January 14, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Makes First Visit to Fermilab

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently made his first visit to Fermilab since taking the position last year.

The former governor and two-time presidential hopeful recently toured Fermilab and spoke to a packed auditorium of scientists who work at the national laboratory – a laboratory Perry called a jewel of the United States.

Perry said when he interviewed with President Trump for the position, Trump said he wanted Perry to “do for American energy what he did for Texas.”

“And that translation for me was, ‘I want you to go into that agency, and I want you to identify the places where you can commercialize,’” Perry said.

Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer said Perry brings a different perspective to the position.

“He doesn’t think we should just be doing science for the sake of science, which is the way Fermilab thinks about it,” Lockyer said. “We think about we’re doing science, but he thinks about how that can be used to impact people’s lives.”

Democratic congressman and former Fermilab scientist Bill Foster accompanied Perry on the tour.

“He is a quick study, and I am really impressed at how he has seen his mission to lead and to advocate for the Department of Energy and the Office of Science, and I think he will likely be as effective as anyone could be in that job,” Foster said.

Perry said he will work to be an advocate for the national labs because the basic research done there leads to breakthroughs effecting people’s lives, such as proton therapy for cancer, which was discovered at Fermilab.

“That’s why it’s so important that these laboratories are funded properly, that we share those stories on a regular basis, this important work that we do, the next big things,” Perry said.

Perry’s visit to the area also included a stop at Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.

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