Investigations into the mysteries of the universe and matter at the most fundamental
levels, and ground-breaking research into the application of nanomaterials to
energy production, storage and conservation were recognized by the U.S. Department
of Energy in announcing the first recipients of its Early Career Research Program.
Four scientists with the Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) - Christian Bauer, Delia
Milleron, Feng Wang and Feng Yuan - were among the 69 recipients from
across the nation who will divide up to $85 million in five-year research grants
under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"This investment reflects the Obama Administration's strong commitment
to creating jobs and new industries through scientific innovation," said
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu who announced the winners. "Strong support
of scientists in the early career years is crucial to renewing America's
scientific workforce and ensuring U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation
for many years to come."
Said Berkeley Lab director Paul Alivisatos, a strong proponent of this program,
"I am delighted that DOE has recognized these four young Berkeley Lab
scientists with Early Career Research awards. Each of their proposed projects
had my full support for submission because each represents outstanding science
that complements the strategic direction of this laboratory and supports the
DOE Office of Science mission."
- Christian Bauer - Bauer is a physicist with Berkeley Lab's Physics
Division whose project is titled, "GENEVA: An NLO event generator for
the Large Hadron Collider." His focus for the Early Career Research
grant is on the complex particle collisions that will take place at CERN's
Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and highest energy
particle collider. Drawing on the vast computational resources of the National
Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), which is located at Berkeley
Lab, Bauer wants to develop a "full-fledged event generator" that
will help experimenters discover and analyze new particles and forces at the
- Delia Milleron - Milleron directs the Inorganic Nanostructures Facility
for Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, one of the five DOE Nanoscale
Science Research Centers. Her project is titled, "Inorganic nanocomposite
electrodes for electrochemical energy storage and energy conservation."
The goal is to develop solution-processed inorganic nanocomposite materials
for efficient energy conversion, storage, and conservation devices, such as
battery electrodes and electrochromic window coatings. "Inorganic nanocomposites
have recently emerged as a means of controlling the properties of electronic
materials through morphology, as well as composition to give rise to combinations
of properties not generally found in homogeneous, singlephase materials,"
Milleron says. "I have recently demonstrated a new method for preparing
inorganic nanocomposites from solution-processible nanoparticle and molecular
building blocks in a combinatorial manner."
- Feng Wang - Wang holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab's Materials
Sciences Division and the University of California, Berkeley Physics Department,
where he leads the Ultrafast Nano-Optics group. His project is titled, "Control
Graphene Electronic Structure for Energy Technology." Graphene is a
one-atom thick sheet of carbon that displays extraordinary electrical and
mechanical properties, and is widely touted for its potential use in energy
technologies. Wang's goal is to understand and control this nanomaterial's
novel electrical, vibrational and optical behavior. "Unlike what is
seen in normal metals or semiconductors, electrons in graphene travel like
the massless relativistic photons that make up light," Wang says. "Graphene
also exhibits incredible structural flexibility, mechanical strength, and
unusual optical properties, but what is most remarkable is the possibility
of being able to modify and control these properties through interlayer coupling,
nanoscale patterning and electrical gating."
- Feng Yuan - Yuan is a physicist with Berkeley Lab's Nuclear Sciences
Division. His project is titled, "Theoretical Investigation of Nucleon
Structure." The goal is to develop a theoretical framework and phenomenological
techniques that could lead to a better understanding of nucleons - the
collective name for the protons and neutrons that make up the nucleus of an
atom. "Understanding the structure of the nucleon is a fundamental question
in sub-atomic physics, and it has been under intensive investigation for the
last several years," Yuan says. "Modern research focuses in particular
on the spin and the gluonic structure of the nucleon, which are key questions
in current nuclear physics and major driving forces for research programs
at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and the Jefferson Lab."