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. pupil 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 medical use. “I cherished 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 job 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 residence. “There are literally quite a lot of us recovering scientists at NERSC,” Day stated. “I assume that it is form 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 obtainable to us.”

It is also been necessary for Day to be concerned in a mission-driven group like NERSC: “Even when I wasn’t instantly the one saving lives at UCSF, I knew I used to be a part of a corporation that did,” Day stated. “It is the identical factor at NERSC: Despite the fact that I am not advancing scientific data instantly, I am a part of a corporation that is serving to that to occur, and that has all the time 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 workforce that applied Spin, a “container” system that lets scientists simply arise and share technological instruments, comparable to web sites, databases, and knowledge evaluation instruments. “I feel NERSC is form of well-known for eradicating friction from science, and Spin is a superb instance of that.”

He additionally cited the lately rolled out Federated Identification venture, which permits scientists to entry NERSC techniques and sources by way of their residence establishments’ logins. “I all the time felt like we’re a part of a fairly robust workforce at NERSC, so all of the issues I would wish to cite are actually workforce 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 is not solely an excellent technologist, however he is additionally articulate, beneficiant, and has a unbelievable humorousness. Mark performed a pivotal position in all the group’s initiatives, and particularly with our Federated Identification initiative, however he additionally made the work pleasurable, ”Snavely stated.

Day stated he’ll miss the folks he works with and the mental challenges of supporting science. “Whether or not determining find out how to apply a brand new know-how or attending a seminar to be taught a number of the science behind detecting darkish matter, I used to be consistently challenged at NERSC. I feel that is going to be laborious to duplicate in retirement. “

Nonetheless, he’s wanting ahead to “doing all these belongings you assume you’ll 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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