Argonne National Laboratory Employer Profile

Argonne is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest research centers. It is also the nation’s first national laboratory, chartered in 1946.

Argonne is a direct descendant of the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory, part of the World War Two Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb before the Nazis did. It was at the Met Lab where, on Dec. 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and his band of about 50 colleagues created the world’s first controlled nuclear chain reaction in a squash court at the University of Chicago. After the war, Argonne was given the mission of developing nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes. Over the years, Argonne’s research expanded to include many other areas of science, engineering and technology.

Today, the laboratory has more than 4,000 employees, including about 1,400 scientists and engineers, of whom about 700 hold doctorate degrees. Argonne’s annual operating budget of more than $475 million supports upwards of 200 research projects, ranging from studies of the atomic nucleus to global climate change research. Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies and numerous federal agencies and other organizations.

Argonne occupies two sites. The Illinois site is surrounded by forest preserve about 25 miles southwest of Chicago’s Loop. About 3,200 of Argonne’s 4,000 employees work on the site’s 1,500 wooded acres. The site also houses the U.S. Department of Energy’s Chicago Operations Office.

Argonne-West occupies about 900 acres about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls in the Snake River Valley. It is the home of most of Argonne’s major nuclear reactor research facilities. About 800 of Argonne’s employees work there.

Argonne research falls into four broad categories:

  • Basic science seeks solutions to a wide variety of scientific challenges. This includes experimental and theoretical work in materials science, physics, chemistry, biology, high-energy physics, and mathematics and computer science, including high-performance computing. Argonne’s exciting, cutting-edge research brings value to society today by helping lay the foundation for tomorrow’s technological breakthroughs.
  • Scientific facilities like Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source help advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. The laboratory designs, builds and operates sophisticated research facilities that would be too expensive for a single company or university to build and operate. They are used by scientists from Argonne, industry, academia and other national laboratories, and often by scientists from other nations. The laboratory is also home to the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source, the Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System and other facilities.
  • Energy resources programs help insure a reliable supply of efficient and clean energy for the future. Argonne scientists and engineers are developing advanced batteries and fuel cells, as well as advanced electric power generation and storage systems. They are also working to improve the safety and longevity of both American and Soviet-designed nuclear reactors.
  • Environmental management includes work on managing and solving the nation’s environmental problems and promoting environmental stewardship. Research in this area includes alternative energy systems; environmental risk and economic impact assessments; hazardous waste site analysis and remediation planning; electrometallurgical treatment to prepare spent nuclear fuel for disposal; and new technologies for decontaminating and decommissioning aging nuclear reactors.

Industrial technology development is an important activity in moving benefits of Argonne’s publicly funded research to industry to help strengthen the nation’s technology base.

Argonne’s Division of Educational Programs provides a wide range of educational opportunities for faculty and students ranging from leading national universities to local junior high schools. More people attend educational programs at Argonne than at any other DOE national laboratory.

Argonne is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy.

For more information about Argonne and our career opportunities, please visit our web site at: and click on “Job Openings”.

Argonne is an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity in our workforce.