Forty-five years ago Los Alamos was home to the Manhattan Project and its boy wonder scientists, a group whose average age was only 29. Since then the lab has aged and so have its scientists, lab officials complain. Director Sig Hecker noted recently in an in-house newsletter that the lab’s staff has reached an average age of 44, and as high as 46 in the applied divisions. The lab’s newest staff members aren’t much younger, Hecker remarked. The average new hire at Los Alamos is 38 years old, with 10 years experience. “We face the danger of missing out on a. generation of recent [college] graduates,” he said. Neatly 10% of the lab’s 7,700 employees are eligible for retirement, and the lab loses 300 scientists and technicians and support staff each year due to attrition.

Materials Research Gets A New Lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is creating...

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