AMES, Iowa — Tuesday marked the 75th Anniversary of the Department of Energy’s Ames Lab, on the campus of Iowa State. In a public ceremony  Ames Lab was given a landmark designation by the American Chemical Society for reaching the milestone and for the work done by the Lab’s predecessor – The Ames Project.

Frank Spedding, and Harley Wilhelm lead a team of researchers to find a way to purify uranium to be used to make a nuclear chain reaction. That discovery on the ISU campus led to the development of atomic bombs, which were used to help bring WWII to a close quicker than might have been.

“With today’s landmark designation we pay tribute to the vision, determination and sheer endurance of the scientists and other staff members who developed techniques to produce huge quantities of ultra-pure uranium for the Manhattan Project,” said Lisa Balbes of the American Chemical Society, “This intensive mission advanced national security and contributed to the development of nuclear power.” 

Employees and retirees from the Ames Lab gathered outside to see the marker which will mark the Ames contribution to nuclear power.

“Frank Spedding and Harley Willhelm pulled a team together and they developed a process process is called the Ames  process to purify uranium“ said Adam Schwartz, Director of the Ames Lab “They were competing against Columbia University, Princeton University and  a number of companies. This team here on the campus in  Central Iowa did it first, did it best, and likely resulted in ending the war sooner than it would have without them.”

Now Ames Lab is working on a number of projects. One is to reduce plastics going into the landfill.  Another involves improving refrigeration technology.

“We are working to revolutionize the way the world does refrigeration and air-conditioning“ said Schwartz.  “Currently we use 100 year old compressed vapor technology, it’s in your car is it in your homes, it’s in refrigerators and air conditioners everywhere, there’s a better way and we’re working on doing that.”

The Ames Lab to commemorate the 75th Anniversary has partnered with the ISU Creamery to come up with a limited edition flavor of ice cream.

The flavor is called, Materials Masterpiece,  and features a peanut butter ice cream base with mini chocolate chips, mini M&MsTM, and OreoTM mix-ins. The flavor was chosen by judges Stephanie Clark, ISU Creamery Director; Sarah Canova, ISU Creamery Business Administrator; and Adam Schwartz, Ames Laboratory Director

Materials Masterpiece special flavor will be available to the public at the ISU Creamery starting Saturday May 21st.