Ames National Laboratory director Adam Schwartz to step down

March 8, 2023

The United States’ Department of Energy’s Ames National Laboratory has announced that Adam Schwartz is stepping down as Director. Schwartz, who took leadership in 2014, will continue in his role until a successor is decided, whereupon he will transition into a part-time role supporting business development for critical materials research with the lab and its partners. The Provost’s office will conduct a national search for the next Director.

“Adam Schwartz has been an exemplary director, enriching the unique relationship between Iowa State University, the US Department of Energy, and the Ames National Laboratory, and their missions to advance scientific discovery and innovation,” stated Wendy Wintersteen, president, Iowa State. “His thoughtful leadership has positioned the laboratory well to continue serving the nation through the development of new materials and energy solutions.”

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During Schwartz’s tenure as Director, the laboratory:

  • Opened the Sensitive Instrument Facility, which houses next-generation microscopy instruments; the space has enabled advances in the study of structure and chemistry at the atomic scale by isolating instruments from thermal, vibration, and electromagnetic interference
  • Launched a consortium called Caloricool,, directed by the late Vitalij Pecharsky, to develop alternatives to traditional gas compression refrigeration; this work now continues under funding from the DOE Building Technologies Office
  • Was awarded the laboratory $10.9 million by the DOE to establish an Energy Frontier Research Center, the Center for Advancement of Topological Semimetals (CATS), a multi-institutional research effort to discover and understand magnetic topological materials
  • Was granted $12.8 million in funding for its second Energy Frontier Research Center, the Institute for the Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics (iCOUP), a collaboration of two national laboratories and five universities to develop more efficient ways to recycle waste plastics
  • Dedicated its newest construction project, the Solid-State NMR Laboratory, to house its state-of-the-art Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) capabilities
  • Was named an American Chemical Society National Historic Chemical Landmark, in honour of its uranium purification process, which contributed to the success of the Manhattan Project during WWII
  • Continued its leadership of the Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Innovation Hub supported by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, which works to decarbonise industry and increase the competitiveness of the US. manufacturing and clean energy sectors. The CMI has produced more than one hundred and fifty invention disclosures, licensed ten technologies, received twenty-six patents, and won six R&D 100 Awards.

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