The History of the Lab-to-Lab
"We will continue to evolve to a better situation between the US and Russia"
Molly Cernicek knows first-hand that change is never linear and smooth. When Russia just started the post-Cold War transition in its defense industrial sector, Molly was among those who explored ways to turn its challenges into commercial opportunities. Looking back a quarter of century later, Molly offers her view of the pains and gains of technology commercialization in Russia.
Even more meaningful than the lessons of this effort was "building new relationships and opportunities that were so much more personal and full of potential than could have ever been imagined during the Cold War". Read the full account of Molly Cernicek's personal part in the Russian transition and the hope she holds for the future.
The story begins in February 1992, barely two months after the breakup of the Soviet Union, when the Russian nuclear weapons laboratory directors visited Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Two weeks later, LLNL Director John Nuckolls and LANL Director Siegfried Hecker visited the Russian analogues to American labs, Russian Federal Nuclear Center- VNIIEF and Russian Federal Nuclear Center-VNIITF, in the formerly secret cities of Sarov and Snezhinsk.
In September next year, LANL and VNIIEF scientists conducted the first joint experiment using an explosive magnetic generator designed in Sarov. Dozens and hundreds joint endeavors followed suite.
More about lab-to-lab in a 15-min video (courtesy of CISAC)
With hundreds of nuclear weapons professionals participating on each side, the US-Russian lab-to-lab interactions made impact not only on the issues tackled but also on the minds and hearts of the people involved. This side of the lab-to-lab record goes all the way from poignant, perceptive reflections captured in the poetry by Brodie Anderson, Walt Atchison and Bob Thomsen to wryly funny ballads depicting the hardships of the unpredictable Russian logistics by Patricia Newman to humorous observations about surpising discoveries of the American everyday life by Georgii Skripka and Andrey Sviridov to the testimony of the value of open-minded authentic interactions in the stories of Paul White.