UC Berkeley In Brief
(Photos by Steve McConnell / UC Berkeley NewsCenter)
Gov. Schwarzenegger gets taste of UC 'brain power' in visit to LBNL
BERKELEY – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger traded in political science for a look at the future of physical science on Friday at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. After touring the lab's Advanced Light Source with LBNL Director Steven Chu, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and UC President Robert Dynes — all physicists — the governor said the "brain power in our UC system and in the national laboratory is absolutely incredible."
Schwarzenegger's visit to LBNL was a rare appearance at the UC-managed national lab by a California governor. But Schwarzenegger said he was no stranger to Berkeley, recalling the two weeks he spent on campus with actor Danny DeVito filming the movie "Junior."
During the tour of the Advanced Light Source, the governor met with UC Berkeley professors Paul Alivisatos and Jay Keasling, both of whom hold joint appointments at the lab. Alivisatos, who is associate laboratory director for physical sciences, described how he uses the light energy in the ALS to study the structural properties of nanocrystals. Keasling, meanwhile, explained the emerging field of synthetic biology and its potential to solve a wide range of health and environmental problems. Keasling is head of the Synthetic Biology Department at LBNL.
The focus on the promise of science to solve problems and fuel California's economy quickly faded, however, as reporters got a chance to question the governor during a press conference that followed the tour. "Is the November election really a referendum on you?" asked one reporter. "No. It is a referendum on the legislature that created the mess, and on the system," the governor responded. "We can't continue to spend more money than we have coming in."