March 30, 2001

Science Day focuses on Lab's reason for being

Every day is science and technology day at the Laboratory. But last week, the Laboratory set aside one special day to acknowledge its scientific and technological accomplishments, and the employees who create these achievements.

In the past, some of these achievements have been showcased when dignitaries visit the Laboratory, or during an occasional open house. But last week’s Science Day was set aside for all of us to take stock of the excellent contributions our Laboratory provides to the scientific and technical communities.

Through Science Day, the Laboratory showcased the major investments it has made in supercomputing since the Laboratory’s inception. These investments have made possible our major achievements in every aspect of science and technology, as the day’s presentations proved.

NNSA Administrator Gen. John Gordon, Director C. Bruce Tarter, UC Provost and Senior Vice President C. Judson King, and James Decker, the acting director of the DOE Office of Science, all spoke of the Laboratory’s strengths in supercomputing and collaborative research.

Our own scientists and engineers gave technical presentations that highlighted the breadth of scientific supercomputing at the Laboratory. Bill Dannevik discussed terascale simulation as a powerful tool for the exploration of turbulent flows, while Computation AD Dave Cooper gave an overview of the role of modeling and simulation in the Stockpile Stewardship Program.

Michael Colvin provided an understanding of the growing role of computation simulations in biological research, while Thomas Diaz de la Rubia showed how terascale computing can be used to predict materials performance and aging through multiscale modeling. Starley Thompson updated us on the effect of human activity on global climate change; Giulia Galli discussed quantum simulations as a fully predictive approach to the study of condensed matter systems, and Jave Kane showed how computational science is scaling astrophysics to the laboratory. Through David McCallen we learned how computer simulations can help us understand earthquake phenomena.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the speakers, along with keynote presenter Larry Smarr, who discussed the coming of a new information infrastructure, and how the Laboratory’s scientists and engineers in the 1970s served as mentors to the designers of today’s supercomputers.

Just as important were the poster sessions that provided an overview of virtually every aspect of science and technology at the Laboratory. These 49 posters, video demonstrations and other presentations engaged a large number of scientists and assured excellent attendance from every corner of the Lab. More importantly, the posters sessions provided an opportunity for interactions between the Lab’s scientists as well as our invited guests.

Without the enthusiasm, dedication and efforts of all involved, our Science Day would not have been the successful event that it was.

Extraordinary science and engineering make the Laboratory what it is, and our Science Day proved just that. Through Science Day we were able to give our many outstanding scientific and technology accomplishments the recognition they deserve.

Unfortunately, with only a daylong program, only a fraction of our significant accomplishments could be presented in any depth beyond a poster session. Which brings us to the next step. Should Science Day become an annual or biannual event?

We would like to hear from you, whether you were able to attend all of Science Day or not. We want to know what you liked, and if you did not attend, what would make you attend the next gathering.

A forum for employee input has been set up on the Science Day Website, located at http://stars. . Click on "forum" to provide your input.

I urge you to take the time to send us your thoughts on this celebration of science and technology at Livermore. Scientific and technical excellence applied to national challenges is the vital force that makes the Laboratory thrive. Please take this opportunity to let us know how we can pay further tribute to the Laboratory’s strengths. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jeff Wadsworth is the deputy director of Science and Technology.