Director’s Corner

In ATAP we are part of Berkeley Lab’s phased program of carefully monitored re-opening, which has worked very well over the last months, allowing us to get things done in our labs and shops. In the first in our series of photo stories, “Labs in the Time of COVID,” we show a day in the life at ATAP’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center (BELLA) as we continue our in-person R&D activities under conditions of limited and carefully managed on-site presence.

Many activities that can go virtual are of course doing so. One of them was the Fermilab Director’s Review of CD-3 for the High-Luminosity LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project. ATAP and our partners in the Engineering Division play a major role in the AUP, and we were pleased to see this technically challenging and managerially complex multi-institutional project praised by the reviewers. The record-breaking high-performance magnets that we are co-developing with partner labs in this project will be delivered to CERN to boost the reach of the Large Hadron Collider in probing the nature of matter and energy at the limits of the energy frontier.

The conferences and workshops that are an integral part of the culture of science today are being adapted to the “new normal” of little or no travel. Among them is the Applied Superconductivity Conference, which will now occur virtually over a two-week period. ATAP’s deep relationship with ASC continues thus online. ATAP staff are also planning the AAC Seminar Series, scheduled to begin this fall in lieu of the pandemic-cancelled Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop 2020.

Regrettably I must conclude on a somber note. In October we lost two distinguished colleagues: Glen Lambertson and Alan Jackson. Glen Lambertson’s career (plus an active retirement) in beam physics and instrumentation spanned more than half a century, from the early days of the Bevatron through contributions to the LHC. Alan Jackson began his career in Daresbury, which would soon build the first dedicated synchrotron radiation source; came here to become one of the top contributors to the ALS; and went on to be technical director of the Australian Synchrotron. Glen and Alan’s many scientific and technical contributions have been highly impactful throughout the world of accelerators and their vibrant personalities are fondly remembered by all who knew them.


A photo story from the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center shows how we can combine safety and productivity in Berkeley Lab’s staged return to onsite work. Click here for higher-resolution versions and additional photos.

Image 1
Availability of close-in parking hints at low-density occupancy
Image 2
“Basic training” helps onboard new employees virtually
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Informal “tailgate meetings” when we can’t just stop by
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Virtual team meeting starts the day
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In-person discussions feature social distancing, face coverings
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The rituals of lunch: outdoor eating and social distancing with a generous safety margin team up to allow safe unmasking
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Working together (but at least 6 feet apart)
  in the lab takes thoughtful awareness
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Masks, social distancing make for healthy teamwork in the control room
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Walkthrough checks compliance with coronavirus precautions
as well as pre-pandemic safety matters
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Leadership-team debrief at day’s end joins onsite, remote members

—Next step: DOE Review November 22-24


A Fermilab Director’s CD-3 Review of the High-Luminosity LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project (AUP) was held (virtually) July 28-30, 2020. The review’s final report described it as “well managed” with “an experienced and talented management and technical team” that “has made very impressive progress since CD2/3b,” the previous step in the progression of Critical Decisions in a DOE project.

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN will begin a two-and-a-half-year upgrade around 2023, during their third long scheduled shutdown (LS3), to boost the beam’s luminosity and thus the rate of particle collisions. The expertise at the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology is key to the US contributions to the AUP, an essential component of which is the design and construction of advanced and powerful focusing magnets.

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Team picture in front of assembled HL-LHC AUP quadrupole magnet

Fully assembled HL-LHC AUP quadrupole magnet

Berkeley Lab’s contributions, through its Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology (BCMT), include 104 superconducting wire cables to be used in the magnets; the insulation of the cables; and the assembly of 25 four-meter-long quadrupole magnets (designated MQXFA ) that will focus the LHC’s particle beams.

The AUP in total is delivering two of the complete inner-triplet cryoassemblies, designated Q1 and Q3, and 23 magnets in all, while CERN is completing the third cryoassembly, Q2a and b.

“Exemplary and a model for future projects”

The review found that “The AUP Project has made very impressive progress since CD2/3b.”

Managerial as well as technical excellence is essential to a program like the HL-LHC AUP, which involves five US national labs and a university, each bringing its particular strengths to the technical challenges — and whose products must mesh with the overall High-Luminosity Upgrade at CERN. The reviewers noted that “Integration of the project team across the participating laboratories is strong and we commend the project management group on the robustness of their approach and their commitment to the level of integration incorporated into their approach.”

They further found that “Project mechanics, including cost/schedule, ES&H and QA reporting, are in place and operating smoothly. The commitment to traceability of requirements, interface controls, configuration management and documented acceptance criteria is exemplary and a model for future projects.”

The Director’s Review Committee recommended proceeding to CD-3. The next step is a DOE CD-3 Review, scheduled for November 22-24.

—Lasers at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center are part of network across the U.S. and Canada


Photo - Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center houses the BELLA petawatt laser, shown here, and a 100-terawatt-class laser. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center houses the BELLA petawatt laser, shown here, and a 100-terawatt-class laser. (Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy established LaserNetUS, a network of facilities operating ultrapowerful lasers. Organized and funded through DOE’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES), the new network was created to provide vastly improved access to unique lasers for researchers, and to help restore the U.S.’s once-dominant position in high-intensity laser research. Now, new DOE funding totaling $18 million, including $1 million for user support, will be distributed among 10 partner institutions and will continue and expand LaserNetUS operations for three years.

“The LaserNetUS initiative is a shining example of a scientific community coming together to advance the frontiers of research, provide students and scientists with broad access to unique facilities and enabling technologies, and foster collaboration among researchers and networks from around the world,” said James Van Dam, DOE associate director of science for Fusion Energy Sciences. “We are very excited to work with all of these outstanding institutions as partners in this initiative.”

The initiative includes a node at Berkeley Lab, home of the BELLA Center in the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division, with the BELLA petawatt and 100-terawatt-class lasers. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) principal investigator Thomas Schenkel, “Opening our door to users from LaserNetUS has been a great experience, and we are looking forward to working with a growing user community in this next phase.”

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LaserNetUS includes the most powerful lasers in the U.S. and Canada, some of which have powers approaching or exceeding a petawatt. Petawatt lasers generate light with at least 1 million billion watts of power, or nearly 100 times the combined output of all the world’s power plants, but compressed to the briefest of bursts. These lasers fire off ultrafast pulses of light shorter than one-tenth of a trillionth of a second.

All facilities in LaserNetUS operate high-intensity lasers, which have a broad range of applications in basic research, advanced manufacturing, and medicine. They can recreate some of the most extreme conditions in the universe, such as those found in supernova explosions and near black holes. They can generate particle beams for high-energy physics research or intense X-ray pulses to probe matter as it evolves on ultrafast time scales. They are being used to develop new technology, such as techniques to generate intense neutron bursts to evaluate aging aircraft components or implement advanced laser-based welding.

Photo - Optical equipment is set up for a laser experiment at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center. (Credit: Paul Mueller/Berkeley Lab)

Optical equipment is set up for a laser experiment at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center. (Credit: Paul Mueller/Berkeley Lab)

Several LaserNetUS facilities also operate high-energy, longer-pulse lasers that can produce exotic and extreme states of matter, like those in planetary interiors or many-times-compressed materials. They can also be used to study laser-plasma interactions that are important to fusion-energy programs.

In its first year of user operations, LaserNetUS awarded time for 49 user experiments to researchers from 25 different institutions. Over 200 scientists, including more than 100 students and postdoctoral researchers, have participated in experiments so far.

The institutions hosting LaserNetUS facilities are Colorado State University, Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, SLAC National Laboratory, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Rochester, and University of Texas at Austin in the U.S., and Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Canada. All proposals are peer-reviewed by an independent external panel of national and international experts.

The U.S. has been a pioneer in high-intensity laser technology, and was home to the research that was recognized by the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. The network and future upgrades to LaserNetUS facilities will provide new opportunities for U.S. and international scientists in discovery science and in the development of new technologies.


A Real Virtual Presence at ASC 2020

Applied Superconductivity Conference 2020 header graphic

Click to go to the ASC 2020 site

The Applied Superconductivity Conference, normally an in-person event, is occurring virtually over a two-week period in this pandemic year. ATAP’s longtime deep relationship with ASC continues online. Steve Gourlay, retired director of our US Magnet Development Program and Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology, organized the short courses, and ATAP’s Paolo Ferracin, Tengming Shen, and Xiaorong Wang are among the instructors. Shen is also being honored with a major award at the event. Charlie Sanabria, Tiina Salmi, and Emmanuele Ravaioli, all alumni of our strong program of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scholars, are special-session conveners, and Ravaioli is giving a Young Scientist Visions plenary lecture.

ATAP Aids in Accelerator Improvements At ALS

ALS-U diagram

ALS-U will add accumulator ring (inner concentric ring), replace storage ring

The Advanced Light Source traditionally shuts down during the summer for scheduled upgrades, as well as maintenance activities, that cannot be performed otherwise at a highly subscribed national user facility. This deeply involves ATAP Division, which provides accelerator-physics support to the ALS and is helping design the ALS Upgrade (ALS-U). Ina Reichel reported for ALS News on this year’s shutdown, including these ATAP-relevant highlights.

With all the changes due to COVID-19, it is no surprise that this summer’s ALS shutdown was also affected. It began later (August instead of July) and was shorter than originally scheduled (about six weeks instead of three months). The original two drivers of the shutdown—installation of new modulators for the linac rf and the storage ring alignment—were postponed. Nevertheless a number of smaller activities, many in preparation for the ALS Upgrade (ALS-U), were accomplished.

A long-term project to upgrade the fast orbit feedback progressed during this shutdown. The upgrade will increase the fast orbit feedback bandwidth from the present hundred Hz to kHz-class, allowing better control of the electron beam position in the ring and ultimately better photon position in the beamlines.

In order to upgrade the orbit feedback, new vacuum chambers were installed in six corrector magnets. The old ones were aluminum, whereas the new ones are stainless steel, allowing changes to the magnetic fields from the corrector to penetrate faster through the wall due to their lower conductivity. Many chambers have already been installed during previous shutdowns. The final four will be installed in January 2021.

We’re Developing a Following @ Social Media

LinkedIn header

ATAP has a new social media presence, where Ina Reichel, assisted by Axel Huebl and Joe Chew and advised by Asmita Patel, will be keeping readers of LinkedIn and Science Twitter apprised of our achievements.

Check it out, and please consider following us and tagging us in your own professionally relevant tweets and postings.


ATAP Virtual Retreat Emphasizes IDEA, Team Building, Adaptive Leadership

Screenshot of Zoom retreat participants Screenshot of Zoom retreat participants Screenshot of Zoom retreat participants

An online Division Retreat August 18-19, 2020 provided tools and space for strategic planning and a sense of community in a virtual setting. Aditi Chakravarty from Berkeley Lab’s HR division helped organize and facilitate the first virtual retreat in this COVID 19 pandemic era “next normal” work environment.

In two half-day sessions, a diverse variety of ATAP employees and leaders explored the themes of Developing our Strategy (Day 1) and Articulating our Story (Day 2) with the help of a professional facilitator. Exercises and discussions included
•  Team building
•  Thriving in the “new normal” of COVID-19
•  Exploring and re-enforcing the Lab’s stewardship culture and IDEA Initiative
•  Introducing the concept of “adaptive leadership” and the framework of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to drive reflection and conversations about program vision and strategy

We were initially skeptical about having a retreat via Zoom, but Aditi and her team made it work as a highly engaging and interactive event. The key now is to follow up and establish routines of learning and development. Resources from the Learning & Organizational Development group in Berkeley Lab’s Human Resources Division help support this.

Tom Scarvie Wins ALS Tim Renner User Services Award

Editor’s Note: Tom Scarvie is an ATAP staff member matrixed to the Advanced Light Source Division. The ALS originated in ATAP’s predecessor organization, AFRD, before becoming a division of Berkeley Lab in its own right. The two organizations have maintained a special relationship in which ATAP provides key accelerator-physics and accelerator-operations support to the ALS. The late Tim Renner, whose memory the award honors, was an AFRD scientist especially known for cancer-treatment technology R&D at the Bevalac, then moved to the ALS after the Bevalac was decommissioned in 1993. This story is by ALS Communications.

Tom Scarvie

Tom Scarvie, winner of the 2020 Renner Award

At this year’s ALS User Meeting, Tom Scarvie, head of the ALS Operations Group, was honored with the 2020 Tim Renner User Services Award. The ALS Users’ Executive Committee selected Scarvie “for coordinating all accelerator and beamline floor operator activities to provide reliable light to users safely .”

Scarvie came to the ALS in 1996 soon after graduating from UC Berkeley. In his last semester he took a class on x-ray physics taught by David Atwood, the first ALS scientific director. The course included a tour of the ALS, and when Scarvie saw a job posting for an ALS operator, he jumped at the chance. After a while he started asking the Accelerator Physics Group if he could take over some small tasks, and eventually he joined the group as a scientific engineering associate.

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“I came in through a different route than most of the people in the group,” Scarvie said, “but over time I just became fascinated with the technology and also the physics behind controlling particles as they travel around at the speed of light.” Eventually, Scarvie moved up into his current role of supervisor of the Operations Group.

Although the accelerator itself intrigues Scarvie, “Supporting the researchers in developing their science is really one of the joys of the job,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to enable cutting-edge science that has so much societal benefit, and also just building on the knowledge of the human race and the scientific advancements we’ve made is very rewarding.”

Although Scarvie spends much of his time focused on the machine, he encourages dialogue with the users. “Sometimes they’ll get funny-looking data on their experiments and don’t ever think it might be the accelerator instead of their experimental setup,” he said. “Come to the control room. The operators may not be able to answer the questions, but we know immediately who to go to to get the right answer.”

His efforts are appreciated by users. “Tom’s availability, courtesy, pragmatism, and friendly approach are well known on the ALS floor,” said Carolyn Larabell, director of the National Center for X-Ray Tomography. “He’s always ready, when possible, to extend operation when a user comes to the control room asking for those additional hours that would allow them to complete a measurement.”

The sentiments were echoed by Fernando Sannibale, ALS deputy for accelerator operations. “Tom systematically optimizes operation activities by simplifying and minimizing as much as possible the workload on beamline scientists and users, while maintaining the rigorous attention required for a reliable and safe operation. This is a difficult balance to achieve, and Tom is really a master in this,” he said.

It’s also worth noting that the last twelve months have not exactly been business as usual for the ALS. “It is not an easy task to coordinate and shut down a facility like the ALS in a safe and secure manner, and remarkably to resume operations in such a short time” said Marc Allaire, head of the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology, noting last fall’s series of PG&E public safety power shutoffs. “And of course now we are going through the time of the shelter-in-place and COVID-19. I am still amazed how the ALS was able to resume operations with a very limited number of staff, enabling critical research to be done on COVID-19 to stop this pandemic,” Allaire said.

Larabell agreed, noting that, “Under extraordinary and unprecedented conditions, Tom made sure ample beam was available for COVID-related experiments.”

“Not a month goes by where I’m not still kind of amazed that they give us the wheel of this amazing scientific instrument and trust us with keeping it working,” said Scarvie. When asked what a good day at the ALS looks like, he described two very different types of good days. “There’s a good day where everything is working perfectly and it’s very boring, and there’s a good day where something really complicated has failed and we need to fix it and collaborate to fix it,” he said. Let’s hope Scarvie has many more good days at the ALS, and that, for the users’ sake, they are mostly the boring type.

Tim Renner was a beamline scientist at the ALS whose battle with cancer cut short a career distinguished by a caring attitude and larger-than-life personality. This award recognizes the services of people across the ALS organization who have made outstanding contributions to the ALS user community.

Tengming Shen Wins Cryogenic Society’s Boom Award

Tengming ShenTengming Shen, a staff physicist in ATAP’s Superconducting Magnet Program, is being given the Roger W. Boom Award by the Cryogenic Society of America. The award will be presented on November 4th at the virtual 2020 Applied Superconductivity Conference.

The award cites “his outstanding research on high-temperature superconducting materials and magnets  and especially his contributions to  understanding the Bi-2212 round wire technology, improving its critical current density by intelligent processing, and demonstrating its excellent properties in prototype accelerator magnets.” It also recognizes Tengming’s activity in “educating and mentoring young research engineers, including underrepresented groups, within a U.S. Department of Energy national lab setting.”

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He and his team are working to transform high-T c superconducting materials into practical magnet conductors in order to build a spectrum of powerful superconducting magnets impossible with low-T c superconductors such as niobium-titanium (Nb-Ti) and niobium-three-tin (Nb 3Sn). One goal is to use these new materials to build a high-field accelerator dipole that is 2.5 times more powerful than the 8.3 T Nb-Ti LHC main dipole, by taking advantage of their excellent ability to carry high current amid high magnetic fields (up to 100 T at 4.2 kelvins).

The work, if successful, will likely also open new avenues to building magnets similar in power to Nb-Ti and Nb 3Sn magnets but operating at 20-77 K.  These would be potentially cheaper to operate than Nb-Ti and Nb 3Sn magnets, which typically work at the liquid-helium temperatures of 1.8 or 4.2 K.

Bismuth-2212 is among the high-temperature superconductors being investigated by the program. Shen and his team are working to transform high-T c superconducting material into practical magnet conductors in order to build a spectrum of powerful superconducting magnets impossible with traditional superconductors such as niobium-titanium (NbTi) and niobium-three-tin (Nb 3Sn).

One goal is to use these new materials to build a high-field accelerator dipole that is 2.5 times more powerful than the 8.3 T Nb-Ti LHC main dipole, by taking advantage of their excellent ability to carry high current amid high magnetic fields (up to 100 T at 4.2 kelvins). The work, if successful, will likely also open new avenues to building magnets similar in power to NbTi and Nb 3Sn magnets but operating at 20-50 K, potentially much cheaper to operate than NbTi and Nb 3Sn magnets, which typically work at the liquid-helium temperatures of 1.8 or 4.2 K.

To effectively generate magnetic fields, practical superconductors need to carry a high engineering current density, J e, of 600 A/mm 2 over long lengths. (J e=I c/A: the critical current of the superconductor divided by the cross section of the composite superconducting wire.)  Tengming and his collaborators have succeeded in understanding microstructures and mechanisms that control I c in superconducting wires of Bi-2212 (the only multifilamentary high-temperature superconducting cuprate round wire). Leveraging an industry, university, and national lab collaboration under the framework of ATAP-headquartered US Magnet Development Program, the team recently improved the J e of Bi-2212 industrial wires to 1000 A/mm 2 at 4.2 K and 27 T and demonstrated that high J e and excellent quench properties are possible with coils fabricated from high-current Bi-2212 Rutherford cables. They are building prototype accelerator magnets using a canted-cosine-theta design developed by Shlomo Caspi and colleagues in ATAP’s Superconducting Magnet Program.

His several other current endeavors include collaborations with Fermilab and Composite Technology Development, Inc., in Colorado a to develop advanced resin and insulation technologies for Nb 3Sn accelerator magnets; with Berkeley Lab’s National Center for Electron Microscopy and the University of California, Berkeley to develop 1-kelvin Nb-Ti superconducting electron microscopes; with Brookhaven National Lab,  KEK and Kyoto University to develop HTS magnets for a high radiation environment; and with an ATAP team led by Lucas Brouwer to develop achromatic, cryogen-free high-T c magnets for proton therapy gantries.

Tengming is a former Peoples Fellow at Fermilab and recipient of a prestigious Early Career Research Program award from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of High Energy Physics. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Florida State University in 2010 with a thesis based on work at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

The Roger W. Boom Award is named in honor of the late emeritus professor from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Boom’s career spanned more than thirty years, during which he motivated a great number of young scientists and engineers to pursue careers in cryogenic engineering and applied superconductivity. This award was created by the CSA to be given to a young professional (under 40 years of age) who “shows promise for making significant contributions to the fields of cryogenic engineering and applied superconductivity. The spirit of the Boom Award is to recognize young people for their pursuit of excellence, demonstration of high standards and clear communications.

Recordings Available of Research Slam Talks

Ligia Diana Amorim Accelerator Modeling Program postdoc Lígia Diana Pinto de Almeida (Diana) Amorim competed in the final round of the third annual Berkeley Lab Research Slam.

In this popular event, styled after poetry and storytelling “slams,” early-career scientists hone their communication and outreach skills as they compete to tell compelling stories about their work in 3 minutes or less. A $3000 grand prize awaited the winner.

The Slam (virtual this time) was live-streamed September 17. If you couldn’t join live, you can catch the full event at to learn more about what some of the brightest young minds through the Lab are doing. A standalone version of Diana’s talk is available on YouTube.

Meanwhile, you can learn more about Diana in
•     A “3Q4” interview by Berkeley Lab Strategic Communications, part of their “ Driving Research” series.
•    This 2019 article on the LBNL Postdoc Association website (which features a recorded video of a Slam-like event at Brookhaven).
•    Her LinkedIn page.

A look at the people behind the science…


Welcome to a new feature of the ATAP Newsletter in which we put three questions to someone from our staff. For this premiere issue, meet two of our people: Paolo Ferracin of the Superconducting Magnet Program and (in a reprint from the Labwide newsletter Elements that inspired our format) ATAP Deputy Division Director for Operations Asmita Patel.

Paolo Ferracin

Paolo Ferracin

Paolo’s career has bridged CERN and Berkeley Lab. After being a research associate and doctoral student at CERN in the late 1990s, he earned his doctorate in 2002 at Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy, where his thesis topic was mechanical and magnetic analysis of the Large Hadron Collider main dipole. Paolo then came to our Superconducting Magnet Program as a postdoctoral researcher and was hired as a staff scientist. In 2011 he moved back to CERN as a staff scientist and project leader, highly involved with the US LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP), then the vehicle for US technical participation in the LHC accelerators. Last year he was successfully recruited back to Berkeley Lab as a Senior Scientist. He serves as a researcher and as deputy in our Superconducting Magnet Program.

What attracted you to Berkeley Lab?

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I have always considered Berkeley Lab a unique laboratory. Throughout my career, I have worked on the R&D of superconducting magnets for particle accelerators. This activity is usually carried out in laboratories dedicated to particle accelerators for nuclear physics or high energy physics applications. Instead, the work performed by the Lab’s Superconducting Magnet Program (SMP), which I joined in February 2020, is done within the framework of a multiprogram science laboratory. The broad spectrum of scientific activities, which include, in the ATAP Division, different technologies of particle accelerators, and, in the other division, energy, environment, computing and bio science, make Berkeley Lab an incredibly stimulating environment. And this is what attracted me here.

From your standpoint, what were the highlights and challenges you had to overcome in FY2020?
Ahh, 2020! How will we ever forget this year?! Well, shelter-in-place was established due to the spread of the COVID-19 in the Bay Area just a few weeks after I started working in the Superconducting Magnet Program. So, adjusting to what has been recurrently called the “new normal” was not easy. Working amidst the uncertainty of the course of the pandemic was for me, and I imagine for many others, the biggest challenge. But I must say that I have been impressed by the resilience of the group and of the Lab in general, and by how everybody, really everybody, worked hard and managed to adjust their work style and schedule in such a way that we could continue to carry out advanced R&D in these difficult times.

What will you focus on in FY2021?
I hope that one of the focuses for next year will be to go back to “good old normal”, characterized by in-person meetings and face-to-face discussions with colleagues on the next generation of superconducting magnets. Apart from this social aspect, and more specifically on the SMP activities, we will continue assembling 4.2 m long Nb 3Sn magnets to be shipped to CERN for the High-Luminosity project. For sure, new and interesting analysis on magnet performance will come from the large amounts of data generated by these magnets. Also, we are entering the engineering design phase of the Test Facility Dipole, a large aperture magnet for High energy and Fusion applications, which will explore the limits of Nb 3Sn superconducting technology. Finally, as part of the Magnet Development Program, we will continue the R&D towards the next generation of particle accelerator magnets, addressing quench performance and the use of new “High-Temperature” superconductors. So, I am sure it will be a very exciting year for the superconducting magnet community. 

Asmita Patel

Adapted from the September 28, 2020 issue of the “ Three Questions For…” column by LBNL Strategic Communications.

3Q4 logo and picture of Asmita PatelLast year the Lab was faced with two Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPSs), which provided unique challenges to a large scientific community such as the Lab. This week we talked with ATAP’s Deputy Division Director for Operations, Asmita Patel, one of the Mission Support Officers who went through the PSPS experience last year and have been preparing for more this season.

After earning a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California, Riverside, Asmita conducted postdoctoral research at UC Santa Barbara. Before coming to LBNL, she worked over 16 years in biotech, healthcare, and diagnostics in the private sector.
 Over the years she earned an executive MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. Asmita came to Berkeley Lab in 2010, working for the Life Sciences Division and then the Physical Sciences Area before taking her present position in 2014.

Asmita was selected to participate in the 2017 UC-Coro, a systemwide leadership program. She has also both participated and facilitated in the SAFE (Safety Academy for Excellence) Workshop, a multi-laboratory collaboration among Berkeley Lab and Argonne and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. Asmita is also part of the Lab’s Emergency Response Team. As the Lab prepared for the PSPSs, she spent many hours last October in the Lab’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) preparing for a shutoff of power, then coordinating the methodical effort to bring equipment in the Physical Sciences Area safely back on line.

How was the experience of working collaboratively within the EOC?

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Teamwork at its best! The first PSPS was unprecedented, and we had to achieve vertical launch. All Lab Operations and Scientific divisions collaborated effectively to power down the equipment, ensure a safe and secure mode throughout the PSPS, and work with a truly dedicated Facilities group during re-energization. All the Mission Support Officers helped each other, and my existing network of relationships across the Laboratory proved extremely helpful. We were all committed to bringing everyone back to work safely.

What was the biggest challenge you faced last year with the PSPS?
We were still bringing equipment back up from the first PSPS when we had to begin planning for the second one. Coordinating site access for staff who needed to check on labs or equipment was a challenge at first. IT came up with a great solution, creating a live editable Google Sheet that allowed EOC staff to organize site access. By the second PSPS, we knew our roles and worked even more smoothly and effectively together.

What will you do differently this year if the Lab needs to go into shutdown and then return to full operations?
The biggest additional challenge this year would be observing COVID-19 hazard control measures while working together in the EOC and not being at the same table or room. Finding ways to make the most of virtual presence will be important. For longer-duration PSPSs, selected scientific/technical staff will need to conduct walkthroughs to check status of research labs/equipment. Prioritizing re-energization of key infrastructure such as chillers and HVAC will be required to expedite the restart of research equipment.


Make Your Online Meetings More Inclusive and Effective

Logo of LBNL's Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability Office The social dynamics of online interaction are different, and that includes making everyone feel welcome and valued and getting the most out of your team. The Lab’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office has posted ideas about how to run inclusive and effective virtual meetings. Their recent virtual brown bag seminar on the subject was recorded and is available online.

The Employee Resource Group All Access is an additional source of materials for making meetings and other activities more inclusive.


Glen Lambertson

Glen Lambertson, whose Berkeley Lab career in accelerator science and technology spanned more than half a century, passed away August 30 in Oakland, CA at the age of 94.

Raised in a farmhouse without electricity, Lambertson would become known for seminal contributions to some of the most advanced and nuanced aspects of particle accelerators, making possible the infrastructure of discovery.

Besides the “Lambertson septum” magnet that is a key part of so many accelerators, Glen made essential contributions to the understanding and control of instabilities in charged-particle beams. The most notable of the many applications in this area are the highly successful transverse and longitudinal feedback systems used at the ALS and PEP-II. Other outstanding contributions include stochastic cooling techniques, damping of higher-order modes in radio frequency cavities, and the understanding of the electron-cloud effect in modern storage rings. He also taught a microwave technology class at several US Particle Accelerator Schools, and in his characteristically quiet and unassuming way, influenced and mentored many accelerator scientists and engineers over the years.

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Glen was born January 14, 1926, near the small coal-mining town of Paonia, Colorado. From a young age he was raised by a single mother, along with his sister and older brothers, during the depth of the Great Depression, doing his homework by the light of a kerosene lantern.

A good student, Glen graduated from high school at 16 and earned a scholarship to the University of Colorado, Boulder—the first in his family to go to college. Just after his sophomore year, the chemical engineering major had to put his education on hold when he was drafted into the Army.

“Oh God, I’m in charge”

Glen Lambertson (center) and 10th Mountain Division comrades, New York City, 1946

Glen (center) and 10th Mountain Division comrades, New York City, 1946

Glen’s daughter Tali Pinkham and his son Roy recalled their father’s account of his wartime experiences. Having grown up in Colorado, he served in the “ski troops” (a capability not actually used during the war) of the Tenth Mountain Division, and fought in their campaign to push German forces out of the Apennines in northern Italy in 1945.

In the battle to take Mount Belvedere, his squad leader was wounded and the assistant squad leader was simultaneously killed by a hand grenade. The 19-year old Glen realized that it was up to him to lead the attack on his squad’s objective, a German gun emplacement, whereupon he thought, at age 19, on his first night of combat, “Oh God, I’m in charge.”

Glen went forward to shoot at the gun emplacement. He had two close calls with German “potato masher” hand grenades that night, and got wounded by friendly fire. A medic gave him morphine and he lay on the battlefield the rest of the night. In the morning he awoke to see German prisoners of war being marched downhill; the Tenth Mountain Division had taken Mount Belvedere.

In an army hospital, Glen’s life was saved by a wonder drug that was just then coming into mainstream use: penicillin. The battle had cost him a kidney and a rib, and he underwent multiple surgeries. He received the Purple Heart and was presented with the Bronze Star by General George P. Hays himself, the commander of the division.

Glen would not go into combat again, but was kept in Italy to do administrative work in a POW camp. After the war, he oversaw the task of sending prisoners back to their hometowns by train. He recalled that the POWs from eastern Germany would try to avoid getting sent back to that region, where they would be under the control of Soviet soldiers.

After a bout with appendicitis, Glen finally came home in 1946, and was able to resume his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado.

Westward to the subatomic realm

At 22, Glen went to UC-Berkeley, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in physics. He began work toward his doctorate, but never completed it, as he was recruited by Berkeley Lab in 1949 and found accelerator technology to be a compelling interest.

Those years also brought a blind date with Betty Jean Smith, a graduate student at Berkeley. They married in 1950 and would remain together until she passed away in 2017.

Bill Wenzel, Bruce Cork, Glen Lambertson, and

L-R: William Wenzel, Bruce Cork, Glen, and Oreste Piccioni, discoverers of the antineutron in 1956. (LBNL photo)

Glen’s career began as an operator at the 184-inch Synchrocyclotron, occasionally with the Lab’s founder and director Ernest O. Lawrence reaching over his shoulder “to turn up a knob.” (Lawrence, a hard driver, wanted to push things to the point where they started to spark.) Moving to the new Bevatron, then the world’s highest-energy accelerator, he might have been part of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the antiproton in 1955, but a competing team went first. The following year he was a member of the team that used the Bevatron to discover the antineutron.

That would have been a promising start to any particle physics career, but the technology that provided the beams was in an exciting era of rapid progress as well. It was the beginning of the “Big Science” era, a concept born at Lawrence’s lab, in which interdisciplinary teams worked together on projects whose scale was uniquely suited to a national laboratory.

Glen’s career became more and more focused on accelerator technology. In the late 1960s, he helped invent a means of resonant extraction that could better divert beams out of the circular Bevatron and through evacuated tubes into an external particle beam hall. The “ Lambertson septum” is used for beam injection and extraction in essentially all of today’s most powerful and important accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. His inventions over the next four decades trace the history of advanced accelerators.

When Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory was formed in the 1960s, he was recruited by Robert Wilson, but soon returned to Berkeley. His association with Fermilab would remain long and productive, though, contributing to proton-antiproton (p-pbar) collider development, particularly in beam cooling (techniques to make a particle beam more orderly for sufficient interaction rate at experiments). In the late 1970s, following shortly after the developments by Simon Van der Meer of CERN in stochastic cooling, he and his team from Berkeley were the first to demonstrate the feasibility of stochastic phase-space cooling of antiprotons in a pilot experiment at the 200-MeV Fermilab cooling test ring. This technique would be an essential part of Tevatron p-pbar operation. He worked with Alvin Tollestrup of Fermilab in developing an electronic feedback system for stochastic cooling, based on a detector called the Schottky pickup. This work helped enable the Tevatron users’ independent validation CERN’s discovery of the W and Z Bosons at CERN and ultimately Fermilab’s discovery of the top quark. His techniques were adopted for rings at Brookhaven National Laboratory as well.

Glen Lambertson at bellows connecting beamlines

Making connections

In the mid 1970s he led the Experimental Superconducting Accelerator Ring ( ESCAR) project, a first attempt to build a small (4 GeV) superconducting accelerator. The goal of ESCAR was to obtain data and experience for planning the larger superconducting machines of the future. While funds were not available to complete the project, two quadrants of dipoles were built and successfully tested, along with the necessary cryogenic and control system infrastructure. Part of the ESCAR legacy at Berkeley Lab is one of the world’s leading programs in superconducting magnets.

Glen also contributed to the design of the Superconducting Super Collider, numerous Snowmass studies for particle physics, analysis of feedback control of space-charge instabilities at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, and radiofrequency devices and system design for control of beam instabilities at PEP-II. Berkeley Lab’s Jose Alonso, whose scientific and management career had a long overlap with Glen’s, described him as “one of those people we all looked up to, the guru for instrumentation and beam dynamics.”

Mentoring and inspiring a new generation of scientists and engineers

The mentorship that Glen had enjoyed in his early days at the Lab, he gave in turn. Generations of accelerator scientists and engineers have benefitted from his gentle and unassuming guidance. Longtime Berkeley Lab colleague Swapan Chattopadhyay, now at Fermilab and Northern Illinois University, was one of his protégés as a graduate student at Berkeley in the mid 1970s. He recalls Glen as a great teacher and mentor who could not only apply physical intuition to difficult subjects, but explain them very lucidly, and who taught at the US Particle Accelerator School on many occasions.

SLAC’s John Seeman worked with Glen in the conceptual design phase of the PEP-II B-meson “factory,” an extremely challenging electron-positron collider built at SLAC in the early-mid 1990s and operated through 2008. He recalls how Glen helped with very detailed calculations and designs for the electromagnetic characteristics of some the most high-powered and beam-interactive components of the storage rings. These devices included megawatt copper RF cavities with higher-order-mode loads and also kilovolt stripline beam feedback kickers; the difficulty was making sure that the ampere beam currents did not destroy these in-vacuum components. Seeman recalls how “Glen’s ability to visualize the electromagnetic effects and their consequences made him crucial for our project. He had a tremendous grasp of the resulting beam heating and pulsed effects on the components and, thus, knew what to do about them.”

He adds, “In addition to being an excellent accelerator physicist, he was a very personable fellow and a great friend to the whole project team.”

John Corlett, now Berkeley Lab’s project management officer, recalls his days as a young scientist, when Glen was a personal and professional role model to him. He cites Glen was very influential in understanding beam stability in storage rings, and in designing broadband feedback systems that control the charged particle bunches in these rings. Early days at the ALS demonstrated high-frequency feedback systems, for which Glen’s contributions in design were critical. Following these demonstrations, Glen was a leading participant in the team that designed and built feedback systems for PEP-II, which were essential to maintain the high current beams stored in the B-Factory rings.

Though he left formal employment in 1991, Glen was one of the many Berkeley Lab scientists to continue their contributions in retirement, working on an impedance study of the LHC Y-Chamber, as well as the muon accelerator program. He remained a contributor to particle accelerator science and technology via conferences and workshops into the 21st century.

Berkeley Lab scientist Harvey Gould, who worked with a long-retired Lambertson on a team developing focusing and decelerating elements and a storage ring for neutral polar molecules, recalls, “At 80 years old, he was just about the fastest learner I have worked with and had the best grasp of effects and consequences. We presented a poster at an accelerator conference and were visited by most of the big names in the field, including a Nobel Laureate or two. They had come by in hopes of finding and talking to Glen. Glen was, of course, at one of the sessions seeing what new things he could learn about.”

Hiroshi Nishimura, who worked with him at the Advanced Light Source and then on atomic and molecular beams, adds, “Glen was generous with his time, kind in his explanations, and skilled at bridging the generational gap. All who were privileged to work with him will miss him.”

Recognition of his contributions included election to Fellowship in the the American Physical Society (1989), the US Particle Accelerator School Prize for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology (1991), and the Robert R. Wilson prize of the American Physical Society (2006).the American Physical Society’s 2006 Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators. Berkeley Lab’s Lambertson Beam Electrodynamics Laboratory was named in his honor.

A life in full

Glen, Jean, and grandchildren

Glen, Jean, and two of their seven grandchildren at Donner Pass

To colleagues, so many of whom he would call friends as well, he was a figure of towering capability, yet a delight to work with. To his family, he was gentle and kindly Grandpa Glen, a man of good nature and bad puns.

Tali recalls life at their Art Deco home in the Oakland hills as a parade of visiting scientists from around the world. Along the way came a sabbatical at CERN in Geneva, along with a trip to Russia that Tali remembers as a major influence on him. The influence of his stay at CERN includes his taste in cars; he drove a series of Citroens, and enjoyed working on them over the weekends. His experiences in Europe influenced their taste in food and drink (he was a lover of fine wine) as well; and he and Jean traveled the world in retirement.

An avid skier until age 82, he taught the sport to all seven of his grandchildren. In 1969 he designed an A-frame cabin and had it built near Donner Pass, “every surface finished to perfection,” as Tali recalls, much as if it were one of his RF devices at work.

Glen was preceded in death by his wife Jean and his siblings Wayne Lambertson, George Lambertson, and Mary Draper. He is survived by children Tali Pinkham and her husband Daniel Pinkham, Roy Lambertson and his wife Leah Lambertson, and Dean Lambertson and his wife Mary Gaines, along with grandchildren Hannah Pinkham, Claire Pinkham, Andrew Pinkham, Clayton Lambertson, Elena Lambertson, Kelly Lambertson, and Trevor Lambertson.

The input and assistance of family members Tali Pinkham and Roy Lambertson, and colleagues Jose Alonso, John Byrd, Swapan Chattopadhyay, John Corlett, Ben Feinberg, Harvey Gould, Derun Li, John Seeman, and John Staples, was invaluable in preparing this appreciation of Glen’s life and work. Photos courtesy Tali Pinkham and Roy Lambertson except as noted.



Alan Jackson

Alan enjoying retirement in Florida.

On September 28, 2020, retired ATAP accelerator physicist Alan Jackson died of cardiac arrest while visiting family in the UK. A longtime leader in the accelerator physics community, Alan had a hand in building synchrotron light sources the world over.

Alan began his career in 1968 at what would become the world’s first dedicated x-ray synchrotron light facility, the Synchrotron Radiation Source (SRS) in Daresbury, UK. In 1985, he came to Berkeley Lab, where he headed the accelerator physics group of the ALS during its design, construction, and early years of operation.

More …

Alan Jackson in his Daresbury years

The Daresbury years. Left: When Alan started there in 1968, Daresbury was a high-energy physics laboratory, and he worked on a diamond target for NINA, a 5-GeV electron synchrotron. Intended for particle physics, NINA soon came to be used as a synchrotron radiation source. The SRS, first purpose-built synchrotron light source, was approved for construction in 1974 and produced first light in 1980. Right: Celebrating the last SRS magnet to be measured at their new computer-controlled magnet measurement facility, ca. 1979. (From “Accelerator Science at Daresbury—the early years,” a slide presentation by Vic Suller of Louisiana State University)

Jay Marx, Ronald Yourd, Brian Kincaid, and Alan Jackson at the ALS construction site. (Marilee B Bailey/Berkeley Lab)

“He was one of the founding fathers of the ALS,” recalled Howard Padmore, ALS photon science development lead. Other colleagues had a ready list of his numerous accomplishments and contributions.

“Alan had a major impact on the ALS in the design, construction, commissioning, and early operations phases,” said David Robin, now director of the ALS Upgrade Project. “He encouraged the accelerator team to push the boundaries of the accelerator to see what was possible. Almost everything we tried was new and we learned so much,” he added.

Alan’s work was at the very root of the ALS in the mid-1980s—pioneering the third generation of synchrotron light sources—and he played a key role in the team effort that led to its smooth commissioning and operation. Fernando Sannibale, current ALS deputy for accelerator operations, explained, “Following up on an original idea by Gaetano Vignola, Alan refined and implemented the novel triple-bend-achromat lattice at the ALS.” This type of “lattice,” or array of magnets that steer the electron beam in its orbit, was later adopted for a number of high-brightness synchrotron light sources worldwide in the energy range of the ALS.

“Yesss!” Alan Jackson (right), ALS accelerator group leader, along with Ben Feinberg, ALS head of operations, and accelerator operator Cheryl Hauck, cheer the moment the ALS ceased being simply an electron accelerator and became a working light source. Time: 11:34 p.m., Oct. 4, 1993. Photo courtesy David Atwood, Berkeley Lab.

The intricacies of designing such a machine were compounded by the realities of repurposing a historical building atop a hill and near a fault line, but the team persevered, and the ALS achieved first light in 1993. Alan’s expertise in accelerator design continued to prove essential as the ALS moved to expand its portfolio. Together with Werner Joho of Paul Scherrer Institute, he had another idea that would greatly extend the user service at the ALS: installing superconducting bend magnets.

Each of the 12 sets of triple-bend achromats was made up of a series of three magnets, the magnets on either end mirroring each other. This symmetrical arrangement enabled the center magnet to be replaced without undesirable effects, so superconducting dipoles were substituted in the center position in three sectors of the storage ring. The three Superbends were commissioned in Fall 2001 and have provided light for Nobel-prize-winning work and world-leading programs in structural biology, high-pressure diffraction, microdiffraction, chemical crystallography, and tomography ever since.

Alan served as deputy director of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division and as head of its Superconducting Magnet Program before his retirement from the Lab in 2008. His experience made him the natural candidate to lead the development of the Australian Synchrotron. Impressed with their visit to Berkeley Lab, a senior delegation from Australia asked Alan to be the technical director for their design task group.

“Alan was highly regarded in his field,” wrote Dean Morris, head of operations for the Australian Synchrotron. Alan’s four years there helped the project quickly design a storage ring and achieve first light in a relatively short period of time. “He made a lot of friends when he was in Australia and will be sorely missed by many,” said Morris.

Former Director of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division Bill Barletta encapsulated Alan’s personable and effective management style, saying, “He had superb relations with the technical and administrative staff and was an ideal source of ‘ground truth’ when those who knew firsthand would generally clam up to ‘the management.’” Robin agreed, saying, “Alan was a dynamic and supportive leader. As a young accelerator physicist, I remember those first few years of operation being tremendously exciting, fun, and fruitful.”

The global accelerator community mourns not just the loss of Alan’s expertise, but also his friendship and joie de vivre. Besides his distinguished contributions to accelerator physics, Alan greatly enjoyed life away from work and was an avid sailor, sports car enthusiast, and center of a wide network of friendship. Padmore said, “He was a larger-than-life person who lived life to the fullest and was the life and soul of ALS in its early years.” Kem Robinson, retired senior physicist and former head of the Lab’s Engineering Division and Project Management Office, concluded, “Alan wasn’t afraid to take on whatever needed to be done for the greater good. Yes, he will be missed.”

Alan, Ina Reichel, and Christoph Steier at a get-together of the ALS Accelerator Physics Group.

After an article by ALS Communications, with contributions by Joe Chew, John Corlett, Steve Gourlay, Cindy Lee, Howard Padmore, Ina Reichel, David Robin, Fernando Sannibale, and Tony Warwick. Top photo courtesy Christine Jackson.


Please see the Publications tab of this website for a complete listing.

S.K. Barber, J.H. Bin, A.J. Gonsalves, F. Isono, J. van Tilborg, S. Steinke, K. Nakamura (LBNL); A. Zingale, N.A. Czapla, D. Schumacher (Ohio State University); C.B. Schroeder, C.G.R. Geddes (LBNL); W.P. Leemans (presently DESY); and E. Esarey (LBNL), “A compact, high resolution energy, and emittance diagnostic for electron beams using active plasma lenses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 116, 23 (11 June 2020), 234108;

Xiaorong Wang (LBNL); Dmytro Abraimov (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory); Diego Arbelaez, Timothy J. Bogdanof, Lucas Brouwer, Shlomo Caspi, Daniel Dietderich (LBNL); Joseph DiMarco (Fermilab); Ashleigh Francis (NHFML); Laura Garcia Fajardo, William Ghiorso, Steve Gourlay, Hugh Higley, Maxim Marchevsky, Maxwell A. Maruszewski (LBNL); Cory S. Myers (Fermilab and Ohio State University); Soren Prestemon, Tengming Shen, Jordan Taylor, Reed Teyber, Marcos Turqueti (LBNL); Danko C van der Laan, and Jeremy D Weiss (Advanced Conductor Technologies and University of Colorado, Boulder), “Development and performance of a 2.9 Tesla dipole magnet using high-temperature superconducting CORC® wires,” Superconductor Science and Technology (accepted 19 October 2020, in press),



— Staying safe amid the second wave of COVID-19


"Swiss Cheese" metaphor from Cleveland Clinic

The Swiss Cheese metaphor explains multiple layers of protection. (Cleveland Clinic)

As we have seen in Lab Director Mike Witherell’s e-mails, the Bay Area has been doing well at “flattening the curve” even as a second wave of the pandemic begins nationwide. Alameda County has one of the better records, and Berkeley is even better than the county in general.

COVID-19 visualization courtesy CDC


This is the context that has allowed Berkeley Lab to progress into the Pilot 2c phase of an interim new normal, with some 61 ATAP people individually approved by management to work onsite on any given day, after training on hygiene and social-distancing protocols and self-monitoring for symptoms.

Let’s keep going in the right direction! Wear a face covering, maintain social distance, and pay attention to hand-washing… not just at work, but when out in public places as well. For more information on how Berkeley Lab is re-opening safely and what you can do, visit

COVID-19 precautions at the Lab

Berkeley Lab precautions for working onsite. Click for details.

New Safety Training Module

A new training module, LBL 0014, “ISM Briefing for Return to Work” is now available. It is “recommended” training for all staff until the end of January 2021, at which time it will become mandatory for all staff.

Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot

The Lab is encouraging all personnel to get a flu shot. If you work on any Lab site and need to receive a flu vaccine, call Health Services at 510-486-6266 to schedule an appointment. If you are a teleworker, check with your personal health care professional and local pharmacies for your flu shot.

Working Onsite Means Emptying Our Own Personal Waste Bins

Recycling bins

In furtherance of social distancing and building occupancy limits, custodians are no longer entering offices and other individual workspaces to empty personal waste bins. If you come onsite to work, please sort your own materials into the centralized recyclables, compost, and landfill bins.

The Berkeley Lab Waste Guide shows what should go into each bin.

Eating At Your Desk Without Making Plastic Waste

Cutlery set

Reusable > disposable

To help reduce the use of disposable utensils when we are usually eating in our own offices, Sustainable Berkeley Lab is providing free stainless cutlery sets (one set per person) that come in a handy zippered pouch. Fill out the form, and one will be sent to your mailstop.