Steve Overbury

Steve Overbury grew up in Albuquerque NM, a child of an Engineer at Sandia Laboratory who endowed him with a deep interest in science.  He double majored in Chemistry and Mathematics at University of New Mexico (BS 1972), and then went on to graduate school in Chemistry at University California Berkeley,  completing a PhD in Physical Chemistry (Surface Chemistry) in 1976.  In 1977 he started his 39 year career at ORNL, eventually ascending to level group leader and Distinguished Research Staff before retiring in 2016.  Initially, hired to work with Sheldon Datz in the area of plasma-wall interactions he developed a program in using ion scattering as a tool to probe surface structure, and gradually evolved increasingly into heterogeneous catalysis.   He enthusiastically enjoyed collaborating with many researchers at ORNL as a DOE grantee in areas ranging from structure-function relations in catalysis by Au, cerium oxide and carbon; metal support interactions in catalysis; surface chemistry of oxygenates; electron-proton reactions at electrochemical interfaces, operando spectroscopy of model catalysts; soft x-ray photoemission of surface chemisorbates and  redox processes in catalysts.  In retirement he enjoys traveling in western US, playing music (specifically guitar), and browsing a wide range of scientific and mathematical topics.

Connor L. Matthews
Allen Ekkebus Board member

2006 – 2013: Outreach Leader, Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD), Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Coordinated outreach activities across NScD (including the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and High Flux Isotope Reactor(HFIR)) science areas including physics, chemistry, materials science, biology; these efforts required hosting workshops, meetings, and conferences, and participation in joint efforts with international colleagues at other neutron scattering facilities. Organized the SNS-HFIR User Group (SHUG) of visiting scientific researchers to these ORNL neutron facilities and promoted communications with both SHUG and its Executive Committee to build a strong and supportive community of scientific users. Identified intellectual products of NScD-supported research and prepared publications lists, and customer satisfaction, and outreach portions of documents required for Department of Energy reports and assessments. Active leadership in the National User Facility Organization (supports academic, government, and industrial researchers of U.S. scientific facilities) enabled identification and adoption of best practices for services to users at SNS and HFIR. Collaborated closely with colleagues at other DOE national laboratories to raise awareness of user facilities and to promote them to the U. S. science community. Author of more than 40 articles describing and promoting ORNL’s neutron scattering activities.
2001 – 2006: Manager of User Services, Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Initiated the User Program and hosted national events to build and develop participation by the broad scientific community in ORNL’s neutron scattering activities. Established interfaces with ORNL security and technology transfer support organizations; led efforts to revise ORNL policies and procedures to reflect the large influx of new users to ORNL.
1989 – 2000: Assistant to the Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. Responsibilities are to provide technical support to the Laboratory Director and President of Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation and to the mission of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including gathering competitive intelligence for ORNL senior managers and formulating and preparing communications describing ORNL activities.
1981 – 1989: Supervisor, Technical Library, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. Supervised up to 18 staff, budget exceeded $1 million for books and journals. Responsible for all information services to 5000 employees of a Department of Energy national laboratory now managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.
1975 – 1981: Librarian and Supervisor, Indianapolis – Marion County Public Library, Indianapolis, IN. Served as reference librarian in Business Library and in Business, Science, and Technology Division. Promoted to Supervisor, Central Services Office, with supervisory responsibility for reference and circulation.
1974 Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. M.A. in Library Science 1972 Ohio University, Athens, OH. M.S., Physics
1970 St. Procopius College, Lisle, IL. B.S., Physics
Other community activities include high school soccer announcer, 1998-2019. Former FORNL president and vice president.

Syd Ball

Syd Ball is still a part-time research engineer at ORNL, retired from full-time in 2011, re-joining in 2012. He came to ORNL straight from Yale (1957) with a B.E.E. and was transformed into a nuclear engineer by attending ORSORT and focusing on R&D of advanced reactors. He worked on HTGRs for ~40 years, including the GT-MHR (gas turbine modular helium reactor) for plutonium disposition. This was a joint venture with Russia to develop means for disposition of their excess weapons-grade plutonium. Good idea! He spent several years on the ORNL nuclear desalination program, and also had many international assignments, mainly via the IAEA, with Japan, China, and South Africa.
He was invited by the IAEA to Vienna in May 2022 to give the opening talk at a molten salt reactor revival meeting. At his ripe old age, he’s one of the relatively few still kicking who was involved in the design, operation, and analysis of the MSRE ~60 years ago. This gave him a chance to beat the drum about how the world is botching efforts to fix our energy problems, and how to do it right!

William Ray Garrett Board Member

Ray is a professional theoretical /experimental physicist with over 40 years of experience in pure and applied physics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and academic institutions. His research activities have encompassed a broad spectrum of field specialties including properties of and interactions between atoms, molecules, nanoparticles, photons, electrons, and electromagnetic fields, and interactions of these entities with laser beams, surfaces and liquids. He is internationally recognized in the fields of nonlinear optics and atomic and molecular physics. He has published more than 136 papers in professional refereed journals in physics, chemistry, and optics. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and was a Research Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee Department of Physics and Astronomy in Knoxville, and a visiting scientist at the FOM Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He holds 3 US patents. In his career Dr. Garrett has always been the one people came to with their questions on problems involving subjects from quantum physics to experimental mysteries to automobiles to washing machines. With his penchant for uncovering cause/effect relationships and for providing clear explanations of technical issues in layman’s terms, he has served as a physical forensics expert in legal proceedings.