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Argonne National Laboratory: An Illinois-based world leader

argonne-groupLast week, several members of the Senate’s Environment and Conservation Committee visited Argonne National Laboratory, one of the world’s top scientific research facilities.

Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, it is the United States’ oldest national laboratory and the largest in the Midwest. At Argonne, dream teams of scientists from across the globe gather to research scientific discoveries and create innovative new technologies that shape our understanding of the universe and have a major impact on our daily lives.

Throughout its storied history, Argonne has been the site of firsts: the first nuclear reactor, the first ultrasound, the identification of the elements einsteinium and fermium, and the observation of the first neutrino, among many others.

In more recent years, the facility has helped develop groundbreaking medications to treat kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, and skin cancer. It has also made major contributions to the fields of renewable energy and transportation, including discoveries that led to the development of the first solar shingles, safer nuclear reactors, better aircraft engines and wind turbines, lower-emission automobiles, and stronger race car engines.

The members of the Environment and Conservation Committee, including Chair Dave Koehler and Senators Melinda Bush, Linda Holmes, Julie Morrison and GOP Senator Sam McCann, traveled to Argonne to learn more about the laboratory, its energy and environmental research and the way it works with private companies to promote research and development.

Argonne works with Illinois’ many top-tier research facilities, including the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. This partnership, along with investments from private industry and the federal government, has helped make Illinois a technology hub and promoted its status as a great place to start up and grow high-tech businesses.

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