Back to top
Readers of this issue’s feature article, The Path to a Carbon Neutral California, will find a phrase not often seen in conjunction with science at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: “With funding from the Livermore Lab Foundation through a generous donation from the ClimateWorks Foundation—philanthropic organizations supporting scientific research...” When I first heard that the Livermore Lab Foundation (LLF), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, had been established, I thought it would never impact my research life at the Laboratory. Now, LLF, working through the Laboratory’s Strategic Partnership Projects Program, has become a valuable partner helping us pursue important new science. The foundation’s support of projects at the Laboratory gets important work out to the public—from providing funding mechanisms to developing communications tools and classroom materials to cultivating new public–private partnerships.
Science-oriented foundations such as ClimateWorks are eager to partner with Lawrence Livermore to investigate new problems that have not yet risen to full national attention. In the case of Getting to Neutral, ClimateWorks knew about the Laboratory’s work on negative emissions technology and felt assured their gift to the LLF would encourage the kind of analysis they believed California needed. The Getting to Neutral report has been extremely influential in both the California and national plans for climate response. The scientists who wrote the report have shared their findings and insights with state and federal policymakers seeking a national carbon reduction. Companies developing the technologies that can accelerate the plan’s success have been brought into the conversation with stakeholders. As noted in the article, Microsoft Corporation was inspired by the report’s findings to develop a carbon-negative plan, and other companies have sought Livermore expertise to add carbon removal to their own plans to reduce carbon emissions. A major Department of Energy program to analyze the nation’s approach to carbon neutrality has been launched, led by our Laboratory. A communication toolkit created by Lawrence Livermore and LLF will further grow the conversation in the community and with students. The seeds sown by this philanthropic effort are flourishing.
Today’s research ecosystem is an expanded model of public–private partnerships and collaboration that includes the philanthropic sector. The LLF and other nonprofit organizations provide an agile mechanism to facilitate philanthropic gifts, promote the Laboratory in new communities, advance our science and technology goals and capabilities via new research opportunities, and amplify the societal impact of Livermore Laboratory’s research and development.
The most likely place for philanthropy to look to our Laboratory is in public-facing science. Our deep bench of scientists and technologists can address many problems that philanthropies care about, from climate change to health and contagious disease. And because we care very much about those problems, our scientists are eager to contribute to the public discourse. Science & Technology Review complements philanthropic and public interest by presenting Lawrence Livermore science—from all funding sources—in the pages of every issue to underscore the value of all research underway at the Laboratory.
Three diverse highlights kick off 2022’s review of Livermore science and technology. The article Assured and Robust…or Bust describes advances in artificial intelligence designed to ensure more accurate predictions in machine-learning applications applied to fields as diverse as national security and future smart car operations. The highlight A Shot Like No Other describes the union of Livermore core competencies and one-of-a-kind capabilities at the National Ignition Facility to expand materials research supporting the stockpile stewardship mission. The final highlight Accelerating Nuclear Forensics in the Field presents a prototype device developed to support public safety and national security by analyzing debris following a nuclear event.