Advanced Accelerator R&D Pioneer Leaves a Laser Legacy at the Lab
By Glenn Roberts Jr., LBNL Strategic Communications, and Joe Chew, Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division
ATAP Division Director Wim Leemans — who built up Berkeley Lab’s laser-accelerator program from a modest oﬃce in a modular trailer into a world-class center for advanced accelerator R&D — is leaving the Lab after 27 years.
On Feb. 1, 2019, Leemans will take on a new role as director of the Accelerator Division at DESY in Hamburg, Germany. He will be responsible for the operation of the FLASH and XFEL free-electron lasers, the PETRA III light source, and the stewardship of a diverse Advanced Accelerator R&D program.
“DESY is one of the leading accelerator laboratories in the world,” noted Laboratory Director Mike Witherell. “This is an exceptional opportunity for Wim to apply his leadership skills to a major accelerator complex, encompassing all aspects of the field, including R&D, construction, and machine operations.”
Helmut Dosch, chairman of the DESY Board of Directors, said, “Wim Leemans is not only one of the most prominent leaders in accelerator research, but also a luminary in the development of pioneering laser plasma accelerators. We are proud and happy to have his creative spirit on board at DESY.”
Leemans, a native of Belgium, earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering under Chan Joshi at the University of California, Los Angeles, and then joined Berkeley Lab in 1991 as a scientist in the Exploratory Studies Group, led by Swapan Chattopadhyay and Kwang-Je Kim, of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division. Working with then-Lab Director Chuck Shank and others, Leemans developed a novel technique to produce ultrafast X-ray bunches by backscattering of an infrared laser oﬀ the ALS injector linac’s intense electron beam.
In 1994, he received a Laboratory Directed Research and Development award to start a program in laser-plasma acceleration, a new technology which he had done his PhD dissertation on during his time at UCLA.
BELLA holds the LPA energy record at 4.2 GeV, and a campaign toward 10 GeV is in progress.
|“The breadth and depth of accomplishment of Wim’s program over the next 25 years were truly remarkable,” said Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences James Symons. “Wim and his colleagues in the BELLA Center achieved many ‘ﬁrsts’ in laser- plasma acceleration: the ﬁrst GeV electron beam, a world record acceleration of 4.2 GeV electrons in a single stage using the BELLA laser, and the demonstration of multiple-stage acceleration.”|
“Wim has consistently been a strong advocate for the magnet program and for strong ties between ATAP and Engineering,” noted Soren Prestemon, who leads both the interdivisional Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology and the multi-institutional, Berkeley Lab-headquartered U.S. Magnet Development Program and has served as ATAP’s division deputy for technology.
Along the way, recognition for Wim’s work included the Department of Energy’s Ernest O. Lawrence Award, the American Physical Society’s J.M. Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, the DOE Secretary’s Achievement Award for management of the BELLA Project, and the IEEE Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award. He is a Fellow of the APS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
In addition to leading the BELLA Center, he has been the Director of the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division since 2014. The renaming of the former Accelerator and Fusion Research Division reﬂected the broadening contributions of accelerators and related technologies to today’s science and technology challenges, while recognizing the core mission of the Division.
As Accelerator Division Director at DESY, Wim will be responsible for the operation of the FLASH and XFEL free- electron lasers, the PETRA III light source, and the stewardship of a diverse Advanced Accelerator R&D program. “I am sad to leave Berkeley Lab and especially my friends at BELLA Center after so many exciting years together,” he said, “but I am conﬁdent that the team is well-prepared to move ahead under new leadership, and I am looking forward to the challenges of my new position in Hamburg.”
Witherell said, “We are grateful for Wim’s lasting contributions to laser and accelerator science here, and look forward to continuing our work with him in ongoing and new collaborations with DESY.”
Toward new horizons for ATAP
|Symons has designated Thomas Schenkel, ATAP Division Deputy for Technology and Head of the Fusion Science and Ion Beam Technology Program, to lead ATAP on an interim basis during the search for a permanent Division Director.|
Exclude Inadvertent Slights by Cultivating Inclusive Language
|Here in the birthplace of team science, are we doing everything we can to make everyone feel they are part of the team?
The things we say, and how we say them, can have a powerful influence on others, making them feel included and valued. Here are some “say this, not that” tips from Melissa Milloway, who as a digital-learning design manager has learned to build teams and reach audiences that are diverse in many ways, including age group. They are passed along with the recommendation of LBNL Talent and Workplace Services Manager Phillip Weiss and ATAP Division Deputy for Operations Asmita Patel.
Why So Few Women Nobel Laureates in Physics?
Shouldn’t there be quite a few more pictures here by now? Photos courtesy APS News.
|Women make up slightly more than 50% of the population and in recent decades have been earning about 20% of physics doctorates (up from 5% in 1967)… but have been winning the field’s highest honor only about once every half century. All three female physics laureates are shown here: Donna Strickland (2018), Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1963), and Marie Curie (1903). Physics professor emeritus Vijendra Agarwal, who has been studying the history of Nobel Prizes with respect to gender, geography, and generations, analyzes this situation in the opinion column “The Back Page” in the November 18 issue of APS News.|
With A Place at Your Table, Share the Heart of the Lab with our Global Research Community
These GLoBaL endeavors don’t just make new friends; they advance the Labwide goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing a sense of community for international colleagues. Click here to explore GLoBaL and our other Employee Resource Groups.
SAFETY: THE BOTTOM LINE
Preventing Uninvited Holiday Guests
As always at this time of year, mice and rats are being sighted in many LBNL buildings. Rodents can leave messes and spread diseases… and they are notorious for gnawing on electrical wiring, which can cause equipment damage and even power outages (such as the recent one affecting Building 50) or fires.
Here are some tips on how to put out the unwelcome mat:
• Keep nonperishable snack foods and earthquake supplies in a closed container they cannot easily gnaw though, not loose in a desk drawer or backpack.
• Remove any food items at the end of each day. Store perishable food in a breakroom refrigerator.
• Wipe down desktops, tables, and counter tops after food has been consumed. Mere scraps and crumbs by our standards can be a feast for something the size of a mouse.
• Let your custodians know if you are planning office parties, so they can promptly remove extra trash.
If you do see rodents, contact your Building Manager or the Work Request Center to request Pest Control services.
Do not attempt to clean up dead rodents or droppings. Contact your custodians. They are trained in how to clean up safely.
Let’s Think On Our Feet This Winter
Walk Mindfully, Pocket Your Phone, and Hold the Rail! Image courtesy Horst Simon, LBNL Deputy Director for Research and Sponsor, Berkeley Lab Safety Culture Work Group.
|With its rainy weather, long nights, leaves on the sidewalks and stairways, and holiday decorations almost within easy reach, this is a crucial time for slip, trip, and fall prevention both at the Lab and at home. Let’s walk (and drive and bike) mindfully, which includes paying attention to the physical world around us rather than the virtual world in handheld devices.||
Poster by Lucky Cortez, ATAP Operations Team. Click for larger version
Use handrails on stairways and steep walkways, and clean up slippery spills before others come upon them unawares.
Using ladders properly is also important at any time of year. For more information on safe use of ladders and stepstools, contact Alyssa Brand, ext. 7246.
Here’s wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and a safe return in the new year!