The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced their 2022 Fellows, including six scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). This lifetime honor, which follows a nomination and review process, recognizes scientists, engineers, and innovators for their distinguished achievements toward the advancement or applications of science.
AAAS, founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society. The 2022 Fellows class includes 506 scientists, engineers, and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.
The Berkeley Lab honorees are:
Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, the science deputy for the Biological Systems and Engineering Division and vice president for Biofuels and Bioproducts at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), has been recognized for her “exceptional contributions to the field of microbial engineering for the sustainable production of biofuels and bioproducts, particularly in optimizing and using functional genomics approaches.”
Mukhopadhyay studies and engineers microbial strains to make optimized biomanufacturing platforms that can generate new and drop-in biology-based products like carbon-neutral biofuels. Her team also focuses on developing sustainable biomanufacturing processes that can replace petroleum-based or otherwise environmentally impactful manufacturing practices for valuable industrial chemicals. Mukhopadhyay is known for working outside the box to harness microbial host species capability, allowing her and her collaborators to expand the possibilities of bio-based production, and for developing highly efficient strains that are ready for use in industrial applications. She is also director of JBEI’s Host Engineering group and a scientist in the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division.
Rangachary Mukundan, formerly a scientist at Los Alamos National Lab and now a Berkeley Lab staff scientist, was recognized “for seminal contributions to the development of mixed potential electrochemical sensors and the development of accelerated stress tests for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.”
Mukund’s current research interests include fuel cells, electrolyzers, flow batteries, and sensors. He is serving as deputy director for DOE’s Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck (M2FCT) and Hydrogen from Next generation Electrolyzers of Water (H2NEW) consortia. His primary research focus in these consortia is durability and development of accelerated stress tests.
Howard Padmore, a senior scientist at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), was recognized “for distinguished seminal contributions to the technology and scientific application of synchrotron light sources.”
An internationally renowned scientist, Padmore has had a diverse career covering the development and application of techniques in x-ray science using synchrotron x-ray sources and is an expert in x-ray optics. He has also pioneered the application of modern materials science methods to the development of ultra-bright photocathodes, which are at the heart of new x-ray sources such as Free Electron Lasers. With his group, he led the development of a wide range of x-ray beamlines and scientific programs at the ALS which are now at the core of the scientific program of the facility. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America (now Optica), the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the 2021 Berkeley Lab Prize.
Kristin Persson, director of the Molecular Foundry and a UC Berkeley professor of materials science and engineering, was recognized “for the conception and development of the Materials Project.”
Persson uses atomistic and first-principles computational methods coupled with high-performance computing technology and machine learning to advance materials for clean energy production and storage. She is also the director of the Materials Project, which is a multi-national effort to compute the properties of all inorganic materials and provide the data and associated analysis algorithms free of charge. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to drastically reduce the time needed to invent new materials to serve societal needs, in particular advancing clean energy solutions.
Whendee Silver, a faculty scientist in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area and professor of environmental science, policy, and management at UC Berkeley, was recognized for her “distinguished contributions to determine the biogeochemical effects of climate change and human impacts on the environment, and the potential for mitigating these effects.”
Silver’s pioneering work has advanced the fields of biogeochemistry and ecosystems ecology by investigating the causes and consequences of climate change, such as the greenhouse gas dynamics of peatlands and wetlands, and drought and hurricane impacts on tropical forests. Her work has also uncovered possible solutions, such as evaluating the potential for land-based climate change mitigation, particularly by harnessing grasslands as a potential carbon sink to mitigate climate change, or composting high-emission organic waste for soil amendments to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Dan Stamper-Kurn, a faculty scientist in the Materials Science Division at Berkeley Lab and professor of physics at UC Berkeley, was recognized “for distinguished contributions to the fields of quantum gases and quantum optics, particularly for experimental studies of Bose-Einstein condensates.”
Stamper-Kurn explores ultracold atomic physics, working with material systems at temperatures just above absolute zero. Through careful combinations of light and ultracold atoms or molecules, he studies how quantum systems behave, with potential applications in areas such as chemistry, condensed-matter physics, materials science, and quantum information science. His team used ultracold atoms to push the limits of sensitivity and detected the smallest force ever measured. Stamper-Kurn is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America, and currently serves as the director of the NSF Challenge Institute for Quantum Computation.
In addition, Ali Douraghy, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Science & Innovation at the Department of Energy, and former Chief Strategy Officer in Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, was recognized “for distinguished contributions to science policy, particularly for international science cooperation with developing countries, shaping federal climate and clean energy policy, and developing underrepresented science policy leaders.”
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Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 16 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.