From weapons and power to waste and sludge,
      I dream, Yo sueño
What triggers radioactive catastrophe?
      Yo sueño, Je rêve
Waste, tangled mats of rocks and brine.
      Je rêve, Ich träume
Rocks, chaotic clumps of crystals.
      Ich träume, 我梦想
Crystals, perfect stacks of aluminum atoms.
      我梦想, 꿈을 꾼다
Amidst constantly changing caustic, we find flawless beauty.
      꿈을 꾼다, אני חולם
Who unravels such chemical complexity?
      אני חולם, আমি স্বপ্ন দেখি
Can a scientist dream it alone?
      আমি স্বপ্ন দেখি, أنا أحلم
Such knowledge takes us all.
       أنا أحلم, Я мару
From arranged atoms to processed waste,
      Я мару, Jag drömmar
Our stochastic minds coalesce,
      Jag drömmar, IDREAM
To discover the yet unknown,
      We dream.

Inspired by the IDREAM EFRC mission to explore and understand the chemical nature of highly radioactive waste from plutonium production—and the beauty of the chemistry that lies at the bottom of this challenge—our poem contemplates the promise of our multi-national, multi-disciplinary, and multi-institution research team to discover solutions at the various scales that must be addressed in this extreme environment. The image shows the aluminum materials found in the radioactive waste, encircled by the phrase "I dream" in languages inclusive of the native languages spoken by IDREAM team members. The languages, also woven through our poem, are: English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Bengali, Arabic, Belarusian, Swedish, and ending again in a unified voice.

High Resolution Image

About the Image

Graphic created by the Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) Energy Frontier Research Center for the Poetry and Science Art Contest II at the 2023 DOE EFRC-Hub-CMS-CSS Principal Investigators’ Meeting.


Primary Author: Robert G. Felsted
Authors: Carolyn Pearce, Gregory Schenter, Nancy Levinger, Micah Prange, Shawn Riechers, Tingting Liu, Trent R. Graham
Illustrator: Nathan Johnson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, using an electron micrograph image collected by Hanna Hlusko, University of Notre Dame
Contributors: Barbara Beller, Elias Nakouzi, Emily Nienhuis, Hanna Hlushko, Jaehun Chun, Lawrence Anovitz, Roberto Colina Ruiz, Sebastian Mergelsberg, Simantini Paul, Xin Zhang, Zheming Wang, Paul Runci, Melissa Perdue, Jesenia Hernandez
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