Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

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LBNL, ESD at National Lab Day

Sources: Maryann Villavert, Tim Kneafsey, Bill Collins, and Dan Hawkes

Collins_kneafsey_villavertNational Lab Day, organized by DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz to help explain the impact of science conducted within the U.S. DOE National Laboratory System to Congress, was held this past week (September 16, 2014) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Congressional members and staffers got to see and hear, “up close,” the often amazing work done at the various national laboratories throughout the country. Among those national laboratories, Berkeley Lab (and ESD within it) played a significant role in the discussion of several topics (selected by Secretary Moniz), particularly with respect to climate and environmental issues—and also contributed “hands on” demonstrations related to the science it conducts and the topics under consideration.

ESD Climate Sciences Department Lead Bill Collins led a discussion of “DOE’s Climate Sciences Capabilities and Mission Impacts.” Collins—along with Ian Kraukunas from PNNL, Shaocheng Xie from LLNL, and Brad Carvey from SNL—presented DOE's work on using measurements to build better climate models, using climate models to develop better projections of extreme storms, and using those projections to inform how best to protect the nation's energy infrastructure. The climate exhibit associated with this discussion included a hands-on interactive video.

As part of the “Stewarding Our Environment” topic, LBNL’s environmental work (led by ESD Hydrology Department Lead Tim Kneafsey, and represented at the conference by INL’s Rod Podgorney and LANL’s Bruce Robinson) sparked discussions on the topic of “Subsurface Science Addressing Energy Reliability and Resource Management.” In addition, ESD created a hands-on seismology “demonstration box” exhibit that can only be described as “cool.” ESD Strategic Development/Communications Manager Maryann Villavert (along with Kneafsey) created this interactive demonstration, complete with materials that represent the safe harnessing of energy from the Earth’s environment. These also included:

    • A seismology display with a marble drop device situated next to a geophone connected to a tiny Oscium oscilloscope and an iPad. When the marble drops, the geophone senses the vibration, which is displayed on the iPad.

    • A 4-minute video on “Energy of Natural & Man-Made Earthquakes: Measurements and Impacts” (

  • A take-away card that describes how many candy bars of energy are released in a seismic event of felt magnitude (as inspired by ESD Senior Advisor Ernie Majer)

In addition to Collins, Kneafsey, Villavert, and Majer, many thanks go out to all the contributors to the event, who are acknowledged at the end of the “Energy of Natural & Man-Made Earthquakes” video.

To read more about National Lab Day, go to: