The Nuclear Science Division has administrative offices in Building 50, Room 4037. NSD, along with the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division, the Physics Division, and the Engineering Division make up the Physical Sciences.
Phone Number: (510) 486-5146
Fax: (510) 486-6003
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Nuclear Science Division
1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720-8153
Please Note: The mail stop must be replaced by the mail stop of the intended recipient.
Volker Koch, NSD Director (Interim)
Barbara Jacak Steps Down as NSD Director in Return to Research
Longtime nuclear theorist Volker Koch is acting director
Barbara Jacak, a faculty senior scientist who for the past six years led Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division (NSD), has left that role to devote more time to scientific research, and in particular to R&D for the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) project, which will be built at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Jacak is also maintaining her academic duties as a physics professor at UC Berkeley.
Volker Koch, a theorist and senior physicist in Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division (NSD) who has previously served as the division’s program head for Nuclear Theory and deputy director for Low Energy Nuclear Science, has stepped in to serve as its acting director, effective Feb. 1, 2021. A committee will be formed to hire a permanent replacement for the position.
“Under Barbara’s leadership NSD has prospered, and she will now be able to turn her full attention to the next generation Electron-Ion Collider project,” said Natalie Roe, Physical Sciences Area director. “I’m grateful that Volker has agreed to take over as interim division director, and know he will keep a steady hand on the tiller.”
Manager role offered variety
Jacak, who described her management approach as, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said she was happy to find the director position to be very engaging. While her own research interests have revolved around heavy-ion collisions and studies of the so-called “subatomic soup” of the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) unleashed from atomic nuclei in these ultrahigh-temperature events, her time as director exposed her to the breadth of nuclear science research taking place at Berkeley Lab and in experiments involving Berkeley Lab around the globe.
A past role as a spokesperson for the international collaboration in a QGP experiment called PHENIX at Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider also helped prepare her for the role in management at Berkeley Lab, she said.
“I thought being director was interesting and fun, and I really enjoyed learning a lot of other aspects of nuclear physics,” Jacak said. “What do people do to understand nuclear structure? Is the neutrino its own antiparticle? How does gamma-ray-tracking work? There are all of these other aspects of nuclear physics we do in NSD that I knew only a little bit about.” She added, “As a manager, it became the cool stuff that we do. That experience is very helpful when we go back to doing our own research in our own corner of the field.”
She said that she felt compelled not to serve too long in the division director role. “I think it’s really important for these (management) types of jobs to be rotated around to different people,” she said. “It brings a new energy and somewhat different focus. I think an institution is healthiest if they get that shot of change every now and then.”
Excitement over the fast-developing EIC
While Jacak did find some time to participate in QGP research while serving as NSD director, she half-joked that her research career had been relegated to nights and weekends because of the demands of serving as division director.
Her excitement about the EIC project, and the fact that the project is already advancing – its first DOE milestone, known as CD-0, was in January 2020, and its construction will take about a decade – definitely prompted Jacak to consider a return to research at this time. “I expected it would be built,” she said, but not to be at this stage yet. Jacak will also spend some time on the ALICE Experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and a successor experiment to PHENIX called sPHENIX that is expected to begin taking data in 2023 – Berkeley Lab will assemble a detector component for it called a silicon pixel vertex tracker.
Berkeley Lab researchers have been involved in a variety of R&D efforts to support the construction of the EIC, too. Jacak and collaborators from five other UC institutions had received a UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives award in 2019 to develop a consortium working on EIC projects. That consortium was tasked with designing and building two detector systems for the EIC, with access to computing resources at Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and substantial contributions by students. The team just got notice that it will receive another four years of support from the UC Office of the President.
Academic aspect of job has its own rewards
Working with students as a UC professor and at Berkeley Lab has been a rewarding aspect of her work, she said. “We are the most academic of the national labs, with our close proximity to and connection with UC Berkeley. We have a lot of faculty senior scientists and a lot of postdocs, and undergrad and grad students. I have enjoyed working with students immensely.”
Prior to her time at Berkeley Lab, Jacak taught for 18 years at Stony Brook University in New York, and before that spent 12 years as a scientific staff member in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Physics Division. A San Francisco Bay Area native, she received her bachelor’s degree in science at UC Berkeley and her doctorate at Michigan State University.
Jacak said she is encouraged by the diversity in the student population she sees coming through Berkeley Lab and campus these days. “I think it’s a real strength for us.”
A vision for the next science device
Koch should have a smooth transition into his role as acting division director, Jacak said, as he is well-known across NSD and knows Berkeley Lab well. “He’s ready to hit the ground running,” she said.
Past experience overseeing the science program at Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron and running the division’s theory program gave Koch experience in management, and he said he doesn’t expect any surprises in his transition to the new role.
“I see my role in keeping things afloat and keeping things together,” Koch said, noting that Jacak’s hands-off management style was welcome to him. “She certainly didn’t micromanage us,” he said.
“I want to run this as a team,” Koch said, “and to try to get all the ideas on the table. I think that will create a productive and healthy environment for everyone.”
Koch arrived at Berkeley Lab in 1995 as a divisional fellow after obtaining undergraduate and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Giessen in Germany, and after serving from 1990-94 as a visiting assistant professor at Stony Brook University. He was promoted to senior physicist at Berkeley Lab in 1999. Koch specializes in theories relating to heavy-ion collisions and strongly interacting matter.
He noted that Berkeley Lab has always been a breeding ground for “all kinds of accelerators” and “innovative instrumentation,” and he would like to see that legacy carried on within NSD. “Maybe we can invent the next ‘gadget’ – we can start and seed the next thing,” he said.
Getting back to face-to-face communication
Koch also said he looks forward to the time when person-to-person discussions can resume as a normal part of collaboration and brainstorming at Berkeley Lab. “People need to be together in the coffee breaks and actually talking to one another,” he said, noting that some researchers and staff are getting burnt out on Zoom-based web meetings.
These are exciting times for the nuclear science field, with the beginning stages of the EIC, he noted, and also with the realization of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University, which is a nuclear science facility and the U.S. Department of Energy’s newest user facility.
FRIB, which will launch next year, will incorporate GRETA, a 3D Gamma-Ray Detector that Berkeley Lab has a lead role in.
Also in the near future, there will be a decision to down-select the next-gen neutrinoless beta decay experiment, which the Lab will play a role in.
- “Barbara Jacak Receives 2019 Distinguished Scientist Fellow Award,” Oct. 16, 2019
- “Barbara Jacak Appointed as Director of Nuclear Science Division,” Jan. 5, 2015
|Volker Koch||Division Director (Interim)||5323||6003||VKoch at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Alan Poon||Division Deputy||2467||6003||AWPoon at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Sandy Ritterbusch||Executive Assistant||5146||6003||SERitterbusch at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Zuting Liu||Pr. Resource Analyst||6953||6003||TLiu at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Laura Stine||Pr. Resource Analyst||495-2146||6003||LStine at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Tom Gallant||Program Manager||7022||6003||TGGallant at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Jeff Bramble||Safety Coordinator||6242||6003||JRBramble at lbl.gov||75R0123|
|Marcia Ocon Leimer||HR Center Manager||4904||2201||MOcon_Leimer at lbl.gov||59R3022B|
|LaTonja Wright||Sr. HR Division Partner||495-2772||6003||LSWright at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Kelly Rushing||HR Division Partner||5683||6003||KRushing at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Tasha Oliver||HR Assistant||495-2233||6003||LOliver at lbl.gov||50R4049|
Scientific Administrative/Operations Staff
|Name||Scientific Program||Phone||Fax||Mail Stop|
|Lady Bonifacio||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions/Nuclear Theory||4974||4818||LBonifacio at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Dorothy Kenlow||Applied Nuclear Physics/Neutrinos||7535||7983||DIKenlow at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Kymba A’Hearn||88-Inch Cyclotron Users/Ops/Low Energy||6780||7983||KSAHearn at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Nicolas Abgrall||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-599-9223||NAbgrall at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Nicole Jean Apadula||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7264||NicoleApadula at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|John R Arrington||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-6608||JArrington at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Mark ShenYu Bandstra||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-495-8171||MSBandstra at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Paul Joseph Barton||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-6644||PJBarton at lbl.gov||70A3363|
|M Shamsuzzoha Basunia||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-7648||SBasunia at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Janilee Y Benitez||88-Inch Cyclotron||510-486-7843||JYBenitez at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Lee Bernstein||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-4951||LABernstein at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Christopher Michael Campbell||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-4877||CMCampbell at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Chiara Capelli||Neutrinos||510-486-7850||CCapelli at lbl.gov||50R5032|
|Rebecca Michelle Dales Carney||Neutrinos||510-859-5615||RCarney at lbl.gov||50R5032|
|Joshua William Cates||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-4293||JCates at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Irakli Chakaberia||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-502-7231||iraklic at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Chun Ho Chow||Applied Nuclear Physics||CHChow at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Roderick M Clark||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-4243||RMClark at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Alberto Collu||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7264||AlbertoCollu at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Reynold J Cooper||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-7296||RJCooper at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Heather Lynn Crawford||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-5702||HLCrawford at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Mario Cromaz||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-4187||MCromaz at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Reynier Cruz Torres||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-6608||reynier at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Joey Curtis||Applied Nuclear Physics||831-227-6231||JCCurtis at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Xin Dong||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-4121||XDong at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Alexander Donoghue||88-Inch Cyclotron||510-486-6196||ADonoghue at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Alexey Drobizhev||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-5657||ADrobizhev at lbl.gov||70A3363|
|Paul Fallon||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-7018||PFallon at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Wenqing Fan||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-6608||wenqing at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Micah Folsom||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-7984||MFolsom at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Brian K Fujikawa||Neutrinos||510-486-4398||BKFujikawa at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Jacklyn M Gates||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-7847||JMGates at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Bethany Goldblum||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-5235||bethany at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Leo Greiner||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7274||LCGreiner at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Abdennacer Hamdi||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7561||AHamdi at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Wick C Haxton||Nuclear Theory||510-486-6539||WCHaxton at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Daniel Hellfeld||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-495-8184||DHellfeld at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Erik Ben Hoerz||Nuclear Theory||510-486-4053||hoerz at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Barbara V Jacak||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-6608||BVJacak at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Peter M Jacobs||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-5413||PMJacobs at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Yuanjing Ji||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-944-6548||YuanjingJi at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Michael B Johnson||88-Inch Cyclotron||510-486-4389||MBJohnson at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Tenzing Henry Yatish Joshi||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-4789||THJoshi at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Daniel Kasen||Nuclear Theory||510-495-2683||DKasen at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Spencer Klein||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-5470||SRKlein at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Ho San Ko||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-495-2951||H-S.Ko at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Yury Kolomensky||Neutrinos||510-486-7811||YGKolomensky at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Yue Shi Lai||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||408-702-5147||ylai at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Bjoern Lehnert||Neutrinos||510-486-6989||BjoernLehnert at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Yue-Hang Leung||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-4121||YHLeung at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Shujie Li||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-5401||ShujieLi at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Augusto O Macchiavelli||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-4428||AOMacchiavelli at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Yuan Mei||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7781||YMei at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Alex Moran||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-7296||AlexMoran at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Luciano G Moretto||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-5510||LGMoretto at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Victor Negut||Applied Nuclear Physics||714-552-7257||VNegut at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Grazyna Odyniec||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7128||G_Odyniec at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Saehanseul Oh||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7128||saehanseul.oh at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Gabriel Orebi Gann||Neutrinos||510-495-8235||GOrebiGann at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Rodney Orford||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-7860||ROrford at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Ryan Pavlovsky||Applied Nuclear Physics||731-377-1469||RTPavlovsky at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Larry W Phair||88-Inch Cyclotron||510-486-7958||LWPhair at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Mateusz Andrzej Ploskon||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-7561||MPloskon at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Alan Poon||Neutrinos||510-495-2467||AWPoon at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Jennifer Louise Pore||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||510-486-7402||JPore at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Brian J Quiter||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-6776||BJQuiter at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Felix Maximilian Ringer||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-4474||FMRinger at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Marco Salathe||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-7570||MSalathe at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Ann-Kathrin Schuetz||Neutrinos||510-486-7845||ASchuetz at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Ernst P Sichtermann||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-5401||EPSichtermann at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Timothy James Symons||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-486-5670||TJSymons at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Joanna Szornel||Applied Nuclear Physics||JSzornel at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|James H Thomas||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-759-4936||JHThomas at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Damon S Todd||88-Inch Cyclotron||510-486-5707||DSTodd at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Karl A Van Bibber||Low Energy Nuclear Physics||KAvanBibber at lbl.gov||50R4049|
|Jayson Robert Vavrek||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-4789||jvavrek at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Kai Vetter||Applied Nuclear Physics||510-486-4293||KVetter at lbl.gov||50C3396|
|Volodymyr Vovchenko||Nuclear Theory||510-486-5323||vovchenko at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Andre Walker-Loud||Nuclear Theory||510-486-5652||AWalker-Loud at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Xin-Nian Wang||Nuclear Theory||510-486-5239||XNWang at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Bradford C Welliver||Neutrinos||510-486-5058||BCWelliver at lbl.gov||50R5008|
|Jennifer Rittenhouse West||Nuclear Theory||510-486-5626||jennifer at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Daniel Zuqi Xie||88-Inch Cyclotron||510-486-4201||ZQXie at lbl.gov||88R0192|
|Guannan Xie||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-965-8919||GuannanXie at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Nu Xu||Relativistic Nuclear Collisions||510-495-2951||NXu at lbl.gov||70R0319|
|Feng Yuan||Nuclear Theory||510-486-5626||FYuan at lbl.gov||70R0319|