The Berkeley Lab Director’s Review of the Physics and Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics (ATAP) Divisions was held on May 15-17, to assess Berkeley Lab’s physics programs across a broad spectrum of research groups, experiments, and facilities.

An external review committee that included representatives from collaborating research organizations across the country was invited to evaluate the quality of the scientific staff and the effectiveness of Division management; the strengths and weaknesses of Berkeley Lab’s scientific programs and their synergy with other research programs in the field, both nationally and internationally; as well as each Division’s responsiveness to DOE needs and overall ability to efficiently and effectively assess and act on new opportunities.

Cameron Geddes speaks with some of the presenters during the poster session – 2024 Berkeley Lab Director’s Review of the Physics and ATAP Divisions – Photo by Tue Nam Ton Speakers and poster presenters from both Divisions provided updates on Berkeley Lab, and Berkeley Lab-led, research efforts and contributions to projects and programs. These include the ATLAS, CMB-S4, DESI, DUNE, and LZ experiments; the Exascale computing project and the High Luminosity upgrade project for the Large Hadron Collider, the US Magnet Development Program, and the Particle Data Group. There are also several broad programs to advance particle physics and accelerators through the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center, the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program, the Superconducting Magnet Program, the Advanced Light Source Accelerator Physics Program, and Fusion Science & Ion Beam Technology Program. The Divisions are also leading future initiatives for proposed projects including kBELLA, Mu2e, Spec-S5, and TESSERACT; as well as crosscutting efforts in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) and quantum information science. (Photo right/above: Cameron Geddes converses with review participants during the poster session. Photo by Tue Nam Ton.)

Emphasis was placed on Berkeley Lab’s alignment with the 2024 P5 recommendations for the high energy physics community. Each Division also highlighted their engagement in safety management and IDEA activities, including programs to support early career researchers and students, and to cultivate professional development opportunities for staff throughout all stages of Berkeley Lab employment.

Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille at the podium – 2024 Berkeley Lab Director’s Review of the Physics and ATAP Divisions – Photo by Thor Swift“The comments and recommendations from the committee will be helpful to us in planning future directions,” said Cameron Geddes, director of the ATAP Division, who added, “The review gave our research community new insights, a deeper appreciation for how we align that work with our stakeholders, and created connections for new collaborations.” Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille, director of the Physics Division (Photo right, by Thor Swift), also applauded the contributions of all who participated in the review: “The recommendations from the panel highlighted the outstanding achievements of our Divisions’ staff, postdocs, project scientists, graduate and undergraduate students.”

Natalie Roe at the podium – 2024 Berkeley Lab Director’s Review of the Physics and ATAP Divisions – Photo by Thor Swift“We are extremely grateful to the committee for their diligence in providing such a thorough and thoughtful review of our research and programs,” said Natalie Roe, Associate Laboratory Director for the Physical Sciences (Photo left, by Thor Swift). “Their deep engagement in the review process indicated that they really understood the breadth of our research programs as well as the challenges entailed in stewarding such a diverse research portfolio. We look forward to receiving their full report and to addressing their recommendations.”