Jeffrey B. Neaton has been appointed Associate Laboratory Director for the Energy Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The announcement follows an international search led by committee chair Horst Simon, Deputy Director for Research.
Neaton is the Director of the Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Nanoscale Science Research Center at Berkeley Lab. He joined the Molecular Foundry as a postdoctoral scholar in 2003, prior to the construction of the building. Throughout his career at the Molecular Foundry, Neaton has been an integral member of the team that built the facility into a world-leading nanoscience center. In 2008, Neaton became the Theory Facility Director, and was appointed Deputy Director of the Materials Sciences Division (MSD) in early 2011. From August 2012 to June 2013, he served as the Acting Division Director for the Materials Sciences Division before being appointed Director of the Foundry in 2013, which has flourished under his leadership. In 2015, it assumed operational control of the National Center for Electron Microscopy, and in 2016, the Molecular Foundry was elevated to the status of a Berkeley Lab Scientific Division. Neaton will serve as Acting Director of the Foundry until a search for his replacement is completed.
Neaton also serves as a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute. In addition, he is Associate Director of the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Energy Materials, a DOE Computational Materials Sciences Center.
Neaton received his Ph.D. in physics under Neil Ashcroft from Cornell University in 2000. He was a postdoctoral scholar at Rutgers University prior to joining Berkeley Lab. An internationally recognized theorist working at the intersection of physics, chemistry, and materials science, Neaton is a 2009 recipient of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in recognition of his theoretical and computational approaches to understanding and controlling novel physical phenomena at the nanoscale. In 2007, he received a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Outstanding Performance Award for his contributions to the Molecular Foundry.
Neaton has served as a Panel Lead and has been an active participant in numerous DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences Basic Research Needs workshops, and has served on advisory boards on major materials science programs.
Neaton is a fellow of the American Physical Society and serves on its Division of Materials Physics executive committee. He is a Division Associate Editor for the journal Physical Review Letters.
Neaton’s research frequently occurs in close collaboration with experiment. An author of over 170 publications, his current research emphasizes the development and use of ab initio and analytical methods for the understanding of complex and correlated condensed phases of organic and inorganic solids, nanoscale materials, and interfaces; electronic excited state phenomena, including quasiparticle and optical excitations; weak interactions in nanoporous materials; low-dimensional transport behavior; and new quantum phenomena. An important context for his research has been renewable energy, where complex materials, excited states, oxides, organics, and interfaces feature prominently.