Enrico Fermi and Walter Zinn

Enrico Fermi (left) and Walter H. Zinn were part of the Manhattan Project—the precursor of Argonne. Zinn, a nuclear physicist, took the helm as Argonne’s first director when the lab was officially chartered in 1946. (Photography by David Joel, UChicago Photographic Archive, apf1-09714, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library)

Argonne at 75

The history-making national lab, by the numbers.


Days between Argonne’s “birth” with the world’s first controlled, self-sustained nuclear reaction and its formal charter on July 1, 1946


200-watt lightbulbs lit in 1951 by Argonne’s EBR-1, the first reactor to generate usable amounts of electricity with nuclear energy


Highest number handled by AVIDAC, Argonne’s first digital computer, built in 1953


Number of calculations the lab’s newest computer, Aurora, set to arrive in 2022, can perform per second


Researchers at Argonne today

99, 100

Atomic numbers of einsteinium and fermium, elements discovered by Argonne chemists


Women who won the Nobel Prize in Physics before Argonne researcher Maria Goeppert Mayer did