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2011 User Meeting Speakers, Abstracts, and Bios Print

Speaker Abstracts and Biographical Information


Siegfried S. Hecker

Co-Director of CISAC (Center for International Security and Cooperation) Stanford University, and Professor (Research), Department of Management Science and Engineering; FSI Senior Fellow


Plutonium Science and Diplomacy

Plutonium is the most complex element in the Periodic Table and it has enormous societal impact. It can electrify the world or destroy it. I will describe some of my scientific and diplomatic adventures with plutonium, ranging from the few tens of kilograms in North Korea that have changed the political landscape in Northeast Asia to the hundreds of tons that Russia needed to secure in the dangerous times of the post-Soviet collapse.


Michael S. Lubell

Professor of Physics at the City College of the City University of New York (CCNY) and the Director of Public Affairs of The American Physical Society (APS).

Science: What the Public is Thinking, What Congress is Doing, How You Can Contribute

Recent polling of public attitudes toward science contains very mixed results. By a margin of 93 to 7 the public believes the U.S. should be a global leader in science, and 2 out of 3 people approve using taxpayer funds to support research. But 46 percent of the respondents in the sample of 1200 give the federal government a grade of C, D, or F for its efforts to promote technological innovation, and 50 percent believe the federal science budget is too large, with a significant fraction of the respondents naming science as their number one target for cutting. In their actions and public statements Washington policymakers also reflect mixed attitudes. The president has been a champion of science, as have many lawmakers. But with Congress and the White House having reached an agreement on deficit reduction, science funding is likely to fall victim to the major cuts in discretionary spending scheduled to begin in FY 2013. Whether lawmakers elect to make science funding an exception to fiscal austerity measures will depend in part on public attitudes. The polling data suggest a rocky road ahead and point to the need for scientists to engage with the public in far more effective ways than the have until now.


Mary McGrath

Senior Director, Structural Chemistry, Gilead Sciences, Inc.


Meeting the Demands for Ever-Better Drug Candidates with Protein Crystallography

Structure-guided design has been crucial for accelerating the discovery of suitably potent and selective small molecule drug candidates for quite some time.

More recently, it has been conscripted for additional responsibilities, such as:

  • optimizing physical-chemical properties for better pharmacokinetics
  • tackling drug resistance in anti-viral and oncology indications
  • driving even better potency so that more complex single tablet regimens are possible
  • addressing mechanism of action questions

Richard A. Muller

Professor, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley; Faculty Senior Scientist, Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics, Physics Division, LBNL


Climate Change—A Non-Partisan Analysis

The Berkeley Earth team has completed a new analysis of land surface temperature change records over the past 200 years.  We used about 5x as much data as used by the prior groups at NASA, NOAA, and the UK.  We analyze in detail the effects of urban heat islands, data adjustment effects, data selection bias, and poor temperature station quality.  We hope that our study will help to reconcile the differences and disagreements between the various climate change factions.


Tom Wallow

Globalfoundries, Inc.


At the Limits of Semiconductor Lithography: Using the ALS Beamlines to Advance Materials and Processes for Future Microchip Fabrication