Today at Berkeley Lab

Preschooler Science Enthusiast Piques Minds and Wins Hearts

kid visit

A devoted father in Los Angeles inquires about visiting Berkeley Lab because his son is so captivated by chemistry and the elements that he has memorized the Periodic Table and draws it for fun. He wears glasses to be like Tom Lehrer, the UC Professor who put the periodic table to music in 1959. And he’s just 4 ½.

“My wife and I are not particularly science-focused,” wrote Matt Pizzolo, “this is all him. He’s made chemistry very cool at his preschool—it’s right up there next to Frozen and the Lego Movie.” With that began a correspondence that would young Isaac and his Mom, Kate Nisa, to Berkeley Lab a couple of weeks ago.

horst and kidTheir day started in the 50 Lobby where Deputy Director Horst Simon (left) showed him around the historic items on E.O. Lawrence’s desk and added a Safety is Elemental pin to his Periodic Table tee-shirt.Deputy Director Simon gently asked him, “ What is Element 13, by the way?” “It is,” said Izzy looking up and without a glimpse to his shirt, “aluminum.”

kid-zuckermanFrom there, the budding scientist would visit the ALS where Roger Falcone and Dula Parkinson (top photo, left and right) let him see the visual wonders of x-ray tomography.

Next stop was the Molecular Foundry, where he explored an array of peppytides with Ron Zuckermann (left) and Julien Muzard. Izzy even scored a model of an amino acid to take home. His last tour brought him to NCEM, where Peter Ercius taught him about the instrument’s atomic resolution and 3-D imaging.


At each moment of astonishment, Izzy, pictured above at NCEM, would dance and laugh with happiness. He dreams one day of running a science You Tube channel and he’s already working on his white boards. If his passion and delight for science continues at this pace, this special visitor might return in a professional capacity to Berkeley Lab someday.

Go here to see more photos from Izzy’s visit at the Advanced Light Source.

— By Nicole Pagano

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  1. Super cute!

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