Robin Lopez in the lab

Robin Lopez, research associate within the Geophysics Department, is the recipient of a Director’s Award from the Berkeley Lab Directorate.

Margaret Torn will receive a Director’s Award for her work employing novel, multi-scale observing systems under challenging field conditions to document soil response to climate signals.

Two EESA staff are set to receive a prestigious Director’s Award from Berkeley Lab’s Directorate at a ceremony on November 30. Robin Lopez is a research associate in the Geophysics Department of the Energy Geosciences Division who began working at the Lab as an intern. He is being honored for his commitment to scientific outreach within local communities here in the Bay Area. Margaret Torn, the senior scientific advisor in EESA’s Climate and Ecological Sciences Division, will also receive a Director’s Award – in recognition of her scientific work employing novel, multi-scale observing systems under challenging field conditions. Torn’s research documents unexpectedly large soil CO2 and CH4 production in response to climate signals.

Earlier this year Lopez was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and Torn was named a 2017 AGU Fellow. Both accomplishments are highly sought-after: American Geophysical Union fellow honorees, in particular, are vetted by a committee of  AGU Fellows and represent no more than 0.1 percent of AGU’s 60,000 members.

The distinction of receiving a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is no less significant in the life of a young scientist. In a previous post authored shortly after receiving news of the award, Lopez describes lacking educational support growing up. His Director’s Award celebrates how Lopez has inspired Bay Area students, many from undeserved communities or who may be lacking in educational support, to pursue science careers. He is also known for encouraging other Berkeley Lab scientists to more actively engage in science outreach with potential future scientists here in the Bay Area.

Margaret Torn is an ecologist and biogeochemist who studies the natural carbon cycle and human impacts on the carbon cycle through land use, energy use, and climate change. She leads EESA’s Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions Program Domain, which includes research on terrestrial ecosystems, climate, and land-atmosphere coupling.  Torn has been contributing to the success of Berkeley Lab since 1998 when she was named a scientist within the Earth Sciences Division. She has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles on a range of subjects, including soil carbon cycling, effects of climate on ecosystems, ecological aspects of bioenergy production, and strategies for mitigating climate change. The results of the research for which she received the Director’s Award suggest larger-than-expected feedbacks with climate change in both temperate and Arctic systems. Torn showed that current models underestimate such feedbacks or are missing feedback processes.

A complete list of Director’s Awards recipients from across Berkeley Lab can be found here.