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Powering the national labs as engines of discovery

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12:21pm, December 31, 2009
In May 2009, University of Chicago physicist Eric D. Isaacs took the helm of the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. Earlier in his career, Isaacs spent 13 years at Bell Laboratories, where he directed semiconductor and materials physics research. Recently, Science News senior editor Janet Raloff spoke with Isaacs about ways to reinvigorate research, especially on energy.

You’ve described corporate research centers such as Bell Labs as engines of discovery and as potential models for national labs. How so?

Bell Labs conducted pioneering research in support of a mission. Even its basic research and open

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