LIVERMORE -- Before a packed auditorium of employees on Thursday, physicist Bill Goldstein was named the 12th director in the history of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He will take over the job Monday.
Goldstein has 29 years experience at the lab and has been the lab's deputy director of science and technology since 2012. He will lead a workforce of 6,300 employees and manage an annual operating budget of around $1.5 billion. Goldstein will also serve as president of Lawrence Livermore National Security, the public-private consortium that manages lab operations.
"This is an incredible honor to be given this responsibility," Goldstein said at his introductory news conference. "No one understands how serious and how rewarding it can be. I expect this laboratory is going to continue to make important contributions to this nation."
Goldstein, who led the creation of the lab's Jupiter Laser Facility and formed a team to expand use of the National Ignition Facility, or NIF, to outside user groups and academia, acknowledged the super-laser project's "critical" importance to the future of the lab.
"We are committed to achieving ignition and to understanding what it takes to do that," Goldstein said. "But it's important to realize that right now, having not yet achieved ignition, NIF is making contributions to nuclear stewardship."
The University of California headed the four-month search for a director, considering more than 100 candidates. Goldstein's pick was made with approval of the LLNS executive committee, the U.S. Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The process included a search committee chaired by Norman Pattiz, LLNS board chairman, and a screening task force of lab colleagues, administrators and academic leaders.
Pattiz said Goldstein's work in helping evolve NIF into a user facility, combined with his understanding of nonproliferation, nuclear stockpile stewardship, alternative energy and climate modeling, helped make him the committee's unanimous choice.
"Bill is a well-known and respected commodity in the NNSA and DOE. He's a respected scientist, a manager, a visionary," Pattiz said. "We felt he was the right guy to step in and be able to have immediate impact because he already is."
Pattiz wouldn't disclose financial terms or the length of Goldstein's contract, adding, "The guy is not overpaid."
While not taking a position on the selection, Society of Professionals, Scientists, and Engineers union board member Jeff Colvin offered his well-wishes.
"The union looks forward to a constructive relationship with the new director," Colvin said.
Goldstein is a member of the American Physical Society and a board member of the National Science Foundation Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology at UC Davis. He received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Columbia University and performed his postdoctoral work at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 papers on particle theory, nuclear physics, atomic physics, X-ray physics and plasma spectroscopy, according to the lab.
Goldstein replaces former director Parney Albright, who resigned in October, and interim director Bret Knapp, who recently announced he has non-Hodgkin lymphoma and took himself out of the running for the job.
Knapp will remain in Livermore for the next several months to help with the transition, lab officials said.
"It is a sincere pleasure to congratulate Bill as he takes the helm of this great institution which is Lawrence Livermore," Knapp said in a statement. "I want to take the opportunity to thank LLNL employees for all they do and encourage them to continue to be steadfast in fulfilling their incredibly important mission. I will continue to be one of their strongest proponents."
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.