Join us as we discover the legends of DuPage in our new series- Legendary DuPage! Delve into the history of some of our well-known estates, tastes, sciences and purveyors.
Served by Brookfield Zoo, Morton Arboretum and two National Laboratories, DuPage is on the forefront of scientific discovery and conservation research. Not only do the works produced by these impressive establishments have global applications, their local community and education programs benefit DuPage County.
Argonne National Laboratory was born from a famous University of Chicago scientific moment. While conducting research for the Manhattan Project during World War II, Enrico Fermi and his team solidified their place in history when they engineered the first nuclear chain reaction. While this discovery was a key component in developing the atomic bomb, it also led to more peaceful applications of atomic energy.
Argonne’s Battery Program
Now, more than seven decades later, energy is still the name of the game at Argonne National Laboratory, with applications found in everyday life. Research is primarily funded by the Department of Energy and managed by the University of Chicago.
Argonne’s battery program has the scientific community all charged up. “It’s been one of our biggest successes at the laboratory,” boasts Cindy Wilkinson, deputy director of communications and public affairs. In fact, many consider Argonne’s battery program the best in the world, with years of research resulting in innovative products like the battery found in electric cars. “With fundamental research, it can take 20, even 30 years before something comes to fruition,” explains Wilkinson, “but it’s that basic research that is the impetus for anything that comes after.” With electric cars becoming more popular every year, and predictions that electric airplanes are only a few decades away, the “basic research” being done at Argonne will surely impact generations.
Advance Photon Source
The lab’s work extends far beyond cars and planes. In fact, its most popular resident is its Advance Photon Source (APS), the world’s brightest X-ray beam. APS receives more than 6,000 international scientific visitors annually and has shed light on virtually every industry.
Community Outreach & Education
While it may be a government institution that operates behind security gates, Argonne is a proud member of the DuPage community and has held community roundtable meetings for elected county officials and leaders for over 20 years. Their outreach and education programs range from traditional field trips and scheduled facility tours to newer initiatives like “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” and “Out Loud,” a highly popular lecture series.
We’re excited to continue showcasing DuPage County legends! Be sure to check out the rest of our Legendary DuPage blog series.