About the Office of Science

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Science Serving the Nation

Science is about service – about a commitment to expanding human knowledge and driving discovery – and fosters innovation, technology development, and economic progress. This commitment, coupled with unique, world-class capabilities, is what makes the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science an indispensable pillar of America’s leadership in science and technology. We are the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, the steward of 10 of the Nation’s national laboratories, and the lead federal agency supporting fundamental research for energy production and security.

Discovery

The Office of Science supports the Nation’s best minds, using the world’s best facilities, to keep America at the forefront of discovery. From astronomy to zeolites, our researchers are unveiling secrets of the basic building blocks of matter, such as quarks, neutrinos, and the Higgs boson. They peer deep into outer space to understand the dark matter and dark energy that seem to dominate the universe and yet have eluded our attempts to observe them directly. They peer deep into inner space, too, examining and manipulating matter at nanoscale and atomic resolutions.

World-Class Scientific Tools

Cutting-edge technology and scientific tools drive world-shaping discoveries at DOE. The Office of Science accelerates discovery with the world’s largest array of major scientific user facilities that includes particle colliders, powerful X-ray light sources, and delicate sensors and optics. Some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world reside in DOE user facilities – the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is currently the world leader – and enable technological innovation while speeding insights into everything from the properties of plasma in fusion reactors, to complex weather and climate patterns, to the geophysics of earthquakes. 

Innovation

Discovery science provides an enduring foundation for technological innovation and economic progress. More than 40 Fortune 500 companies and dozens of small businesses use our facilities each year, leveraging these unique tools and capabilities to enable advances in areas ranging from drug discovery to the design of vehicles, aircraft, and jet engines. Our intensely bright X-ray light sources proved crucial for the development of a drug against malignant melanoma, and have revealed insights into Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis, Zika, and the common cold. Office of Science researchers are using the power of our fastest supercomputers to learn more about the health of veterans. 

Office of Science-supported research has unlocked the genetic key to understanding mercury contamination in the food chain, invented novel 3D-printed microbatteries that presage a future of even greater device miniaturization, and created new materials for industrial use that include super-tough glasses and super-strong steels. They have coaxed microbes to create biofuels, and used nano techniques to invent a new kind of reusable sponge that can absorb 90 times its weight in oil during oil spills. Accelerator science and technology have yielded tools that improved airport security, redefined cancer therapy, and brought safe water to millions. Today, we’re focused on the future of computing, pushing computing speeds to exascale and re-imaging a vast new vista of computing based on quantum physics. 

The best scientific minds, using the best tools and technologies, at the best facilities in the world – this is the Office of Science at work, Science Serving the Nation.