ong before the addition of the word "national" to its name, Berkeley Lab was a national laboratory, in fact, among the first to be so designated by the federal government. As one of nine Department of Energy (DOE) multi-program laboratories, it pursues basic and applied research that provides the foundation for advances in health, technology, economic competitiveness, and our quality of life. The dedication of the Gammasphere detector and groundbreaking for the Human Genome Laboratory, along with our many scientific accomplishments this year, underscore the broad scope of Berkeley Lab's scientific endeavors. Dedicated on December 1, 1995, Gammasphere has been a rich resource for scientists in nuclear physics both nationally and internationally, providing nearly two hundred researchers from institutions around the world with insight into the unseen, enigmatic interactions that take place inside the atomic nucleus. Likewise, the Human Genome Laboratory, begun in 1995 and expected to be completed in 1997, promises to be a vital resource in the national effort to decipher the human genetic code. Information generated at Berkeley Lab's Human Genome Center has already contributed to the development of improved methods of screening genetic abnormalities, locating cancer genes, and diagnosing solid tumors.

Along with such research programs, one of the roles of a national laboratory is to maintain unique research facilities for use by any qualified scientist in the country. These national user facilities are another measure of a host institute's value to the country. Berkeley Lab is home to five national user facilities, including two of the country's newest: the Advanced Light Source (ALS) and the High-Performance Computing Access Center (HPC).

The ALS is an electron accelerator and storage ring that can generate beams of x-ray and ultraviolet light at wavelengths and energies ideal for a wide variety of purposes. Researchers working to develop new materials can use ALS x-rays as spectroscopic probes to focus on surface areas only a few hundred atoms in diameter. Chemists can use its strobe-like pulses of light to produce billionth-of-a-second snapshot images of chemical reactions. Biologists are using the ALS as an x-ray microscope to look inside living cells, and expect to soon be able to produce the first holograms of internal cell structures. Earth scientists are using ALS beams to scrutinize environmental contaminants on a scale never before possible.

In addition to basic science, the ALS is also serving the technology industry. Industrial researchers from IBM have built their own beamline to help them develop new techniques for manufacturing computer chips. Other industrial researchers are collaborating with Berkeley Lab scientists on the development of nano- technology, a technology that entails electronic devices with features a thousand times smaller than the microcircuits of today. The microtechnology industry has grown to an annual market worth more than $100 billion, but experts believe that the pending nanotechnology market will dwarf this figure. A facility such as the ALS can provide the United States with a big edge.

Computing capabilities promise another big edge, both for basic scientific research and for the development of new commercial technologies. The HPC, which is now in the process of being assembled at Berkeley Lab, will provide academic and industrial researchers in the United States with access to supercomputers and a high-speed information-sharing network that connects thousands of computers all over the world. These capabilities will enable scientists to conduct computational experiments in all fields of science, from the esoteric intricacies of quantum chromodynamics to the complex vicissitudes of global climate change.

The two major components of HPC are the National Energy Research Supercomputing Center (NERSC) and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). NERSC will be host to a nest of Cray supercomputers, starting with a Cray C-90 that boasts 16 central processing units with a peak speed of one billion arithmetic operations per second, and augmented with five more Crays. ESnet is a high-speed network that provides computers across the land with virtually instant access to the capabilities of NERSC. ESnet can move information at speeds up to 155 million bits per second. Compare this to the 28,000 bits per second transmission speed of today's fastest phone modems, and it is easy to understand why scientists and engineers throughout the nation will benefit from the HPC.

The other national user facilities at Berkeley Lab are the National Center for Electron Microscopy, housing the country's most powerful electron microscopes; the National Tritium Labeling Facility, the only government facility in the U.S. where tritium-labeled compounds for biomedical studies are prepared; and the 88-Inch Cyclotron, the nation's most productive low- energy nuclear physics accelerator. Many other state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and instruments at Berkeley Lab, though not bearing the "national" designation, are also made available for use by researchers nationwide.

But above and beyond personnel and equipment, what makes Berkeley Lab truly national is the scientific knowledge acquired here-in physics and life sciences, materials, chemistry, energy, and the environment. As can be seen in the pages that follow, this knowledge benefits everyone in the nation.