Newest LOVEwork Unveiled in Newport News

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Members of the team who created the LOVEwork and also signed the installation include: Kevin Jordan, Joe Gubeli, Aaron Austin, Jared Martin, Thomas DeSalvo, Troy Pollard, Matt Morgan, John Fischer, Damon Combs, Jerry Moore, Vince Pope, Erich Schneider, Jenord Alston and Chinmay Andhare. Jefferson Lab photos/Aileen Devlin

Visitors encouraged to take pictures and share on social media with #LOVEVA

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility unveiled a life-sized LOVE artwork, now on display at Jefferson Lab.

Created as part of a state and local partnership to promote travel and tourism, the artwork is an extension of the "Virginia is for Lovers" brand, one of the most beloved and iconic slogans in the world.

The Jefferson Lab LOVEwork is one of more than 300 giant LOVE letters, called LOVEworks, in towns and cities across the commonwealth. They serve as a backdrop for visitor photos from their vacations, engagement announcements, family gatherings and more.

"Virginia is for Lovers is about doing the things you love to do on vacation with the people you love most," said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "The new LOVEwork at Jefferson Lab captures that idea perfectly, and gives you an authentic sense of place as it showcases the science, STEM education and national lab partnerships that make Jefferson Lab unique. We are excited that Jefferson Lab will help us share the LOVE with travelers, helping them to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”

While the LOVEworks are a branding initiative designed to promote Virginia’s unique destinations and engage travelers with the mission of Virginia is for Lovers, they also encourage visitors to support local artists and communities, honoring the message of love in Virginia. Each LOVE installation is a reflection of the community in which it stands, and the Jefferson Lab LOVEwork is no exception.

This is the lab’s first public art and STEAM education installation, and it was first unveiled on June 6 in preparation for Jefferson Lab’s 2024 Open House event. It is also the first and currently only LOVEwork in the commonwealth that embodies the new Virginia is for Science Lovers(R) theme. The Jefferson Lab LOVEwork is also a testament to the lab’s commitment to partnering with other national labs, reducing its environmental impact by reusing scientific apparatus, and educating future scientists in the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) disciplines.

“This LOVEwork is actually made out of recycled parts from a particle accelerator. The pieces came to us from Argonne National Lab’s Advanced Photon Source. They were removed as part of an upgrade. We're making use of some of the parts for the Electron-Ion Collider, or EIC, a new machine being built up at Brookhaven National Lab in New York that Jefferson Lab is helping with,” said Douglas Higinbotham, a Jefferson Lab senior scientist who has also been involved with the project to design and build the EIC. “The pieces that you see here as part of the sculpture are vacuum chambers, which is a fancy word for pipes that make up the part of the particle accelerator that the particles travel through. These weren’t the right design to be reused for the EIC and would have become scrap metal if not for this art.”

The artwork also features a unique educational component.

“Through QR code integration, the sculpture engages audiences in exploring the intersection of art and science while promoting science education and public outreach, core tenets of the lab’s mission to help educate and inspire the next generation of scientists,” said Lauren Hansen, Jefferson Lab’s chief communications officer.

Lisa Surles-Law, Jefferson Lab’s science education manager, agreed.

“This sculpture is extra special for us. Many do hear the word STEAM, which is for science, technology and engineering, but there's also the ‘A’ in STEAM, and that goes for art. Many students are brought to the sciences through their love for art, so what a joy for us to be able to have an art sculpture here at Jefferson Lab for them to engage with and to see what we use our technology for,” Surles-Law said.

The LOVEwork was designed and crafted by a team of more than a dozen Jefferson Lab staff members led by Kevin Jordan, a Jefferson Lab senior engineer.

“I'm kind of a dumpster diver. So, I saw two new dumpsters, and there were these beautiful vacuum chambers in there. And then Douglas and Lauren came a few days later and asked if I wanted to be on a committee for the LOVEwork sculpture. And I told them no, but I'll deliver one,” he said.

After design and review, the team got to work on transforming the used parts into the lab’s very first public work of art and symbol of STEAM education.

“People really bought into it, and they’re owning it. It’s not my sculpture, it’s our sculpture as a laboratory,” Jordan said.

Jefferson Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory. Scientists worldwide conduct research using the lab’s unique particle accelerator, known as the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). These experiments probe the most basic building blocks of matter - helping us to better understand these particles and the forces that bind them - and ultimately our world. The lab will also soon be home to the High Performance Data Facility (HPDF), in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. HPDF is a $300-500 million computing and data infrastructure resource that will provide transformational capabilities for data analysis, networking and storage for the nation’s research enterprise.

Visitors to the LOVEwork are encouraged to share your photos on social media using #LOVEVA and #DiscoverJLab.

A full list and map of statewide LOVEworks can be found at Jefferson Lab's LOVEwork listing can be found here. Learn more about the LOVEwork in this YouTube video.

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2022, tourism generated $30.3 billion in revenue, supported more than 210,000 jobs and provided $2.2 billion in state and local revenue for the commonwealth.

Note to media: Images of LOVEworks from around the commonwealth can be requested at, the official pressroom of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s 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