The American Physical Society has recognized the
research and management accomplishments of Berkeley Lab Director Charles V. Shank by
awarding him the 1996 George E. Pake Prize at this week's APS general meeting in St.
Shank was honored "for his pioneering research accomplishments in the area of
laser development and ultrafast phenomena; and for his outstanding research management
leadership as director of the Electronics Research Laboratory at AT&T Bell
Laboratories in the development of quantum electronics, and as director of Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory for fostering industrial interactions," the citation
The Pake Prize, established in 1983, annually recognizes outstanding accomplishments in
physics research combined with major success as a manager of research or development in
industry. Pake was a research physicist and a director of industrial research at Xerox
Shank became director of Berkeley Lab in 1989, at the end of a 20-year career at Bell
Labs, where he held numerous leadership positions. His studies of ultrafast (femtosecond)
events using short laser pulses have contributed to fiber optic communications with the
invention of the distributed feedback laser, a component in high data rate transmission
As part of his recognition on Monday, Shank delivered an address that focused on
public-private partnerships and their value to the physics community. He said his hope was
to "find common ground in the current debate between those characterizing federally
sponsored elements of these activities as `corporate welfare,' and those who view these
programs as an investment in the future."
He described the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), in which
federally funded research institutions enter agreements with industrial partners to
perform cooperative research. Thousands of these partnerships, generally split 50-50 in
funding, have been successfully executed in the 1990s. CRADAs, he noted, are not high on
the Congressional priority list these days, with some seeing the use of federal funds as a
subsidy for big business.
"The problem is that we have not come to a consensus on a set of organizing
principles that would form a basis for public-private partnerships," he told the
conferees, acknowledging several examples in which CRADAs inappropriately benefited
company stockholders, and some which exhibited the ideal balance of benefits between
industry and the Department of Energy.
Among his positive models was Berkeley Lab's two-year collaboration with Intel
Corporation, which has been using the Advanced Light Source to analyze impurities in
silicon wafers needed for the next generation of integrated circuits. He also cited the
development of low-emissivity windows at Berkeley, a Lab partnership with the window
industry that has netted a cumulative U.S. energy savings estimated at $760 million to
"This collaboration produced a significant public good which benefited the entire
country by reducing imported oil," he said.
Shank concluded by proposing four principles that could be used to anchor
- Direct federal funding of research and development in industry that primarily benefits
the stockholder is inappropriate.
- Federal investments in public-private partnerships should have clear benefit for both
government and industry.
- Unique knowledge in a federally funded research facility can form the basis for a
- Unique facilities at a federally funded laboratory can create opportunities for
"Our country stands to benefit by developing a consensus on how we derive value
from the enormous federal investment in research and development," he said. "In
my view, we have established a record in the last five years which is sufficiently rich
with diversity of approaches to evaluate what works and what doesn't. I challenge our
nation's policy makers to solve this problem."