NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

NERSC@50 Seminar Series

More talks will be posted on this page and in the NERSC events calendar as speakers are confirmed.

All events are held remotely and are free and open to the public. Attendance information is posted prior to the talk.

Miss a Talk?

Videos of past presentations are embedded on this page and available on the NERSC YouTube channel.

June 17, 2024
1:30 - 2 p.m. PDT

In person in Room 4102 and online via Zoom.

Intuitive Supercomputing for X-Rayers

Dula Parkinson, Advanced Light Source, Berkeley Lab

About the Speaker

Dula Parkinson is the Deputy for Photon Science Operations and the Program Lead for Diffraction and Imaging at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. After completing a PhD in physical chemistry at UC Berkeley in 2006, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Carolyn Larabell, using soft X-ray nano-tomography to collect 3D images of single cells. In 2010, he became a beamline scientist at the ALS, leading the Hard X-ray micro-Tomography program at Beamline 8.3.2, working with ALS users to image a variety of samples. He has been a proud user of NERSC since 2010. Since that time he has been involved in efforts to connect experimental and computational facilities and provide users with access to powerful computing and data management resources through intuitive interfaces.


Upgraded accelerators like the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Berkeley Lab make brighter X-ray beams for new science and faster experiments, attracting an increasing variety of new users. Supporting these users in handling the big data during their experiments has pushed us to provide them with computing tools that are powerful but intuitive to use. NERSC has been an essential partner along the way, including most recently in the SuperFacility effort. This talk will describe this team science effort, and the essential role NERSC has played in the success of ALS studies of deep earth, deep space, and a lot in between.

June 3, 2024
1:30 - 2 p.m. PDT

Prediction and Design of Protein Interactions

David Baker

David Baker, Institute for Protein Design, University of Washington

About the Speaker

David Baker is the director of the Institute for Protein Design, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, a professor of biochemistry, and an adjunct professor of genome sciences, bioengineering, chemical engineering, computer science, and physics at the University of Washington. His research group is focused on the design of macromolecular structures and functions.

Baker has published more than 600 research papers, been granted more than 100 patents, and cofounded 17 companies. Over 70 of his mentees have gone on to independent faculty positions. 

Baker received his PhD in biochemistry with Randy Schekman at UC Berkeley and did postdoctoral work in biophysics with David Agard at UCSF. He is a recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Proteins mediate the critical processes of life and beautifully solve the challenges faced during the evolution of modern organisms. Our goal is to design a new generation of proteins that address current-day problems not faced during evolution. In contrast to traditional protein engineering efforts, which have focused on modifying naturally occurring proteins, we design new proteins from scratch to optimally solve the problem at hand. I will describe these studies and also the proteome-level prediction of protein interactions, and the key contributions NERSC has made to both efforts.

May 20, 2024
1:30 - 2 p.m., PDT

Reaction-driven Formation of Novel Active Sites on Catalytic Surfaces

Manos Mavrikakis, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

About the Speaker

Manos Mavrikakis is the Ernest Micek Distinguished Chair, James A. Dumesic Professor, and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been a NERSC user for more than 24 years.


Adsorption of reactants and reaction intermediates on solid catalytic surfaces can lead to significant changes in the surface structure, including, as shown in high-pressure Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) experiments, ejection of metal atoms and formation of metal clusters while the reaction is taking place. Depending on the specific system, these clusters provide new, more favorable reaction paths than the typically considered active sites. First-principles computations coupled with kinetic Monte Carlo simulations, all performed at large scale on NERSC resources, enable a more realistic picture of the catalyst’s surface and its active sites as a function of reaction conditions and the identity of reactants and that of critical intermediates. Insights derived from our analysis can inform the design of new catalysts with improved activity, selectivity, and stability characteristics.

April 15, 2024
1:30 - 2 p.m., PDT

What We Have Learned about the Universe from Low-Energy Neutrino Physics Experiments and NERSC’s Role in the Discoveries

Smiling man wearing wireframed glasses in gray jacket and plaid shirt.

Alan Poon, Nuclear Science Division, Berkeley Lab

About the Speaker

Alan Poon is the program head for Fundamental Symmetries and Neutrinos and a senior physicist in the Nuclear Science Division at Berkeley Lab. He has been a NERSC user for over 20 years.


NERSC is instrumental in discovering neutrino flavor transformation and various investigations of fundamental neutrino properties. These discoveries represent a paradigm shift in our understanding of neutrinos. They establish the massive nature of these elusive particles, contrary to their prescription in the Standard Model of Elementary Particles.

In this talk to commemorate NERSC’s 50th anniversary, I will discuss the neutrino discoveries it enabled in the golden era of neutrino physics in the previous three decades. These notable results include the resolution of the Solar Neutrino Problem and the discovery of neutrino flavor transformation by the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, recognized in the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics; the discovery of neutrino oscillations in reactor neutrinos and the measurement of terrestrial radiogenic heat production through geo-neutrinos by the KamLAND experiment, recognized in the same Breakthrough Prize that year; the investigations of whether neutrinos are their own antiparticles though a rare nuclear decay with a lifetime exceeding 12 orders of magnitude beyond the age of the Universe by the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, LEGEND, and the CUORE experiments; and the most sensitive laboratory measurement of the neutrino mass by the KATRIN experiment.

More Speakers

  • June 24, 2024: CS Chang, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
  • July 15, 2024: Gilbert Compo, University of Colorado and NOAA
  • July 29, 2024: Ruby Leung, Pacific Northwest National Lab, “Earth System Modeling for Actionable Science”
  • August 5, 2024: Julian Borrill, Berkeley Lab, “Big Bang, Big Data, Big Iron - 50 Years of Cosmic Microwave Background Studies at NERSC”
  • August 12, 2024: Jean-Luc Vay, Berkeley Lab
  • August 26, 2024: Peter Nugent, Berkeley Lab
  • September 23, 2004: Stephen Bailey, Berkeley Lab
  • October 7, 2024: Jeff Neaton, Berkeley Lab