April 28, 2022–
It is with great sadness that Workforce Development & Education (WD&E) announces the passing of Zach Anderson, a former SULI intern who worked at Berkeley Lab during the Fall 2013 and Fall 2015 terms. He worked under the mentorship of Peter Ercius and Colin Ophus, who are both Staff Scientists at the National Center for Electron Microscopy in the Molecular Foundry Division. As Peter recalls, “Zach came at a time when the center was starting to utilize programming to control our electron microscopes and his skills in computer programming were put to good use.” Colin says, “Zach was a great guy to work with, but even more so I will remember his easy-going friendliness and cheerful, boundless optimism whether planning or experiments or just hanging out over coffee.” Zach spent two terms with this team coding Python programs that automated the acquisition of complex datasets. Notably, Zach’s work led to the ability to synchronize data acquisition with the movement of an electron beam to study materials with a new technique. This new technique allowed many Lab scientists and users to accomplish experiments that were not previously possible. The software that Zach helped to develop is still in use and the software has been utilized in at least 25 scientific articles. His contribution is even acknowledged in the standard operating procedure that is used by visiting scientists. “Zach’s interests in solving problems and capabilities,” Peter remembers, “were only overshadowed by his funny, engaging personality which made everyone around him happier.”
Zach’s optimism and resourcefulness were apparent to everyone who worked with him. Laleh Coté, WD&E’s STEM Education Specialist, says that Zach was exceptionally kind to staff and other interns. He actively looked for opportunities to support his cohort members. “Every time we held an event or tour for the interns,” Laleh recalls, “Zach always offered a hand with moving furniture or setting up equipment. If I caught his eye during a guest speaker’s presentation, he would return a big, bright smile.” Zach made a difference through his strong love for his work and the people around him. He will be missed by his mentors, friends, and colleagues in the Berkeley Lab community.
Zach Anderson sits (center) with his mentors Peter Ercius and Colin Ophus (L to R) in 2015.