Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Coordinator: Dan Martin

Review abstracts for current and past practicum experiences at Berkeley Lab >>

In 1931, Ernest Orlando Lawrence founded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the oldest of the national laboratories. Lawrence invented the cyclotron, which led to a Golden Age of particle physics and revolutionary discoveries about the nature of the universe, including the discovery of fourteen new elements by Berkeley Lab researchers. Known as a mecca of particle physics, Berkeley Lab long ago broadened its focus. Of our thirteen Nobel Prizes, eight are in physics and four in chemistry. Today, we are a multiprogram lab where research in advanced materials, life sciences, energy efficiency, detectors, and accelerators serves America's needs in science, technology, and the environment.

Berkeley Lab is the birthplace of nuclear medicine and the cradle of invention for medical imaging. In the field of heart disease, Berkeley Lab researchers were the first to isolate lipoproteins and the first to determine that the ratio of high density to low density lipoproteins is a strong indicator of heart disease risk. The demise of the dinosaurs — the revelation that they had been killed off by a massive comet or asteroid that had slammed into the Earth — was a theory developed here. Berkeley Lab scientists are among the pioneers who helped build the Internet, at one point preventing its collapse by developing protocols to regulate traffic flow on the net. The invention of the chemical laser, the unlocking of the secrets of photosynthesis, the discovery that the universe will continue expanding forever — all are part of the legacy of this Laboratory. Today, Berkeley Lab is at the forefront of quantum computing, which has the potential to revolutionize computing for some problems.

Berkeley Lab has also been a pioneer of interdisciplinary science. Today we tackle problems of scale (high performance computing, environment, energy, energy efficiency, mapping the human genome) through coordinated interdisciplinary research. Our scientists and mathematicians are innovators in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for science. Berkeley Lab maintains and operates four unique national facilities: the Advanced Light Source, the National Center for Electron Microscopy, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and the 88-Inch Cyclotron. Berkeley Lab is one of the founding partners of DOE’s Joint Genome Institute and is the home of the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), which provides the networking infrastructure for DOE-sponsored research.

Other research programs at Berkeley Lab include:

NERSC is the flagship center of computational science not just for Berkeley Lab, but for the DOE Office of Science. NERSC is the principal provider of high performance computing services to Office of Science programs — Magnetic Fusion Energy, High Energy and Nuclear Physics, Basic Energy Sciences, Health and Environmental Research, and Computational and Technology Research.

As the nation’s first supercomputer center to support a nationwide user base, and the model for those that followed, NERSC pioneered many of the supercomputing practices taken for granted today, including remote access, time sharing, interactive use, multitasking, high performance data storage and retrieval, high performance networking, on-line documentation, 24-hour support for users, and intellectual resources. NERSC today is one of the nation’s most powerful and open computing resources, serving about 7,000 researchers at national laboratories, universities, and industries with fewer restrictions than any other national computing center. We continue working closely with the scientific community we serve to improve the tools of computational science and to be the engine through which significant scientific progress is achieved.

For an overview of computer science and computational science research at NERSC, browse the NERSC News and Publications web page.

As a reference, the lab offers this Guide for DOE CSGF students interested in doing a practicum at LBNL.