Berkeley Lab

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A.V. Wallace

Q: What is your occupation?
A: I am an Educational Technology Specialist and founder of the Marin Science Seminar

Q: Why Do You Like Science?
A: Science allows us to expand the context of our observations, and to make them useful. I like to learn about the backstory of what I’m experiencing, and its potential. I like to understand how things work and how things are interrelated.

Q: What is your first science memory?

A: This sounds corny, I know, but it’s probably making a baking soda and vinegar volcano in elementary school. I remember recording the amounts of various materials I had put into my volcano, and I was so pleased when particular mixture created a more powerful (and pink!) explosion than the others in my class. Everyone wanted some of what I had, but most were disappointed since the recipe didn’t create quite the same effect in their already-started volcanoes.

Q: Who is your science hero?
A: My husband, Art Wallace MD PhD. He’s a professor at UCSF who has chosen to forego the “big bucks” to work as a physician and researcher at the Veteran’s Administration in San Francisco. His combination of fearless scientific rigor, integrity, and compassion inspires me every day.

Q: Why do you think government-funded science research is important?
A: Government-funded research doesn’t have the pressure that privately-funded research has to return a particular or profit-geared result. Government-funded research can undertake much vaster projects than private research. The space program, nanotechnology, and quantum computing would be a few examples.

Q: When you think of Berkeley Lab, what comes to mind?
A: World-class science. We have had a number of speakers from LBL come and present at the Marin Science Seminar and we have been consistently impressed, not only with their in-depth knowledge, but with their ability to communicate effectively to the public, and with their generosity in sharing their knowledge with us.

Q: What do you feel are some of the Lab’s most valuable contributions?
A: Currently, research involving energy efficiency and independence and reducing/mitigating carbon emissions. Science doesn’t always have to be useful though, and I certainly value the pure and speculative science being undertaken at the lab, such as the search for dark matter.

Q: What Berkeley Lab events have you attended?
A: We attended a few open houses and Nano-High talks when our kids were younger.

Q: What kinds of things did you learn?
A: Everything from how to make a cheap, non-polluting cook stove for poor people in other countries, to how scientists were finding new ways to analyse DNA, to how fracking works and how to make it safer.

Q: What places, people, or information impressed you the most?
A: I loved walking around that round building (Advanced Light Source?) and visiting all the researchers who would answer questions about their work.