Berkeley Lab

Science Neighborhoods at Berkeley Lab

energyEnergy Sciences
The Energy Sciences neighborhood is the home of a number of preeminent scientific research laboratories and facilities, including the Advanced Light Source,a world-leading  User Facility that enables scientists from around the world to harness the power of soft X-rays. This neighborhood also hosts the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Nanoscale Science Research Center which has continued to break new ground in the development of new classes of materials such as nanoparticles and peptoids, and in the understanding of how quantum phenomena can be engineered and controlled in molecules and solids. The Berkeley Lab headquarters of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, two of the DOE’s Energy Innovation Hubs, will also be located in the Energy Sciences Neighborhood, and will soon be joined the Kavli Energy Nanosciences Institute. This neighborhood also hosts the nexus of Berkeley Lab’s chemistry research, where chemists utilize such onsite facilities as the Chemical Dynamics Beamline at the ALS, the Heavy Element Research Lab, and the Ultrafast X-ray Science Lab.

earth-environmentEarth and Environmental Sciences
This neighborhood is home to research that seeks to understand how current energy technologies can operate with far less impact on our planet. In Earth & Environmental Sciences, geologists work to better understand how fluids flow underground and how these can be harnessed effectively for geothermal energy, for the lowest possible impact fossil fuel extraction, and for remediation of the environment. In addition, our climate modeling and environmental sciences programs have led to increased understanding of how the climate is changing.

physical-sciencesPhysical Sciences
Interactions between matter and energy shape our world and the universe around us, and applications of matter and energy are hugely important to our day-to-day lives.   Physical Sciences researchers study these interactions at scales ranging from the outermost reaches of the cosmos to the innermost confines of subatomic particles; their work has won two Nobel Prizes in the last ten years.   They bring scientific and engineering expertise to everything from upgrades to the LHC which will make it even more powerful, to experiments that will search for dark matter and dark energy, in locations as varied as a former Gold mine in South Dakota, and the heights of the Andes mountains, as well as practical applications for industry and national security.    In this context, we work on design of the next generation of light sources, as well as an innovative laser-plasma accelerator.  Throughout these diverse efforts to study some of today’s grand problems and build tomorrow’s research tools, a team approach and collaboration that spans borders of nations and disciplines — longtime hallmarks of LBNL research — continue to serve us well.

Materials and Chemistry
This neighborhood is home to a world-renowned nanoscience research program, and will soon welcome the Kavli Energy Nanosciences Institute. Work done at the Molecular Foundry has continued to break new ground in the development of whole new classes of materials like metal organic frameworks and in the understanding of how quantum phenomena can be engineered and controlled in molecules and solids.  It is also the home of fundamental research in chemistry and chemical engineering. Here, work provides a basis for new and improved energy technologies and for understanding and mitigating the environmental impacts of energy use. An integrated research portfolio in fundamental chemistry seamlessly spans from atomic to macroscopic scales and from time scales of electron motion (attoseconds) to the natural time scales of chemical transformations and catalytic reactions (standard clock time). Theory and experiment are very closely coupled across all research areas, including interfacial chemistry; gas phase and condensed phase chemical physics; homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis; heavy element chemistry; ultrafast X-ray sciences; and atomic, molecular and optical sciences.

Computing Sciences
The facilities and researchers in the Computing Sciences neighborhood serve scientists from around the globe who seek to harness Berkeley Lab’s unique combination of world-class modern computation, applied mathematics, and computer science. Home to the National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center, the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), the Center for Applied Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA), and a broad research and development portfolio addressing the challenges of next generation computing systems, exploiting the increasing richness and availability of scientific data and extending the power of computational modeling and simulation to new fields of scientific inquiry.

The Biosciences neighborhood houses research aimed to discover, characterize, and predict biological elements of environmental systems; develop the basic principles of how to engineer biological systems to make fuels and chemicals; understand the physics and chemistry of components within cells; and increase our understanding of microbial communities and plants. Our goal is to help the nation and the world solve issues in energy and environment through biological research.

Energy Impacts for Society
This neighborhood houses an impressive legacy of research that has made enormous impacts on our energy use and our economy. As of 2012, the U.S. has experienced $484 billion in cumulative primary energy savings from Berkeley Lab’s Appliance Efficiency Standards program, and California’s energy use has been effectively flat – “the Rosenfield effect” – since the 1970s because of the Lab’s efforts. More recently, the FLEXLAB facility has enabled collaborations between scientists and engineers from academia, labs, and companies that lead to a better understanding of how all the components of our modern energy infrastructure will work together. The new Cyclotron Road program has opened the lab to entrepreneurs so that they can get help inventing the new energy technologies of the future. And the LIGTT Institute is dedicated to working with scientists from the developing world to bring cost-effective solutions to the billions of people in the world who live on less than $2 per day.