Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), commonly referred to as Berkeley Lab, is a United States national laboratory that conducts scientific research on behalf of the
Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a government department in some countries that typically oversees the production of fuel and electricity; in the United States, however, it manages nuclear weapons development and conducts energy-relate ...
. Located in the
hills A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms together make up a given terrain, and their arrangement in the landscape is known as topography. Landform ...
of Berkeley,
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...
, the lab overlooks the
campus of the University of California, Berkeley The campus of the University of California, Berkeley and its surrounding community are home to a number of notable buildings by early 20th-century campus architect John Galen Howard, his peer Bernard Maybeck (best known for the San Francisco Palace ...
.


History


1931–1941

The laboratory was founded on August 26, 1931, by
Ernest Lawrence Ernest Orlando Lawrence (August 8, 1901 – August 27, 1958) was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope sepa ...

Ernest Lawrence
, as the Radiation Laboratory of the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public university, public land-grant university, land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the University of California ...

University of California, Berkeley
, associated with the Physics Department. It centered physics research around his new instrument, the
cyclotron . The magnet is painted yellow. A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it wa ...

cyclotron
, a type of
particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA. Shut down in 2011, until 2007 it was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, accelerating protons to an en ...
for which he was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Physics ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
in 1939. Throughout the 1930s, Lawrence pushed to create larger and larger machines for physics research, courting private
philanthropists Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL), according to Britannica, is the degree to which an individual is healthy, comfortable, and able to participate in or enjoy ...

philanthropists
for funding. He was the first to develop a large team to build big projects to make discoveries in basic research. Eventually these machines grew too large to be held on the university grounds, and in 1940 the lab moved to its current site atop the hill above campus. Part of the team put together during this period includes two other young scientists who went on to direct large laboratories; J. Robert Oppenheimer directed
Los Alamos Laboratory The Los Alamos Laboratory, also known as Project Y, was a secret laboratory established by the Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was a research and development undertaking during World War II World War II or the Second ...
, and Robert Wilson directed
Fermilab Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates ...

Fermilab
.


1942–1950

Leslie Groves Lieutenant General Lieutenant general or lieutenant-general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a Three-star rank, three-star military rank (NATO code OF-9) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of l ...

Leslie Groves
visited Lawrence's Radiation Laboratory in late 1942 as he was organizing the
Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was a research and development undertaking during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved W ...
, meeting J. Robert Oppenheimer for the first time. Oppenheimer was tasked with organizing the
nuclear bomb A nuclear weapon (also called an atom bomb, nuke, atomic bomb, nuclear warhead, A-bomb, or nuclear bomb) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either nuclear fission, fission (fission bomb) or from a ...
development effort and founded today's
Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos or LANL for short) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory initially organized during World War II for the design of nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project. It is a short ...
to help keep the work secret. At the RadLab, Lawrence and his colleagues developed the technique of electromagnetic enrichment of
uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence elect ...

uranium
using their experience with cyclotrons. The
calutron A calutron is a mass spectrometer Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that is used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of ions. The results are typically presented as a mass spectrum, a plot of intensity as a function of the mass ...
s (named after the University) became the basic unit of the massive Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge,
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 36th largest by area and the L ...

Tennessee
. Lawrence's lab helped contribute to what have been judged to be the three most valuable technology developments of the war (the atomic bomb, proximity fuse, and radar). The cyclotron, whose construction was stalled during the war, was finished in November 1946. The Manhattan Project shut down two months later.


1951–2018

After the war, the Radiation Laboratory became one of the first laboratories to be incorporated into the
Atomic Energy Commission Many countries have or have had an Atomic Energy Commission. These include: * National Atomic Energy Commission, Argentina (1950–present) * Australian Atomic Energy Commission (1952–1987) * Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (1973–present) * ...
(AEC) (now Department of Energy, DOE). The most highly classified work remained at Los Alamos, but the RadLab remained involved.
Edward Teller Edward Teller ( hu, Teller Ede; January 15, 1908 – September 9, 2003) was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who is known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb" (see the Teller–Ulam design), although he did ...
suggested setting up a second lab similar to Los Alamos to compete with their designs. This led to the creation of an offshoot of the RadLab (now the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a federal research facility in Livermore, California, United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguo ...
) in 1952. Some of the RadLab's work was transferred to the new lab, but some classified research continued at Berkeley Lab until the 1970s, when it became a laboratory dedicated only to unclassified scientific research. Shortly after the death of Lawrence in August 1958, the UC Radiation Laboratory (both branches) was renamed Lawrence Radiation Laboratory. The Berkeley location became Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1971,University of California Office of the President
(accessed July 15, 2013).
although many continued to call it the RadLab. Gradually, another shortened form came into common usage, LBL. Its formal name was amended to Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1995, when "National" was added to the names of all DOE labs. "Ernest Orlando" was later dropped to shorten the name. Today, the lab is commonly referred to as Berkeley Lab. The Alvarez Physics Memos are a set of informal
working paper A working paper or work paper may be: *A preliminary scientific or technical paper. Often, authors will release working papers to share ideas about a topic or to elicit feedback before submitting to a peer review Peer review is the evaluati ...
s of the large group of physicists, engineers, computer programmers, and technicians led by Luis W. Alvarez from the early 1950s until his death in 1988. Over 1700 memos are available on-line, hosted by the Laboratory. In 2018, the lab remains owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, with management from the
University of California The University of California (UC) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university, research university system in the U.S. state of California. The system is composed of the campuses at University of Californ ...
. Companies such as
Intel Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Santa Clara, California. It is the world's largest semiconductor chip manufacturer by revenue, and is the developer of ...

Intel
were funding the lab's research into computing chips.


Laboratory directors

*(1931–1958):
Ernest Lawrence Ernest Orlando Lawrence (August 8, 1901 – August 27, 1958) was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope sepa ...

Ernest Lawrence
*(1958–1972):
Edwin McMillan Edwin Mattison McMillan (September 18, 1907 – September 7, 1991) was an American physicist and Nobel laureate credited with being the first-ever to produce a transuranium element, neptunium. For this, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with ...
*(1973–1980): Andrew Sessler *(1980–1989): David Shirley *(1989–2004): Charles V. Shank *(2004–2008):
Steven Chu Steven ChuPaul Alivisatos Paul Alivisatos (born November 12, 1959) is an American scientist of Greek descent who has been hailed as a pioneer in nanomaterials development, and is an internationally recognized authority on the fabrication of nanocrystals and their use in bio ...
*(2016–present): Michael Witherell


Science mission

From the 1950s through the present, Berkeley Lab has maintained its status as a major international center for physics research, and has also diversified its research program into almost every realm of scientific investigation. Its mission is to solve the most pressing and profound scientific problems facing humanity, conduct basic research for a secure energy future, understand living systems to improve the environment, health, and energy supply, understand matter and energy in the universe, build and safely operate leading scientific facilities for the nation, and train the next generation of scientists and engineers The Laboratory's 20 scientific divisions are organized within six areas of research: Computing Sciences, Physical Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Biosciences, Energy Sciences, and Energy Technologies. Berkeley Lab has six main science thrusts: advancing integrated fundamental energy science, integrative biological and environmental system science, advanced computing for science impact, discovering the fundamental properties of matter and energy, accelerators for the future, and developing energy technology innovations for a sustainable future. It was Lawrence's belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab tradition that continues today. Berkeley Lab operates five major National User Facilities for the DOE Office of Science: # The
Advanced Light Source. The Advanced Light Source (ALS) is a research facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area o ...
(ALS) is a synchrotron light source with 41 beam lines providing ultraviolet, soft x-ray, and hard x-ray light to scientific experiments. The ALS is one of the world's brightest sources of soft x-rays, which are used to characterize the electronic structure of matter and to reveal microscopic structures with elemental and chemical specificity. About 2,500 scientist-users carry out research at ALS every year. Berkeley Lab is proposing an upgrade of ALS which would increase the coherent flux of soft x-rays by two-three orders of magnitude. #The
Joint Genome Institute The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), first located in Walnut Creek, California, Walnut Creek then Berkeley, California, was created in 1997 to unite the expertise and resources in genome mapping, DNA sequencing, techno ...
(JGI) supports genomic research in support of the DOE missions in alternative energy, global carbon cycling, and environmental management. The JGI's partner laboratories are Berkeley Lab,
Lawrence Livermore National Lab Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a federal research facility in Livermore, California, United States, founded by the University of California, Berkeley in 1952. Originally a branch of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, th ...
(LLNL),
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge National Laboratory (abbreviated as ORNL) is an American multiprogram science and technology United States Department of Energy national laboratories, national laboratory sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, U.S. Departm ...
(ORNL),
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy national laboratories, managed by the United States Department of Energy, Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science. The main campus of the labora ...
(PNNL), and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The JGI's central role is the development of a diversity of large-scale experimental and computational capabilities to link sequence to biological insights relevant to energy and environmental research. Approximately 1,200 scientist-users take advantage of JGI's capabilities for their research every year. # The
Molecular FoundryImage:Molecular Foundry Berkeley.jpg, thumbnail, 200px, The Molecular Foundry building in Berkeley, California The Molecular Foundry is a nanoscience user facility located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, and is ...
is a multidisciplinary nanoscience research facility. Its seven research facilities focus on Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures, Nanofabrication, Theory of Nanostructured Materials, Inorganic Nanostructures, Biological Nanostructures, Organic and Macromolecular Synthesis, and Electron Microscopy. Approximately 700 scientist-users make use of these facilities in their research every year. # The
National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, or NERSC, is a high performance computing (supercomputer) user facility operated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the United States Department of Energy Office of Science. As ...
(NERSC) is the scientific computing facility that provides large-scale computing for the DOE's unclassified research programs. Its current systems provide over 3 billion computational hours annually. NERSC supports 6,000 scientific users from universities, national laboratories, and industry. # The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-speed network infrastructure optimized for very large scientific data flows. ESNet provides connectivity for all major DOE sites and facilities, and the network transports roughly 35 petabytes of traffic each month. Berkeley Lab is the lead partner in the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), located in Emeryville, California. Other partners are the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). JBEI's primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels – liquid fuels derived from the solar energy stored in plant biomass. JBEI is one of three new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs). Berkeley Lab has a major role in two DOE Energy Innovation Hubs. The mission of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) is to find a cost-effective method to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The lead institution for JCAP is the California Institute of Technology and Berkeley Lab is the second institutional center. The mission of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is to create next-generation battery technologies that will transform transportation and the electricity grid. Argonne National Laboratory leads JCESR and Berkeley Lab is a major partner.


Operations and governance

The University of California operates Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under a contract with the Department of Energy. The site consists of 76 buildings (owned by the U.S. Department of Energy) located on owned by the university in the Berkeley Hills. Altogether, the Lab has some 4,000 UC employees, of whom about 800 are students or postdocs, and each year it hosts more than 3,000 participating guest scientists. There are approximately two dozen DOE employees stationed at the laboratory to provide federal oversight of Berkeley Lab's work for the DOE. The laboratory director, Michael Witherell, is appointed by the Regents of the University of California, university regents and reports to the university president. Although Berkeley Lab is governed by UC independently of the Berkeley campus, the two entities are closely interconnected: more than 200 Berkeley Lab researchers hold joint appointments as UC Berkeley faculty. The Lab's budget for the fiscal year 2019 was billion dollars.


Scientific achievements, inventions, and discoveries

Notable scientific accomplishments at the Lab since World War II include the observation of the antiproton, the discovery of several Transuranium element, transuranic elements, and the discovery of the accelerating universe. Since its inception, 13 researchers associated with Berkeley Lab (
Ernest Lawrence Ernest Orlando Lawrence (August 8, 1901 – August 27, 1958) was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope sepa ...

Ernest Lawrence
, Glenn T. Seaborg, Edwin M. McMillan, Owen Chamberlain, Emilio G. Segrè, Donald A. Glaser, Melvin Calvin, Luis W. Alvarez, Yuan T. Lee,
Steven Chu Steven ChuNobel Prize in Physics ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
or the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In addition, twenty-three Berkeley Lab employees, as contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. Seventy Berkeley Lab scientists are members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen Berkeley Lab scientists have won the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen Berkeley Lab engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three Berkeley Lab scientists have been elected into the National Academy of Medicine. Nature Index rates the Lab fifth in the world among government research organizations; it is the only one of the top six that is a single laboratory, rather than a system of laboratories. Elements discovered by Berkeley Lab physicists include astatine, neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium*, californium*, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium, lawrencium*, dubnium, and seaborgium*. Those elements listed with asterisks (*) are named after the University Professors Lawrence and Seaborg. Seaborg was the principal scientist involved in their discovery. The element technetium was discovered after Ernest Lawrence gave Emilio Segrè a molybdenum strip from the Berkeley Lab cyclotron. The fabricated evidence used to claim the creation of oganesson and livermorium by Victor Ninov, a researcher employed at Berkeley Lab, led to the retraction of two articles. Inventions and discoveries to come out of Berkeley Lab include: "smart" windows with embedded electrodes that enable window glass to respond to changes in sunlight, synthetic genes for antimalaria and anti-AIDS superdrugs based on breakthroughs in synthetic biology, electronic ballasts for more efficient lighting, Home Energy Saver, the web's first do-it-yourself home energy audit tool, a pocket-sized DNA sampler called the PhyloChip, and the Berkeley Darfur Stove, which uses one-quarter as much firewood as traditional Improved cookstove, cook stoves. One of Berkeley Lab's most notable breakthroughs is the discovery of dark energy. During the 1980s and 1990s Berkeley Lab physicists and astronomers formed the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP), using Type Ia supernovae as "standard candles" to measure the expansion rate of the universe. Their successful methods inspired competition, with the result that early in 1998 both the SCP and the High-Z Supernova Search Team announced the surprising discovery that expansion is accelerating; the cause was soon named dark energy. Arthur Rosenfeld, a senior scientist at Berkeley Lab, was a prominent advocate for energy efficiency from 1975 until his death in 2017. He led efforts at the Lab that produced several technologies that radically improved efficiency: compact fluorescent lamps, low-energy refrigerators, and windows that trap heat. He established the Center for Building Science at the Lab, which developed into the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division. He developed the first energy-efficiency standards for buildings and appliances in California, which helped the state to sustain constant electricity use per capita, a phenomenon called the Rosenfeld effect. The Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impacts Division continues to set the research foundation for the national energy efficiency standards and works with China, India, and other countries to help develop their standards. Carl Haber (physicist), Carl Haber and Vitaliy Fadeyev of Berkeley Lab developed the IRENE (technology), IRENE system for optical scanning of audio discs and cylinders.The Machine That's Saving the History of Recorded Sound
''The Atlantic'', June 13, 2014.
In December 2018, researchers at Intel Corp. and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a paper in ''Nature'', which outlined a chip "made with quantum materials called magnetoelectric multiferroics instead of the conventional silicon," to allow for increased processing and reduced energy consumption to support technology such as artificial intelligence.


Notable people

*Haimei Zheng, Chinese-American materials scientist and Senior Staff Scientist


References


External links

* * * * * * * * {{Authority control Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1931 establishments in California Berkeley Hills Ernest Lawrence Federally Funded Research and Development Centers Historic American Engineering Record in California Laboratories in California Manhattan Project sites Nuclear research institutes Research institutes established in 1931 Research institutes in California Research institutes in the San Francisco Bay Area Science and technology in the San Francisco Bay Area United States Department of Energy national laboratories University and college laboratories in the United States University of California, Berkeley University of California, Berkeley buildings