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Leone wins DOD 2010 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship

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Chemistry professor Stephen Leone reviews an experiment in his lab for attosecond science.
Chemistry professor Stephen Leone reviews an experiment in his lab for attosecond science.

February 9, 2010

Chemistry professor Stephen Leone has won a coveted Department of Defense (DOD) National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF). These fellowships provide grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct unclassified, basic research that may transform DOD’s capabilities in the long term.

Leone’s $4.25 million fellowship to study attosecond (1 attosecond is 10-18 second) processes in solids will provide support for personnel and research at an attosecond laser laboratory in Hildebrand Hall. Leone, along with Department of Chemistry colleague Dan Neumark, had earlier received a $1 million equipment grant to establish such a lab from the W. M. Keck Foundation.

Leone and Neumark’s research will use laser pulses in the extreme ultraviolet or soft x-ray region, lasting only 100 billion billionths of a second. These pulses can capture the movement of electrons, among the fastest time processes that are possible to investigate today.

“This is great news for our attosecond efforts,” says Leone. “I am thrilled by the honor of the DOD fellowship, and it permits our attosecond science effort at Berkeley to move to the next level.”

In response to the NSSEFF announcement issued by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 800 nomination letters from academic institutions resulted in the technical review of 670 white papers. Twenty-one semifinalists were selected from the authors of these white papers and invited to submit full proposals outlining their research plans. Leone was one of 11 finalists selected.

The finalists will conduct basic research in core science and engineering disciplines that are expected to underpin future DOD technology development. The winning research proposals are in the areas of high temperature superconductors; resilient networks; synthetic biology; computational electromagnetics; quantum information science; waves in random media; image acquisition, analysis and integration; attosecond electron processes in solids; theoretical and computational design of light and force-driven molecular materials; and emergency of shape and patterns in biomolecular assemblies in ionic solutions.

Another Berkeley researcher, Alper Atamturk, professor of industrial engineering and operations research, was also among the 2010 recipients. Professor Connie Chang-Hasnain of UC Berkeley’s electrical engineering and computer science department was a 2008 fellowship recipient.

Leone has the distinction of being the only sixth-generation Berkeley chemist: he earned his Ph.D. with Brad Moore in 1974; Moore earned his Ph.D. with George Pimentel in 1963; Pimentel earned his Ph.D. with Kenneth Pitzer in 1949; Pitzer earned his Ph.D. with Wendell Latimer in 1937; and Latimer earned his Ph.D. with George Gibson in 1919.

Says Leone, “This DOD fellowship will allow my lab to carry on the proud tradition of physical chemistry research here in the college.”

More Information

For more information about this program, go to

For a list of this year’s winners, go to

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