In the first issue of the ATAP Newsletter for 2023, we see exciting advances in enabling technologies for the next generation of particle accelerators and colliders; extensions to the capabilities and applications of the award-winning WarpX simulation code; diagnostics tools for improving the performance and safety of high-temperature superconducting magnets; and a rapid and inexpensive technique for detecting the COVID-19 virus.
Researchers at ATAP’s Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation Program are collaborating with colleagues in the Engineering Division and Computational Research Division to develop a new technique that uses artificial intelligence to precisely control lasers and other accelerator systems. The work could help usher in the next generation of particle accelerators and colliders and could also see applications in other technologies where precision control of complex systems is required.
A collaboration between the Accelerator Modeling Program and BELLA Center is seeking to extend the capabilities of WarpX—a Particle-in-Cell (PIC) simulation code for which a Berkeley Lab-led team won the 2022 ACM Gordon Bell Prize. These new capabilities will help advance our understanding of the energy dynamics in plasma-based accelerators, which we hope will lead to accelerators that are more powerful, compact, and energy efficient than current technologies.
A new diagnostic tool being developed by our Superconducting Magnet Program could lead to safe and more reliable superconducting magnets for use in fusion reactors, bringing the possibility of unlimited, carbon-free energy one step closer.
And while the world appears to be emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and health agencies are remaining vigilant for more virulent variants as well as new viruses. To help support this effort, researchers from ATAP and Berkeley Lab’s Biological Systems & Engineering Division have developed a highly sensitive and selective technique for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein molecule. The work could lead to a fast and inexpensive way for monitoring current and future pathogens and helping to prevent their spread.
As part of our education and outreach activities, 13 researchers from the Lab taught a variety of courses at the Winter 2023 session of the US Particle Accelerator School, which took place from January 23 – February 3, 2023, in Houston, Texas.
In January, we marked the arrival of the Lunar Year New. The event allows us to celebrate the diversity of the Lab and to show our respect to colleagues and friends of Asian and Pacific Island heritage.
We also celebrate Black History Month in February by recognizing and honoring the incredible and lasting impact of the Black community on the advancement and support of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This year’s theme is “African-American/Black Women in STEM,” with the Lab’s African American Employee Resource Group showcasing stories from Black women, their careers, and the inspirational moments that have shaped their impact on the Lab and the wider STEM ecosystem.
To further foster an inclusive and respectful work environment for all, at the January All-to-All meeting the Lab’s IDEA team gave a presentation on the importance of using the correct gender pronouns when addressing people.
And on a sad (for us) note, after 34 years of exemplary service to the Lab, Science Writer & Editor Joe Chew retired at the end of January. Joe will be greatly missed by all at the Lab, and as a final swansong, he graciously agreed to impart some of his wisdom and experiences over his three decades here in a 3Q4: Joe Chew. We wish him a happy, relaxing, and fulfilling retirement.