Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for February 2011

Library Reading Room Relocates to Lower Cafeteria in April

After renovations are completed in late March, the Library Reading Room will move to its new home in the lower level of the cafeteria (room 002). Remodeling includes removal of the mirrored wall, installation of new bookcases, two built-in desks and freestanding tables and lounge chairs for patrons. The space will have Wi-Fi connection and receptacles for computer plug-in. New carpet, paint, lighting, and drapes will also be installed. For more information, contact Susan McCutchan (x4075).

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White House Science Advisor Tells AAAS Obama is Committed to Science

President Barack Obama is firmly committed to science, technology and innovation as essential drivers of the country’s economic future, said John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in his plenary address to the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “No matter how severe the fiscal constraints, the president believes that now is not the time to stop investing in the drivers of economic growth that we need,” Holdren said, speaking to a standing-room only crowd of more than 1,500 attendees. “The president is very clear that he wants us to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the competition.” Tomorrow, a story on earth scientist Terry Hazen’s AAAS Gulf oil spill presentation will be posted.

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Brown Tide Culprit Sequenced

Algae play key roles in the global carbon cycle, helping sequester significant amounts of carbon. Some algal species can bloom, or become so numerous, that they discolor coastal waters and reduce the amount of light and oxygen available in the ecosystem. Previously known as “red tide,” the term “harmful algal blooms” (HABs) was introduced two decades ago to note accumulation of algal biomass can sometimes also turn the ocean waters brown or green and disrupt an ecosystem, or that red-colored waters can sometimes be harmless. Joint Genome Institute scientists led by Igor Grigoriev have reported the first complete and annotated genome sequence of a HAB species: Aureococcus anophagefferens.More>

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‘Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect’ BLISS Workshop Monday

Employees interested in sharing science activities with local 7th graders are invited to an upcoming workshop, “Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect” on Monday, Feb. 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Building 7-211. Participants will learn to guide students as they explore this urgent and real-life environmental problem through hands-on activities, experiments, and simulations. Scientific theories and evidence are presented to develop scientific skills and deepen understanding of environmental problems from different perspectives. The workshop is part of the Lab’s Center for Science and Engineering Education Berkeley Lab in School Settings (BLISS) program. Registration is required and lunch will be provided.

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‘Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect' BLISS Workshop Monday

Employees interested in sharing science activities with local 7th graders are invited to an upcoming workshop, “Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect” on Monday, Feb. 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Building 7-211. Participants will learn to guide students as they explore this urgent and real-life environmental problem through hands-on activities, experiments, and simulations. Scientific theories and evidence are presented to develop scientific skills and deepen understanding of environmental problems from different perspectives. The workshop is part of the Lab’s Center for Science and Engineering Education Berkeley Lab in School Settings (BLISS) program. Registration is required and lunch will be provided.

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A Goldilocks Catalyst: Converting Carbon Dioxide to Methanol

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion are major contributors to global warming. Since this greenhouse gas comes from burning fuel, researchers believe that it can be converted back into fuel rather than released into the atmosphere. Catalysts that induce chemical reactions could be the key to this recycling process, and a team of researchers are using NERSC computers to find the right one for the job. More>

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Updates on ALS Research Presented at Science Café Tomorrow

The next ALS Science Café will be held tomorrow (Feb. 25) at noon in the User Support Building’s second floor conference room (Building 15). Bring your lunch and enjoy café-style snacks while listening to presentations by Hendrik Ohldag on “Doesn’t a Magnetic Pencil Sound Like a Great Idea?” Elizabeth Boatman on “Fossils: Discerning Fact From Fiction in Multi-Million-Year-Old Materials,” and Daniel Merthe on “Nanofocusing on Beamline 5.3.1.”

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Mina Bissell Speaks at Women Scientists Luncheon Today

Breast cancer researcher Mina Bissell is the featured speaker at the next Women Scientists and Engineers Council Luncheon today (Feb. 24) in Perseverance Hall (Bldg. 54-130) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The luncheon will begin with a video interview of Bissell, originally recorded for Berkeley Lab Learning Institute’s Postdoc Career Development Workshop. Following the screening, Bissell will answer questions about her achievements and career. Lunch will be provided. For details contact Veronica Nero (x7443).

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Saul Perlmutter Wins Einstein Medal

Saul Perlmutter of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division, a professor of physics at UC Berkeley, has won the Einstein Medal presented annually by the Albert Einstein Society of Bern, Switzerland, for “discovering the acceleration of the universe” via the observation of very distant supernovae. Perlmutter shares the award with Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and John Hopkins University. Perlmutter is the leader and cofounder, in 1988, of the international Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP) based at Berkeley Lab, which was established to develop ways of using distant supernovae as standard candles to measure the expansion rate of the universe. More>

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Physicist and Information Scientist Stu Loken Dies

Stewart (Stu) Loken died Saturday, Feb. 19, after a long battle with cancer. He was 68. After gaining his Ph.D. at Caltech, Loken joined Berkeley Lab as a postdoc in high-energy physics in 1974 and stayed at the Lab until late 2010, serving most recently as the Physics Division’s deputy director. From 1988 to 2000 he was director of the former Information and Computing Sciences Division, where he was credited with laying the groundwork for NERSC and ESnet. In 1993 Loken was diagnosed with leukemia. He is survived by his wife, Geanie, daughter Kristen, son Scott, and two sisters. A more detailed obituary and information on memorial services will appear soon in Today at Berkeley Lab.

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