Science@Berkeley Lab Magazine banner Berkeley Lab logo
October, 2006
Editorial image
Pride of Place

With a winner as gracious and determined to share credit as this year's co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, George Smoot, pride of place goes well beyond bragging rights.

In a special feature for this issue of Science@Berkeley Lab, Lynn Yarris gives a behind-the-scenes-glimpse at a brand new Nobel Prize-winner's exhilarating but exhausting first day. For those of us who heard him speak that day, first at a morning press conference and later at a reception for Lab members, one thing that stood out was Smoot's generosity in citing the atmosphere created by his colleagues here, one that makes what he calls the "Free Science movement" possible. It touched a chord in us all, whether scientists pursuing research in cosmology, Smoot's specialty, or as far from it as cancer or energy or nanoscience — and in the support staff as well, who work to make the research possible. Science that means something to the world is what we all strive for. As Yarris remarks, "Smoot reminded us we're not just knocking out hubcaps here."

The staff of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory takes pride in a long string of Nobel Prize-winners who have defined the special character of this multidisciplinary laboratory within the Department of Energy's national laboratory system — 11 now, who won the prize for work done here, or received it while working here, or, in the case of Steven Chu, brought the prize with him when he assumed the Lab directorship.

And while we never make predictions, one reason some of us get up in the middle of October nights every year to monitor announcements from Stockholm is because, as Steve Chu put it at Smoot's reception, "there's still space on the Lab's Nobel Laureate wall for a few more prize-winners."

If you have questions and comments about any of the stories in this issue of Science@Berkeley Lab, let us know by dropping us an email.

Paul Preuss, Editor, Science@Berkeley Lab