Chemist-Turned-Tech-Whiz Mark Day Retires From NERSC

June 23, 2022 – When Mark Day got here to the Nationwide Power Analysis Scientific Computing Middle (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) 5 years in the past, “I discovered my tribe,” he stated. This month the self-proclaimed “recovering scientist” retires from a 30-plus 12 months profession with the College of California (UC) system, together with his years at NERSC.

Mark Day, pictured in Porto, Portugal, is wanting ahead to touring extra in his retirement. Credit score: Mark Day.

Day’s UC profession started in 1982 as a Ph.D. scholar in pharmaceutical chemistry. As a part of his analysis, Day utilized nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for fixing peptide constructions. This led to subsequent work within the Division of Radiology at UC San Francisco (UCSF) the place he utilized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in novel methods, coaxing knowledge from digital photos created for scientific use. “I beloved science, however actually turned enamored with computing,” Day stated. “Plus, I used to be simply actually good at constructing the instruments for doing the pc evaluation, so I shifted into that work.”

Over his years at UCSF, Day moved into administration, a task through which he “discovered little pleasure.” So, when he took a place within the Infrastructure Companies Group (ISG) at NERSC, he felt he’d come dwelling. “There are literally numerous us recovering scientists at NERSC,” Day stated. “I assume that it is sort of the identical attraction for us all: We nonetheless like being concerned in science and the problem of serving to others do their work utilizing computing instruments accessible to us.”

It is also been necessary for Day to be concerned in a mission-driven group like NERSC: “Even when I wasn’t straight the one saving lives at UCSF, I knew I used to be a part of a company that did,” Day stated. “It is the identical factor at NERSC: Although I am not advancing scientific information straight, I am a part of a company that is serving to that to occur, and that has at all times been necessary to me.”

Mark Day and his spouse Amy biking in Alentejo Area of Portugal. Credit score: Mark Day.

Throughout his tenure at NERSC, Day is proud to have been a part of the crew that carried out Spin, a “container” system that lets scientists simply get up and share technological instruments, akin to web sites, databases, and knowledge evaluation instruments. “I believe NERSC is sort of well-known for eradicating friction from science, and Spin is a good instance of that.”

He additionally cited the not too long ago rolled out Federated Identification mission, which permits scientists to entry NERSC techniques and assets via their dwelling establishments’ logins. “I at all times felt like we’re a part of a reasonably sturdy crew at NERSC, so all of the issues I might wish to cite are actually crew accomplishments,” he stated.

“We’re extraordinarily lucky to work with colleagues of Mark’s caliber,” stated ISG Group Lead Cory Snavely who employed Day in 2017. “He isn’t solely a superb technologist, however he is additionally articulate, beneficiant, and has a incredible humorousness. Mark performed a pivotal function in all the group’s initiatives, and particularly with our Federated Identification initiative, however he additionally made the work gratifying, ”Snavely stated.

Day stated he’ll miss the folks he works with and the mental challenges of supporting science. “Whether or not determining the best way to apply a brand new expertise or attending a seminar to be taught among the science behind detecting darkish matter, I used to be continually challenged at NERSC. I believe that is going to be onerous to duplicate in retirement. “

Nonetheless, he’s wanting ahead to “doing all these belongings you assume you will do however by no means appear to have time for,” together with touring along with his spouse Amy, biking, backpacking, and finishing some long-neglected family initiatives.

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab

The Nationwide Power Analysis Scientific Computing Middle (NERSC) is a US Division of Power Workplace of Science Person Facility that serves as the first high-performance computing middle for scientific analysis sponsored by the Workplace of Science. Situated at Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory, the NERSC Middle serves greater than 7,000 scientists at nationwide laboratories and universities researching a variety of issues in combustion, local weather modeling, fusion power, supplies science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and different disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE nationwide laboratory positioned in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific analysis and is managed by the College of California for the US Division of Power. Be taught extra about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.

Supply: Margie Wylie, NERSC

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