There are perfect days in the hills above Berkeley, and they happen a lot more frequently in the spring.
Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry hangs in the air like a spaceship coming in for a landing in the outskirts of the Bay Area. When the clouds hang low on a spring morning, the effect is even more pronounced.
In comparison with the pathways between buildings in Northern New York (mostly shielded against the elements), I’m a bit disoriented by the semi-exposed stairwells and walkways of California. The mixture of features I associate with being inside (like the door with full glass window) and those I associate with being outside (like the tubular steel guard rails) makes for a juxtaposition.
The utilitarian, earthquake-resistant architecture of Berkeley Lab amid the verdant hills of the East Bay seems like a science-fictional setting—a location that can’t possible exist—in contrast to San Francisco in the distance.
Professionally, 2018 was a good year: my sabbatical work was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. That came from a long time writing and a long time in this lab.
Berkeley Lab’s Frei Group was kind enough to share their space with me, and I could not have done that work without this high vacuum line. I’ve always loved the way understanding the components of a system can take a complicated image like this one and break it into understandable parts. This image, in particular, gets less odd after the realization that this is two lines, mounted back-to-back, in the same Unistrut frame.
On America’s birthday, the Department of Energy’s National Lab system feels like quite a gift. The amount of innovation and discovery coming from the dramatic-yet-humble concrete structures is another reason to celebrate.
Under the redwoods’ canopy, Muir Woods is usually a pretty dark place. Where trees have fallen or hillsides disrupt the valley flood, sunlight sneaks through.