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American Nuclear Society Honors Zinkle with Seaborg Medal

Steve Zinkle

UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Governor’s Chair for Nuclear Materials Steve Zinkle is an expert in dealing with materials that have to withstand extreme environments like the inside of a nuclear reactor.

His work impacts everything from energy production and advanced manufacturing to potential deep space engines of the future.

Now, he has added another accomplishment to his many accolades, as the American Nuclear Society chose him as its 2022 Seaborg Medal honoree. He was recognized for innovative research enabling an improved understanding of structural material performance limits in reactors, and for developing practical design strategies for new high-performance radiation-resistant materials.

“Earning this recognition is both personally gratifying and also serves as validation for the efforts by my research group and collaborators on advancing the understanding of materials performance under extreme operating conditions, and how we can develop the next generation of advanced materials,” Zinkle said. “I am honored to have been selected.”

The award is named for Glenn Seaborg, winner of the 1951 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Additionally, Seaborg was largely responsible for the discovery of the actinide series of the periodic table, chaired the Atomic Energy Commission, and was an advisor to 10 US presidents.

“Steve’s selection highlights the importance of his work as well as the high level at which he has performed his research,” said Postelle Professor, Chancellor’s Professor, and Head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering Wes Hines. “I’m happy for him on earning this well-deserved recognition.”

In addition to being a member of the National Academy of Engineering—one of the highest honors an engineer in the US can receive—Zinkle has numerous other accolades, including being a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Materials Research Society, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Nuclear Society, ASM International, and the American Ceramic Society.

Other awards include the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) Ernest Orlando Lawrence Memorial Award, the Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award, the ASM International Gold medal, IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Fusion Technology Award, and more than 20 other honors.

He is currently a senior editor of the Journal of Nuclear Materials and is a member of the National Academies Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee and the DoE’s National Nuclear Security Administration Defense Programs Advisory Commission. He recently served six years on the National Academies National Materials and Manufacturing Board.