2010s to Present

During this decade, the Division and Area built upon its historic research strengths in such areas as building energy technologies, international energy analysis, technical support for appliance/equipment efficiency standards, battery research, indoor environment, and utility resource planning. Research activities increasingly focused on the impacts of climate change and need for resilient, reliability, and affordable energy infrastructures.

2010 - Ashok Gadgil becomes division director

January - Rosenfeld steps down from his position at the California Energy Commission          

March - Experts confirm asteroid impact theory

Asteroid impact rendering from NASAIn an article in Science, an international panel of 41 experts declared that it was an asteroid, not volcanoes, that led to the demise of the dinosaurs. The theory was first put forth in 1980 by one of Berkeley Lab’s greatest scientists, the late Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez, and his son Walter.

May - The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) celebrates its 30th anniversary 

Energy Efficient Economy celebrates its 30th anniversary; as part of the celebration, ACEEE gives Chuck Goldman a Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Energy Efficiency Field for his work and the contributions of staff in the Energy Analysis Department and Electricity Markets and Policy Group.

August - Gadgil appointed division director 

Soon thereafter, Kostecki is appointed deputy division director for research.              

September 10 - Reception in cafeteria to welcome Rosenfeld back to the Lab

Art was appointed a distinguished scientist emeritus by Director Alivisatos.

Paul Alivisatos, left, poses with Art Rosenfeld

November - Republicans are majority in House            

December 12 - Kim Williams heads financial modernization

Gadgil announces that Kim Williams will work half time as head of phase 1 of the financial systems modernization project. Melissa Lunden is appointed assistant division director for Environmental Health and Safety.    

Late December - COMPETES Act is reauthorized

Congress reauthorizes the America COMPETES Act, in the process reauthorizing ARPA-E and authorizing the hubs.  

2011 - Changes at the international and division level 

April - Grether's appointment as a rehired retiree comes to an end

Grether had been associated with formation of the division starting in 1972, officially joined the division in 1974, was the deputy division director for 24 years, and continued an active role until this change.

April - Grether becomes a Lab affiliate with a view towards working on division history projects              

March 11 - Tohoku earthquake and tsunami lead to destruction of Fukushima nuclear reactors and concern over future of nuclear power

2012 - Construction begins for new FLEXLAB® facility

November - President Barack Obama is elected to a second term in office

December - Berkeley Lab breaks ground on new FLEXLAB® facility

Lab leadership and distinguished guests from the U.S. Department of Energy, the state of California, utilities and the building industry broke ground on the start of construction for the Facility for Low-Energy eXperiments on Buildings (FLEXLAB®).

2013 - 40th anniversary of the division

January - Ernest Moniz is appointed as U.S. secretary of energy, succeeding Steven Chu

Having two scientists in a row as secretary of energy is unprecedented.

July - Aimee McKane honored

Aimee McKane, deputy group leader, receives the Finegan Standards Medal of the American National Standards Institute

sessler-85th-birthday.jpgDecember - Reception for Andy Sessler's 85 birthday

Andy Sessler established the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (then Energy and Environment) on November 1, 1973, Sessler's first day as Lab Director. In the photo Andy is seated at the table, with his hands clasped and wearing a dark grey sports jacket. The others are notables from the Director's Office; Environmental Energy Technologies Division; Physics; and Accelerator and Fusion Research Division.    

December - Panel discussion for 40th anniversary

Celebration features three panels in the Building 50 Auditorium, followed by a reception. The first panel addresses the early years, with Sessler, Cairns, Budnitz, Rosenfeld an, Don Grether. Invited, but unable to serve on the panel were Jack Hollander and Mark Levine.


2014 - Division becomes Energy Technologies Area

Andy Sessler, left, receives the Fermi Award.February - Andy Sessler receives the Fermi Award, one of the most prestigious U.S. awards in science

Pictured, left to right: Andy Sessler, President Obama and Science Advisor John Holdren

March 30 - Mel Simmons dies at age 70

Simmons was instrumental in the early days of the division, and was the acting deputy head when Bob Budnitz was the acting head.  Mel left the Lab in 1977. Read the obituary.

Andy SesslerApril 17 - Sessler dies

Andrew Marienhoff Sessler passes away at age 85 following a long illness.


Frank AsaroJune 10 - Asaro dies at age 86

Among other accomplishments, Frank Asaro was part of the team that discovered the reason for the extinction of the dinosaurs. See June 6, 1980.    

July 10 - Ribbon cutting for FLEXLAB®

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for FLEXLAB®, a complex in and outside Building 90 proper that will serve to help industry use energy more efficiently in buildings.

FLEXLAB ribbon-cutting

October 6 - New Associate Laboratory Director and three new divisions 

Ramamoorthy Ramesh, the newly appointed associate laboratory director for the Energy Technologies Area, announces that the Environmental Energy Technologies Division's three present departments will become divisions: Building Technologies and Urban Systems; Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts; and Energy Storage and Distributed Resources.

November - Cyclotron Road established

Originally launched in July as a pilot program with the code name "M37," Cyclotron Road provides a home for entrepreneurial technologists whose ideas are too challenging to pursue in a venture-backed startup, specifically in “hard tech” areas like advanced materials, chemistry, and physics.


2015 - Advent of Earth and Environmental Sciences Area

Tihomir NovakovJanuary 2 - Tihomir Novakov dies

Novakov founded the Atmospheric Aerosol Research Group at Berkeley Lab in 1972. The group spawned the now-mainstream field of research on carbonaceous aerosols. Read the obituary and a historical profile.

May - Anubhav Jain receives Department of Energy Early Career Research Program Award

Jain won the award for “Unraveling Principles for Targeted Band Structure Design Using High‐Throughput Computation with Application to Thermoelectrics Materials Discovery”—a project to develop theoretical approaches based on density functional theory calculations to screen for high figure‐of‐merit thermoelectric materials.

June - Ravi Prasher appointed director of Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division

Prasher, a former ARPA-E program director and expert on thermal energy processes, processes, is
appointed director of the ESDR Division, replacing Venkat Srinivasan, who left for Argonne
National Laboratory. 

September – ETA Strategic Planning Retreat

Ramesh convened the first area-wide Strategic Planning Retreat that focused strategic plans for
each division (EAEI, BTUS and ESDR) as well as five ETA Strategic Initiatives: (1) Grid
Modernization (2) Urban Systems (3) R&D for Scale Up (4) Energy/Water, and (5) Sustainable

During the Year - Earth Sciences Division split into two divisions

The Earth Sciences Division becomes the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area with two divisions: Climate and Ecosystems Sciences and Energy Geosciences.

2016 - Michael Witherell appointed Lab director

January - Michael Witherell appointed Lab director

Following a national search and acting on the recommendation of University of California President Janet Napolitano, with the concurrence of U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the Board of Regents approved Michael Witherell’s appointment as the eighth director of Berkeley Lab. Witherell replaced Paul Alivisatos.

January - Historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces

With technical assistance from Berkeley Lab, the U.S. Department of Energy announces historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces.

February - Michael Stadler receives Presidential Early Career Award

Stadler, who contributed to the design of the microgrid design tool DER-CAM, was among 106 researchers recognized by President Obama.

November - ETA projects win R&D 100 Awards

Cool Roof Time Machine and Sustainable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR)—join three other Berkeley Lab projects recognized among the  year's "most technologically significant products."

November – Chuck Goldman steps down as Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts
(EAEI) Division Director

Lynn Price was appointed Acting Division Director.

2017 - Rosenfeld dies

February 1 - Rosenfeld dies

Art Rosenfeld, Berkeley Lab distinguished scientist emeritus, died January 27, 2017 at his home in Berkeley, California. He was 90. Rosenfeld was also known as California’s "godfather" of energy efficiency and has been credited with being personally responsible for billions of dollars in energy savings.

Art Rosenfeld stands before a chalkboard.
June - Lynn Price retires

Tom Kirchstetter steps into Price's role as head of the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division, while Nan Zhou takes over as head of the International Energy Analysis Department. Later that summer, Price receives an award from the American Council on an Energy-Efficient Economy for her achievement and leadership in the field of industrial energy efficiency.

November - China Energy Group wins R&D 100 Award

The group received the award for its innovative Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool for Low-Carbon Cities (BEST Cities), which provides software for low-carbon planning that users can easily install and run.

2018 - Prasher leads ETA

July - Ravi Prasher appointed associate lab director for Energy Technologies Area

Prior to this appointment, Prasher was director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division, where he led the Lab’s research on batteries, fuel cells, and grid modernization.

November - eProject Builder receives R&D 100 Award

Pete Larsen and his team of researchers received a 2018 R&D 100 Award for eProject Builder, an online data management tool for water/energy retrofits used by customers in the institutional sector (e.g. Federal and state goverments). Cyclotron Road's Opus 12 was co-recipient of a Special Recognition Award.

2019 - Kostecki named director of ESDR

January - Urban Systems Group established

The new group within Building Technologies and Urban Systems is led by Tianzhen Hong, head of the Building Technology Department.

October - Commercial Building Energy Saver (CBES) wins R&D 100 Award

The software toolkit enabling equitable access to building deep retrofit and zero-net energy strategies was among three Berkeley Lab technologies recognized by the awards.

November - Robert Kostecki is appointed director of Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division (ESDR)

Following an international search, Kostecki was appointed director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division in the Energy Technologies Area.

Jack HollanderNovember - Jack Hollander dies

Hollander, a well-known nuclear scientist, led what has been described as a “tsunami” of growth in funded projects for the newly founded Energy & Environment Division (now Energy Technologies Area) in the 1970s. Read Grether's remembrance to learn more about Hollander's impact at Berkeley Lab.