Ernest Wollan and Clifford Shull
Ernest Wollan and Clifford Shull developed
the science of neutron diffraction at ORNL
and provided inspiration for the future
of this powerful research technique.

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 with two of the world’s foremost neutron sources, the  High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), operated on behalf of the US Department of Energy 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 established the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences (JINS) with a mandate to promote neutron research by providing workspace and programmatic support for scientists conducting research at SNS and HFIR.

Since that time, 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 was renamed the Shull Wollan Center: a Joint Institute for Neutron Science in 2016.