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KNOXVILLE — UT-Battelle has announced the selection of Thom Mason as director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Mason’s appointment as laboratory director will become effective July 1. Since 2001 he has served as ORNL associate lab director for the Department of Energy’s Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).

As head of the SNS project, Mason led a consortium of six DOE labs in the design and construction of the $1.4 billion neutron accelerator. Completed on time, on budget and on scope, the SNS will restore American leadership in the field of neutron scattering and materials research.

“We are genuinely excited to have a person of Thom Mason’s talent and experience to lead ORNL,” said University of Tennessee President and UT-Battelle Vice Chair John Petersen and Battelle President and UT-Battelle Chair Carl Kohrt in a joint statement. “As a world-class scientist who has already made a mark in the research community, Thom represents the future of ORNL.”

DOE Undersecretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach said, “Thom Mason has done a superb job bringing the Spallation Neutron Source into being as the leading facility for neutron studies. As head of ORNL’s neutron science program, he leads the finest center for scientific studies in the world. His leadership will now extend to the entire Laboratory, and I am confident that he will continue to follow the same trajectory of excellence as Director. We are both pleased and proud that he has accepted this position.”

In addition to his role with the SNS, Mason was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, an associate of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, a senior scientist at Riso National Laboratory in Denmark, and a postdoctoral fellow with Bell Laboratories.

Mason will take the helm at ORNL at a time of unprecedented partnership with UT. Beyond
UT’s management role, an extensive research partnership is in place between the two institutions. Four major joint research institutes in the areas of computational science, biological science, advanced materials and neutron science are currently under way.

In fact, the Joint Institute for Computational Science on the ORNL campus is the first state-owned building ever constructed on a national laboratory campus.

Now an American citizen, Mason is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He received degrees from Dalhousie University and McMaster University in Canada.

Mason lives with his wife Jennifer and two sons in Oak Ridge. He serves as Chair of the Oak Ridge Public Schools Foundation, which helped raise $55 million to renovate Oak Ridge High School.

Mason succeeds Jeffrey Wadsworth, who served as ORNL Director for the past four years and was named in April to be executive vice president for laboratory operations at Battelle headquarters in Columbus.

ORNL is managed by UT in partnership with Battelle for the DOE Office of Science.


Billy Stair, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 865-574-4160
Jay Mayfield, University of Tennessee, 865-974-9409