East Tennessee has been at the heart of neutron sciences from the earliest days of the Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)—the first ever continuously operating reactor. This legacy extends to the present where two of the world’s foremost neutron sources, namely the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), are operated on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE) by UT-Battelle at ORNL. At the heart of this pioneering tradition are innovation and scientific excellence, neutron applications for important problems, and mentoring and training of future science leaders. To further advance these values, in 1998 ORNL and the University of Tennessee (UT) established the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences with a mandate to promote neutron research by providing workspace and programmatic support for scientists conducting research at the SNS and HFIR.
Since that time, the SNS has transformed from a project with 3 initial instruments to an emerging world leader program with 19 state of the art neutron scattering and fundamental physics instruments. Meanwhile, the new cold source at HFIR has brought world leading capabilities in long wavelength neutrons to ORNL. With these developments and plans for a ground-breaking Second Target Station, new demands were being made on JINS to provide a platform for incubating future science, engaging new communities and industry, and providing neutron science training and education. To align with this wider vision, and to recognize the achievements of two of the founders of neutron science, JINS has been reconstituted as the Shull Wollan Center: a Joint Institute for Neutron Science.