation.”

A short tour of the lab began with a trip inside its world-leading particle accelerator, the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility. Led by CEBAF’s director of operations, Camille Ginsburg, the delegation descended 25 feet underground. There, they viewed CEBAF’s unique, racetrack-shaped particle accelerator and learned how it produces precisely controlled and energetic electron beams for experiments.

The second stop on the tour featured the lab’s Experimental Hall B. There, Hall B Physicist Latifa Elouadrhiri discussed the physics mission of the lab on a tour of the hall’s CLAS12 detector system. CLAS12 helps enable our core scientific mission to understand how the basic building blocks of protons and neutrons, which form the nucleus of the atom, are held together. Victoria Lagerquist, a graduate student at Old Dominion University, further explained how she will use CLAS12 in an experiment next year.

In the last stop of the whirlwind tour, Secretary Granholm and guests visited the Institute for Superconducting Radiofrequency Science and Technology. They first spoke with Gianluigi Ciovati about his project funded by a DOE Accelerator Stewardship award. He has partnered with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District to test whether particle accelerators can efficiently treat wastewater to remove so-called “forever chemicals.”

On this last stop, SRF Engineering Group Leader Ed Daly showed the group several particle accelerator systems being built by Jefferson Lab’s precision teams. Further, three accelerator science students discussed their research. The students included Reed Beverstock from William & Mary and Jayendrika Tiskumara and Junki Makita from Old Dominion University.

At the conclusion of the tour, Secretary Granholm expressed her appreciation for the research taking place at the lab. She especially mentioned the wastewater treatment research.

“I’m a big believer in technology to solve problems,” she said.

Click here for a highlights video of the visit.


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

DOEs Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.