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Nuclear Science Division Staff

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

Mailing Address:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Nuclear Science Division
1 Cyclotron Road
Mailstop 50B5239 
Berkeley, CA 94720-8153

Please Note: The mail stop must be replaced by the mail stop of the intended recipient.

Division Director

Volker Koch, NSD Director (Interim) 
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.

More

Division Office Staff

Name

Position

Phone

Fax

Email

Mail Stop

Volker Koch

Division Director (Interim)

5323

6003

VKoch at lbl.gov

50R4049

Alan PoonDivision Deputy24676003AWPoon at lbl.gov50R4049

Sandy Ritterbusch

Executive Assistant

5146

6003

SERitterbusch at lbl.gov

50R4049

Zuting Liu

Pr. Resource Analyst

6953

6003

TLiu at lbl.gov

50R4049

Laura StinePr. Resource Analyst495-21466003LStine at lbl.gov50R4049
Tom GallantProgram Manager70226003TGGallant at lbl.gov50R4049
Jeff BrambleSafety Coordinator62426003JRBramble at lbl.gov75R0123

Marcia Ocon Leimer

HR Center Manager

4904

2201

MOcon_Leimer at lbl.gov

59R3022B

Carolyn Charles

Sr. HR Division Partner

6619

5842

CGCharles at lbl.gov

50R4049

Kelly RushingHR Assistant22336003KRushing at lbl.gov50R4049

Scientific Administrative/Operations Staff

Name

Scientific Program

Phone

Fax

Email

Mail Stop

Lady Bonifacio

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

4974

4818

LBonifacio at lbl.gov

70R0319

Dorothy KenlowApplied Nuclear Physics/Low Energy75357983DIKenlow at lbl.gov88R0192
Kymba A'Hearn88-Inch Cyclotron Users/Ops67807983KSAHearn at lbl.gov88R0192

Scientific Staff

Name

Project

Phone

Email

Mail Stop

John ArringtonRelativistic Nuclear Collisions630-452-9901JArrington at lbl.gov70R0319
Shamsuzzoha BasuniaNuclear Data7648SBasunia at lbl.gov88R0192
Lee BernsteinNuclear Data4951LABernstein at lbl.gov88R0192

Edgardo Brown Moreno

Nuclear Data

7647

EBrowne at lbl.gov

88R0192

Joseph Cerny III

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

7852

JCerny at lbl.gov

88R0192

Yuen-Dat Chan

Neutrinos

7848

YDChan at lbl.gov

50R5008

Roderick M. Clark

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

4243

RMClark at lbl.gov

88R0192

Ren CooperApplied Nuclear Physics7296RJCooper at lbl.gov50C3396
Heather CrawfordLow Energy Nuclear Physics5702HLCrawford at lbl.gov88RO192

Mario Cromaz

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

4187

MCromaz at lbl.gov

88R0192

Paul Fallon

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

7018

PFallon at lbl.gov

88R0192

Richard B. Firestone

Nuclear Data

7646

RBFirestone at lbl.gov

88R0192

Brian K. Fujikawa

Neutrinos

4398

BKFujikawa at lbl.gov

50R5008

Jackie Gates

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

7847

JMGates at lbl.gov

88R0192

Bethany GoldblumNuclear Data5235bethany at lbl.gov88R0192
Leo C. GreinerRelativistic Nuclear Collisions7274LCGreiner at lbl.gov70R0319
Wick C. HaxtonNuclear Theory6539WCHaxton at lbl.gov70R0319

Peter M. Jacobs

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

5413

PMJacobs at lbl.gov

70R0319

Dan KasenNuclear Theory495-2683DKasen at lbl.gov70R0319

Spencer Klein

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

5470

SRKlein at lbl.gov

50R5008

Volker Koch

Nuclear Theory

5323

VKoch at lbl.gov

70R0319

Yury KolomenskyNeutrinos7811YGKolomensky at lbl.gov50R5008

I-Yang Lee

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

5727

IYLee at lbl.gov

88R0192

Claude M. Lyneis

88-Inch Operations

7815

CMLyneis at lbl.gov

88R0192

Augusto O. Macchiavelli

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

4428

AOMacchiavelli at lbl.gov

88R0192

Howard S. Matis

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

5031

HSMatis at lbl.gov

70R0319

Luciano G. Moretto

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

5510

LGMoretto at lbl.gov

88R0192

Grazyna Odyniec

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

7128

G_Odyneic at lbl.gov

70R0319

Gabriel Orebi Gann

Neutrinos

8235

GOrebiGann at lbl.gov

50R5008

Larry W. Phair

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

7958

LWPhair at lbl.gov

88R0192

Art Poskanzer

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

5618

AMPoskanzer at lbl.gov

70R0319

Brian QuiterApplied Nuclear Physics6776BJQuiter at lbl.gov50C3396

Jorgen Randrup

Nuclear Theory

6157

JRandrup at lbl.gov

70R0319

Hans G. Ritter

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

4138

HGRitter at lbl.gov

70R0319

Ernst Sichtermann

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

5401

EPSichtermann at lbl.gov

70R0319

Frank Stephens

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

5724

FSStephens at lbl.gov

88R0192

Marie-Agnes D. Stephens

Low Energy Nuclear Physics

5384

MDStephens at lbl.gov

88R0192

Robert G. Stokstad

Neutrinos

4451

RGStokstad at lbl.gov

50R5008

James H. Thomas

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

631-344-3918

JHThomas at lbl.gov

70R0319

Kai Vetter

Applied Nuclear Physics

4293

KVetter at lbl.gov

50C3396

André Walker-LoudNuclear Theory5652AWalker-loud at lbl.gov70R0319

Xin-Nian Wang

Nuclear Theory

5239

XNWang at lbl.gov

70R0319

Howard H. Wieman

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

495-2473

HHWieman at lbl.gov

70R0319

Nu Xu

Relativistic Nuclear Collisions

2951

NXu at lbl.gov

70R0319

Feng YuanNuclear Theory5626FYuan at lbl.gov70R0319