West Coast Fellows Retreat Fall 2010

September 30, 2010 - October 03, 2010

by Jane Wang, Vince Holmberg and Daniel Rosenfeld

This fall, the 2010 West Coast Hertz Fellows Retreat was held from September 30th to October 3rd in Livermore, California. The event was attended by 34 in-school and recently graduated Hertz Fellows, the Hertz Foundation Board Members and staff, as well as several friends and associates of the Foundation. During the weekend, the Fellows participated in the “Toxic Waste” engineering challenge, which required them to devise a way to transport 1 liter of “contaminated” water 50 feet without coming within an 8-foot radius of the liquid at any time, and then construct a device to lift the water as high as possible. The Fellows were scored on the amount transported and the height to which they were able to lift the water.  The winning contraption was an elegantly constructed pulley device, jutting off the front of the hotel from one of the fourth story balconies.  The device was successfully able to lift 1 liter of water to a height of over 30 feet.

Another highlight of the Retreat was an all-day tour of Sandia and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (SNL and LLNL) on October 1st. Participants were able to tour the combustion facilities at Sandia as well as visit the National Ignition Facility, the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS), and the Terascale Computing Facility at LLNL. In conjunction with the lab tours, Dr. Jay Davis, President of the Hertz Foundation, spoke about his career building accelerators at LLNL, where he founded the CAMS in the late 80s. Later during the Retreat, Dr. Davis gave a captivating talk about his experiences in nuclear forensics, nuclear security, and counter-terrorism, discussing his time as a weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq after the First Gulf War, and his experiences in the Department of Defense as the founding Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Once again, the Retreat proved to be an exceptional forum for Fellows to learn about each others’ ongoing research. Throughout the Retreat, current Fellows were given the opportunity to give short talks to groups of their peers during several “chalk talk poster sessions,” and several senior Fellows also gave excellent extended talks discussing their PhD research. This discussion helped forge connections between Hertz Fellows and has already led to several collaborations.>

The last night of the Retreat, Mary and Jay Davis graciously invited the attendees over to their home for a barbecue, and after a splendid night of food, wine, and conversation, many Fellows returned the next day to help the Davis household in the annual harvest of petit syrah grapes from their vineyard.

A big thank you goes out to all who made the Retreat a success: Louis Lerman for his generous financial support, Dr. Jay Davis for the fascinating and insightful discussions, the Hertz Foundation staff for administrative support, and Fellows Jane Wang, Vince Holmberg and Daniel Rosenfeld for their work in planning the retreat.

Pictures for this Workshop can be found by clicking the link: Fall 2010 West Coast Retreat

West Coast Fellows Retreat Fall 2010
West Coast Fellows Retreat Fall 2010