Secretary O'Leary Dedicates Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Newport News, VA -- (May 24, 1996) -- Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary today dedicated the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility at Newport News, Virginia, as the world's most advanced nuclear physics research facility. The newly named Department of Energy facility -- formerly the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) -- houses a unique, superconducting accelerator for studying the fundamental structure of matter. New laser technology to advance applied science efforts will be developed through work at Jefferson Lab. The $600 million facility was built on time and within budget.

President Bill Clinton said, "This laboratory keeps the United States as a global leader in nuclear physics. American scientific research and the resulting technical know-how created the foundation for key accomplishments in the 21st century."

Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary; 1995 Physics Nobel Laureate Martin Perl; and D. Allan Bromley, Sterling Professor of the Sciences and Dean of Engineering at Yale University, were among the speakers at the ceremony. Activities at the laboratory also include programs that improve science education at local schools in the Newport News area.

When dedicating the facility, Secretary O'Leary remarked: "We are expecting great accomplishments from this new research institution. Here, scientists will unlock the secrets of the nucleus of the atom. They'll also develop a unique type of laser technology and new medical instrumentation to improve breast tumor detection. The facility represents the Clinton Administration's commitment to science leaders of tomorrow."

Lab Director Hermann Grunder said: "This demonstrates that our government values and supports the vital role this world-class scientific facility plays in expanding fundamental knowledge, stimulating technology development and educating our nation's citizens and future leaders. We commit to return the best value for the investment made by the American taxpayer."

More than 1,000 scientists from around the world use the superconducting accelerator for experiments to better understand the forces and structure inside the nucleus of the atom. Radio frequency waves generate powerful electric fields to accelerate a continuous beam of electrons to nearly the speed of light. The electron beam is delivered to experimental halls for simultaneous research by three teams of physicists.

The facility is managed by the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) for the U.S. Department of Energy. SURA, led by its president Dennis Barnes, is a consortium of 41 universities formed in the early 1980s to design, construct and operate the facility. Congress authorized construction in 1987.

News Media Contacts:
Jeff Sherwood/Chris Kielich (202) 586-5806
Linda Ware (757) 249-7689