Yesterday we received a visit of the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who came to Berkeley lab for a press conference around the COMPETES act, which aims to bolster STEM education in the US and revive semiconductor manufacturing.

Full video: Speaker Pelosi Holds Event on America COMPETES Act

When people ask me what are the answers to some of the challenges that we face, I always say the same thing: Science, Science, Science and Science – Nancy Pelosi

We are quite honored that she chose the Advanced Light Source as backdrop for the announcement. There were also other congresswomen Barbara Lee and Doris Matsui, together with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and UC President Michael Drake.

Nancy Pelosi speaking in front of the Advanced Light Source

That day felt almost normal – I haven’t seen that many people from the lab in two years. And at the same time, the situation was quite absurd: me right here, among people with the power to change science, at the dawn of WWIII.

I was also thrilled to hear my fellow friend from the West Indies Jonelle Basso address her remarks to the crowd. It felt very special!

Jonelle Basso, surounded by Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee, in front of Nobel Laureate Jennifer Doudna

I hope the new legislation will help us foster generation of coherent x-ray scientists, to allow us tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Lately, I was reminding myself these three questions from Richard Hamming’s for new hires at Bell Labs :
1- What are you working on?
2- What’s the most important open problem in your area?
3- Why aren’t they the same?”

My answers are slowly morphing: (1) I work on coherent x-ray imaging (2) and we need to understand mechanisms for high-temperature superconductivity, which could change the world: transport of green energy, flying cars and new computers (3) hopefully our tools will give us the answers we need.