Today at Berkeley Lab

Lab Connections to 2018 Nobel Prize Winners

During this week of Nobel Prize announcements, the scientific background report accompanying the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics – which is shared by Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, and Donna Strickland – discusses R&D on laser-driven plasma accelerators led by Wim Leemans at the Lab’s BELLA Center. The laser at the heart of BELLA is driven by a chirped pulse amplification system, a technology that was recognized by this year’s prize.

Also, Frances Arnold of Caltech, one of the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was a founding member of the Lab’s Biosciences Expert Advisory Committee, which was set up in 2013 to help develop a Biosciences Strategic Plan, and she served for many years on the Joint BioEnergy Institute’s (JBEI’s) Scientific Advisory Committee.

Additionally, Arnold has collaborated with scientists to use the Lab’s Advanced Light Source for studies of engineered proteins, and also has collaborated with researchers at the Molecular Foundry. Arnold received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and also participated in postdoctoral research there. Her Ph.D. supervisor was Harvey Blanch, who had served as the chief science and technology officer at JBEI until his retirement in 2014.

Another campus connection to this year’s Nobel announcements: Immunologist James P. Allison, who shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was recognized for groundbreaking work during his time as director of the UC Berkeley Cancer Research Laboratory.