Berkeley Lab

Meet & greet – February 2018

Land’s End Postdoc Hike

A group of 17 brave postdocs took the challenge to hike all the way to the end of the world… or actually just the end of San Francisco: Land’s end! We were blessed with a perfect sunny weather, burning our skin red (if we hadn’t used sunscreen). The best views you can have over the Golden Gate Bridge and even of the far-away islands of Farallon! The sunset from the famous Sutra baths were breathtaking. And don’t forget the joy of sunbathing at Baker beach and taking all those fun stairs up and down! It started with being jammed in the bus, and ended with a good Guinness and Sheppards Pie in The Irish Bank.



A group of twelve brave Lab Postdocs went for the interesting sport of cleaning the ice for incoming stones: curling! This Olympic sport is the fastest growing sport in the world and the virus has now infected us postdocs as well! After a safety instruction and an explanation of the rules, we first practiced pushing the rocks over the ice, attempting to not fall (didn’t always succeed). When we mastered that, we added the curl to the mix – swinging those stones around so they spin to the right place. And last but not least – sweeping the ice, reducing the friction to influence the path and curl of the stone! It’s all science in this sport.
Then we went for the big game – two teams of six competing to get the stones closest to the center, with tacticians, sweepers and throwers filling out the mix. It proved to be a very fun – albeit a little difficult – game. We even managed to land some stones (almost) right on spot!

As the rules dictate, the winners bought the losers the first round of beer in a trendy Oakland pub!


Berkeley Lab Postdoc Association (BLPA)

We are federating over 1000 postdoctoral researches affiliated with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Our goal is to facilitate social interactions, scientific exchanges, seminars and general orientation.

Here is a list of things you might be interested in:

We’re happy to organize new events at the lab; if you’re interested in participating, please contact us.


If you are from UC Berkeley, you might want to say hi to our friends at Berkeley Postdoc Association (BPA) and the Visiting Scholars and Postdocs Association (VSPA). They have some good resources!

Postdoc meet & greet – Thanksgiving 2017

We are organizing the thanksgiving edition of the monthly meet & greet on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 at 4pm in the LBNL cafeteria (building 54.)

Please join us to enjoy light refreshment and thanksgiving food.

Open to all, no registration required.

Summer hikes

The Bay Area is full of wonderful places to go hiking, and every months Berkeley Lab postdocs get together for a hike, to get to know their fellow and share their science, but also get inspired by the breathtaking views!

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Hike on Angel Island (April 23rd, 2017)

[Read more…]

Game of Divisions

For the National Postdoc Appreciation Week, we are organizing the Game of divisions, where each division is represented by a postdoc, who will represent his house for the control of the Iron Stool.

The talks will be 3min long, and the jury will be led by lab director Mike Witherell, and Peter Fiske.

If you’re a Berkeley lab postdoc, you can register here to enter the competition

Quantum computing with Rigetti

The main auditorium of Berkeley Lab was almost full to hear about Quantum Computing from Shane Caldwell, Quantum Engineer at Rigetti, a Berkeley-based Quantum Computing start-up. The company has attracted a lot of interest recently (The Quantum Computer Factory That’s Taking on Google and IBM – Wired) with its quantum computing API, Forest, its Quantum Computing language, QUIL, and the python front-end made available to the world, pyquil.

The audience learned about the quantum logic gates, what they do, and have they are implemented (spoiler: it’s very difficult!) Here’s the video of of the event:

Here’s more about the speaker:

Shane obtained his PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Chicago in 2015. His dissertation was on a novel technique for beta-delayed neutron spectroscopy using trapped radioactive ions. Within days of defending his thesis he joined Rigetti Computing as a “postdoc,” and he is probably the only person who ever held that job title at the company. During his first month at Rigetti he spent his days in a very roomy closet in the back of an office suite on Telegraph Avenue, in which he became acquainted with a pile of microwave signal generators and analyzers. Six weeks after joining Rigetti he was performing his first qubit measurements in the company’s new lab on Heinz Avenue. These days he is working on proving a new superconducting qubit architecture for scaling Rigetti’s quantum chips beyond 8 qubits.

Pictures of the event are available here.

Postdoc Avocadro party

With high rents in the bay area, sure postdocs can buy no house, but at least they can get avocado and have a good time!

Postdocs at Berkeley Lab always love to talk about how they handle the infinitely large and the infinitely small, and fear no pun.


SF Marathon fundraiser

Leen Alawieh, Protonu Basu, Jarrod McClean, and Jana Voříšková were among the finishers of the San Francisco Marathon, which took place July 23. The runners used the race as a fundraiser for the Lab’s Postdoc Association, via the Berkeley Lab Foundation.

McClean is leaving the Lab to continue work on quantum computing for Google, in Venice Beach, CA.

Berkeley Lab postdocs after completing the San Francisco Marathon (leen, Jana, Jarod and Protonu)