ficial photosynthesis as a means to make
liquid fuels from carbon dioxide, water,
and sunlight. LBL is also a major partner
in the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the
Energy Biosciences Institute, which focus on the development of biofuels to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and
reduce the severity of global warming.
LBL employs more than 4,200 staff
members and is known for its commitment to interdisciplinary science,
bringing together individuals with expertise in many different areas to tackle
challenging technical problems.
Meier explained: “The size and prestige of the lab attracts a flow of speakers and experts from around the world,”
providing an incredible lineup of colleagues. The list of notable researchers from LBL is long indeed. Eleven lab
members have received the Nobel Prize
and 13 have won the National Medal of
Science, the nation’s highest award for
achievement in science.
Overlooking the beautiful San Francisco Bay from atop the Berkeley Hills sits the Law- rence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the nation’s premier science and engineering research labs.
LBL, as it is commonly called, is one of
the 16 national laboratories supported
by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The lab is operated by
the University of California, and is located just up the hill from the campus
of U.C. Berkeley.
We spoke with Dr. Alan Meier, a senior scientist in the Energy Analysis
Department at LBL. Meier came from
the University of Pennsylvania to finish
his graduate work at U.C. Berkeley and
never left. This was due in large part to
his close collaborations with Dr. Arthur
Rosenfeld, who “lured” him to Berkeley.
Rosenfeld is a pioneer in energy efficiency research. He was involved in the
development of the compact florescent
light bulb and of new low-emissivity
windows, among many other contributions. There’s even a Rosenfeld Effect
named after him.
Indeed, efficient and sustainable energy is a major focus of research at the
lab, with roughly 150 researchers tackling different aspects of the problem.
Meier noted that the research is both
“challenging and practical”—projects
range from insulation materials and
building simulations to low-power
networks and air quality sensing. The
lab was a leader in the development of
window coatings that lower heating
and cooling bills by reducing heat flow.
Currently, the Helios Solar Energy Research Center at LBL is developing arti-
Originally focused on physics research,
LBL has diversified over the years into
a wide variety of science and engineering fields. Today the lab has 14 different
divisions covering Computing Sciences,
General Sciences, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, and
Photon Sciences. The lab’s projects are
focused on climate change and environmental science, cosmology, efficient
and sustainable energy, high-performance computing, and bioenergy.
Several important national science
facilities are managed and operated by
LBL. One such facility, the Advanced
Light Source, generates intense beams
of ultraviolet light and soft x-rays that
are used to study the structure and composition of materials for many different
applications. The lab is also home to
the National Energy Research Scientific
Computing Center, or NERSC, which
provides advanced high-performance