Roger Falcone is Past President of the American Physical Society, and much of his work is directed towards advocacy for federal and private support for research and education.
His research group at UC Berkeley studies the behavior of solids and plasmas that are under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. They study how these materials respond to high stress (up to a billion atmospheres of pressure, or 1 GigaBar) and high temperatures (several million degrees, or hundreds of eV). They measure and control dynamics on the length and time scales of atomic motion (down to nanometers and femtoseconds). The questions they address are generally fundamental, since they are extending science into novel regimes. The applications of their work range from geophysics (what is the chemistry of materials under pressure?), to materials performance (can we design materials that will perform under extreme conditions?), to fusion energy (can we create plasmas at high enough density and temperature to undergo nuclear burn?), to astrophysics (can we understand the physics of giant planets and stars?).
They are also developing novel methods of high-resolution, chemically-resolved, ultrafast, three-dimensional imaging at the nanoscale, using x-rays, in order to better understand the physics and chemistry of functional materials under more conventional conditions.
Their tools involve advanced x-ray synchrotrons, the world’s highest energy lasers, free-electron x-ray lasers, and tabletop, ultrashort pulse lasers. The team includes faculty and other scientists from many countries, theorists and experimentalists, as well as postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students.
In the News
Berkeley stakes science claim at Homestake gold mine UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab plan to turn South Dakota's Homestake gold mine into a world-class science complex, with underground experiments in astrophysics, physics, biology and earth science. South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a big supporter of the effort, visited the campus and lab June 12 to cement the relationship and see what a large research complex looks like.