Officials at the country's national labs were terrified a few years back: Their best minds were being lost to higher-paying, private sector jobs, or to retirement. The departures not only jeopardized future research. They "threatened the nation with inadvertent, unilateral nuclear disarmament," according to Aviation Week.But now, thankfully, that trend seems to be reversing, the magazine says.
All three primary nuclear labs--Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia--have been able to recruit and retain high-quality scientists, engineers and technicians during the last few years, and have rehired some of those who left for big paychecks and stock options during the dot-com boom. That reversal is revitalizing one of the nation's largest pools of scientific expertise at a time when high-tech, multidisciplinary teams are being focused on countering terrorism.Although Los Alamos National Laboratory has seen significant losses to retirements, it realized a net gain of 333 employees since Oct. 1, 2002. Further, the lab has done considerable "strategic hiring" to ensure its technical needs are met over the long term.