Argonne was the US's first national laboratory, created in 1946 by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy. Construction of its current home began in 1947 in Argonne, IL (a southern suburb of Chicago, IL) Initial focus was on development of a nuclear submarine power plant (initially called Chicago Pile 4 later becoming EBR-I)

Still is being run for the DoE by the University of Chicago with research in many fields including biology, nuclear waste management, complex adaptive systems, and high energy physics. The main location is located in Argonne, IL, a short trip south of Chicago, IL.

Argonne has many interesting things, for instance its white deer, and the Advanced Photon Source. I personally haven't seen one of the white deer in person, but I hear they're pretty cool. I have been in the APS though (sadly not near the APS itself, just in the building) and it is an impressive structure to say the least.

Now I'd like to point out that Argonne is not just some little building. Argonne has over 4,000 people working there, an annual budget of over $475 million, is on 1,500 acres of land (yes, 1,500 all forested and so forth), has a hotel, a bar (only open Tuesdays at the moment), other apartment style housing, and a pool.

Here's a blurb off of ANL's site (

Argonne is a direct descendant of the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory, part of the World War Two Manhattan Project. 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 -- some of which are highlighted in this virtual tour. Argonne is not and never has been a weapons laboratory.

Finally, Argonne's most recent (2003) Nobel Laureate is Alexei A. Abrikosov, who performed work on superfluids