Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for December 2010

JGI Decks the Halls, Desks, Filing Cabinets, and Much More

The Joint Genome Institute’s Employee Activities Committee held a holiday decorating contest, with the winners for numerous categories announced earlier this month:

• Greenest Christmas Tree – Eric Tang
• Most Confused by the Holidays – Christine Naca and Richard Pope
• Most Christmas Cheer per Square Foot – Angela Tarver
• Winter Wonderland/”I think I can, I knew I could” Award – JGI HR (Dee Catino, Chris Watchmaker, Bill Cannan and Cristina Albers)
• Best Holiday-Related Use of Shelf Space – Terri Bartolome
• Doors, Like Presents, are Waiting to be Opened: Ray Turner, Denise Yadon, Nick Everson, Nora Nichols and David Gilbert
• Best Use of the Holidays to Hide Work – Miranda Harmon-Smith
• Lights-On/Cling-On Award – Sandra Nicosia
• Best Use of Opposing Wall – Maggie Cunningham
• Best Dickensian Reference – Catherine Adam and Terri Jackson
• Martha Stewart Award for Staging – Denise Yadon

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Scientists Learn How to Read the Genome

As part of the National Institute of Health’s “model organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements” (modENCODE) project, teams of researchers led by Berkeley Lab’s Susan Celniker and Gary Karpen of the Life Sciences Division have made major advances in understanding the complex relationships between Drosophila’s coding and noncoding sequences, as recorded by DNA base pairs, and the patterns and physical organization of its chromosomes, both essential for producing a functioning fruit fly. These new insights into reading the Drosophila genome apply to many other organisms as well, including human beings. More>

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DOE Releases FY2010 National Lab Report Cards

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has released the performance report card for each Office of Science national laboratory for the period from Oct. 1, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2010. Berkeley Lab received a grade of A- for the categories of Mission Accomplishment, Construction and Operation of Research Facilities, Contractor Leadership/Stewardship, Business Systems, and Security and Emergency Management. The Lab received a grade of B+ for the categories of S&T Project/Program Management, Environment Safety and Health, and Facilities Maintenance and Infrastructure. The national laboratories’ management and operating contracts require the Office of Science to appraise the scientific and operational performance of its contractors. Go here to see the lab scores.

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Trapping Antihydrogen First Among Physics World's 2010 Top 10 Breakthroughs

It was a tough decision, given all the fantastic physics done in 2010. But Physics World’s editors decided to award their 2010 Breakthrough of the Year to international teams of scientists at CERN who created and controlled anti-atoms of hydrogen. The ALPHA collaboration announced its findings in late November, which involved trapping 38 antihydrogen atoms (an anti-electron orbiting an antiproton) for about 170 milliseconds — long enough to measure their spectroscopic properties in detail, which the team hopes to do in 2011. Berkeley Lab physicists and engineers including the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division’s Joel Fajans and Jonathan Wurtele were leaders in the design and testing of the novel magnetic trap, and in other concepts, devices, and programs used by the ALPHA collaboration. More>

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JGI Research Makes Science Magazine's List of 'Insights of the Decade'

The Joint Genome Institute was involved in three of Science magazine’s 10 Insights of the Decade, which were highlighted in the Dec. 17 issue. JGI Director Eddy Rubin was involved in two of these achievements, on the study of “ancient DNA,” and with Genome Technologies Department Head Len Pennacchio on the study of “genetic dark matter.” JGI Chief Informatics Officer and Associate Director Victor Markowitz and Metagenome Program Head Nikos Kyrpides lead the effort to maintain the data catalog associated with the Human Microbiome Project.

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Tech Transfer's Bill Shelander Talks Start-Ups With JBEI

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) hosted a presentation by the Lab’s new Business Development Specialist Bill Shelander. During his talk on “Thinking About a Start-Up Venture?” Shelander shared insights from his twenty years of managing venture funds, including key success factors for the transfer of research technology to industry, venture capital’s investment decision criteria, roles for researchers in start-ups, and balancing risk versus pay-off. His presentation is part of a multi-pronged approach to help researchers at the Lab navigate the start-up world. He also engages directly with scientists via in-person consultations. For more information, contact Shelander or visit the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management website or JBEI’s Business Development website.

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January Calendar of HR Benefits Events Available

From a postdoc benefits orientation to a workshop on long-distance elder care, the HR Benefits department hosts a number of events to help staff manage their work and life. To assist in tracking upcoming events, the department produces a monthly calendar, and the January edition is now available.

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Use Detours Around Building 25 Demolition Site

Demolition activities at Building 25 are ramping up and access to the area around this site is limited to those directly involved in the project. Lab staff and guests must follow detours around the construction/demolition area, which are delineated on this map. With your safety as our primary concern, the Project Team asks that you respect the job site boundary, caution tape, barricades and signs and take another route around Building 25.

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First Floor of Building 70A and 50F Parking Lot Closed on Monday

On Monday, Dec. 27, the first floor of the Building 70A and 50F parking garages will be closed due to construction. No vehicles will be able to enter or exist the 50F lot. Access to 70A will be permitted for those loading items for move to Potter St. from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Strange New Twist: Researchers Discover Möbius Symmetry in Metamaterials

Möbius symmetry, the topological phenomenon that yields a half-twisted strip with two surfaces but only one side, has been a source of fascination since its discovery in 1858 by German mathematician August Möbius. As artist M.C. Escher so vividly demonstrated in his “parade of ants,” it is possible to traverse the “inside” and “outside” surfaces of a Möbius strip without crossing over an edge. For years, scientists have been searching for an example of Möbius symmetry in natural materials without any success. Now a team of scientists has discovered Möbius symmetry in metamaterials — materials engineered from artificial “atoms” and “molecules” with electromagnetic properties that arise from their structure rather than their chemical composition. More>

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