After a little over six years at the helm, William H. "Bill" Goldstein announced Tuesday that he will be retiring as the director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and as president of Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), effective once a successor is named.
An experienced physicist who will be stepping down after spending 36 years at the lab in various capacities, Goldstein is the 12th director of LLNL since it was founded by the University of California in 1952 and the third president of LLNS.
"It is an immense honor to serve as director of this unique, exceptional institution," Goldstein said in a statement. "I have been privileged throughout my career to work alongside great scientists, engineers, technicians and administrators who have devoted their estimable talents to our critical missions. The lab has demonstrated again and again its ability to contribute to solving the biggest problems, and I am confident it will continue to serve the nation with new ideas."
According to lab officials, Goldstein has experience in all levels of the lab, having started in the physics directorate working on diverse national security and science programs before taking on roles of increasing responsibility in senior management.
"Bill's scientific leadership, coupled with his senior management experience across a broad range of programs and his enthusiasm for the Lab's mission and its people made him the ideal director," said Charlene Zettel, LLNS board chair. "He is respected and trusted not only among the Laboratory's leaders and its workforce, but across the halls of DOE, NNSA and other government sponsors, as well as the Lab's academic and industrial partners."
Lab officials say Goldstein's announcement "comes at a time of unprecedented growth across every facet of the Laboratory," with great strides being made in research and development as well as in the physical infrastructure of the lab.
For example, at the time he was appointed director in 2014, the lab possessed approximately 6,000 employees with a $1.5 billion budget, while today the lab's workforce exceeds 7,400 employees and a $2.3 billion budget.
During his tenure as the lab's leader, LLNL was named the lead in two critical life extension programs, acquired several of the world's fastest supercomputers, developed and constructed the High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System -- HAPLS, the world's most advanced and highest average power diode-pumped laser -- and became a leader in additive manufacturing and published the acclaimed "Getting to Neutral" report, a groundbreaking study on how California could achieve carbon neutrality.
Lab officials added that significant progress was made on the National Ignition Facility, the world's most energetic laser.
Most recently he has made great efforts to steer the lab through the challenges brought about by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and has been able to coordinate with employees to keep the lab operating -- all while three-quarters of the workforce have turned to telecommuting for work.
During his tenure, Goldstein has also supported the lab's efforts to combat COVID-19, efforts that include studying the disease itself, developing testing methods, providing emergency ventilators fabricated from off-the-shelf parts and studying ways to reuse protective face coverings.
Goldstein has received numerous awards and has authored or co-authored more than 70 papers in the fields of elementary particle theory, nuclear physics, atomic physics, X-ray physics and plasma spectroscopy.
Starting his career as a postdoctoral research associate with the Theoretical Physics Group at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Goldstein received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Columbia University in New York and a bachelor's degree in physics from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
"Bill always has approached everything he does at the Lab with diligence and intelligence," said U.S. Department of Energy's Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, a former colleague of Goldstein's who worked at LLNL prior to joining the federal government.
"Bill's passion for the Lab's missions and his dedication to the workforce are unquestionable. We thank him for his service to this nation," Gordon-Hagerty added.
In an effort to replace Goldstein, a national search for the next laboratory director will be led by the University of California for the LLNS partnership.