Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for May 2013

Atom-by-Atom, Bond-by-Bond: Sharpest-Ever Images of a Chemical Reaction

When Felix Fischer of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division (MSD) set out to build graphene nanostructures from scratch, the first imperative was to simplify the reactions by performing them on a flat surface. Fischer, a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley, worked with MSD’s Michael Crommie, a UC Berkeley professor of physics, using noncontact atomic force microscopy to watch as precursor molecules were heated on a silver surface to 90 degrees Celsius. The reaction was surprising but the images were moreso: the highest resolution images ever made of a molecule’s atoms and bonds before and after a chemical reaction. More>

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Researchers Model Impact of Aerosols Over California

For the first time ever, researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Colorado State University and the California Air Resources Board have characterized the relative, direct influence of different aerosol species on seasonal atmospheric warming and cooling over California using supercomputers at NERSC and at PNNL. The scientists found that aerosols have a net cooling effect on California’s atmosphere, but individual species contribute differently. While sulfates contributed the most to cooling, black carbon particles, or soot, were responsible for up to 95 percent of countervailing warming. More>

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Blackberry Gate Closed Tomorrow

The Blackberry Gate will be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. Access will be available to Building 88 employees only through Blackberry Gate only. Strawberry Gate will be opened during this time period. Detour signs will be in place directing traffic from Blackberry Strawberry Gate.

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Lab Blood Drive on June 18

The Philanthropy Club is hosting a blood drive in the Bloodmobile at the Bevatron parking lot on Tuesday, June 18, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register for your appointment here (sponsor code is LBL). Type O is especially needed. First-time donors are welcome. For questions, contact Heather Pinto (x4181).

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Director Alivisatos Featured in NPR Story on Science Budget Cuts

American leadership in science has been a given for most of the last century. About a third of science research and development in this country has been supported by the federal government. Funding for about 60 percent of basic research in science comes from Washington. We’ve celebrated the results, from moon shots to the Internet. Now Washington’s cutting back, and it’s hitting American science — just when competitor nations are plowing more cash into the science frontier. More>

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Light-Controlled Gel Makes Big Strides in Soft Robotics

Inspired by the way plants grow toward light sources, a phenomenon known as phototropism, scientists from UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division have created a hydrogel that could be manipulated by light. The new hydrogel, described earlier this month in the journal Nano Letters, could have future applications in the emerging field of soft robotics. The research was led by Seung-Wuk Lee, who last year unveiled a way to generate electricity from viruses. More>

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Capturing Molecular Structures in a Flash of X-Rays

The structures of most of the two million proteins in the human body are unknown because they can’t be crystallized. Peter Zwart of the Physical Biosciences Division and his colleagues have come up with a new algorithm for efficiently solving the structures of proteins and other big molecules in their more natural fluid states, using the “diffract before destroy” capability of free-electron laser light sources like SLAC’s LCLS. Called fluctuation x-ray scattering, the technique uses the average diffraction patterns of numerous particles in solution, all captured simultaneously. More>

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Alternative Fuels Workshop Brings Journalists to Lab

Public Affairs recently held a workshop for journalists who cover the energy and alternative fuels fields. The event, held at JBEI, touched on the challenges of biofuels, new battery technologies, how to create a system that mimics photosynthesis, and how scale-up of alternative fuel use will effect policy goals. Presenting were Lab scientists Jay Keasling, Venkat Srinivasan, Heinz Frei, and Jeff Greenblatt. Attending were reporters from KQED, New Scientist, and Technology Review. This outreach helps introduce journalists to Lab scientists and showcases the breadth of their work. Journalists also toured JBEI and the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit led by the Lab’s Blake Simmons and James Gardner.

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Upcoming Mathworks Seminars June 11

The IT Division is sponsoring two Mathworks seminars on Tuesday, June 11, in the Building 50 Auditorium. Session 1 (10 a.m. to noon) will cover Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualization with MATLAB. Session 2 (1 to 3 p.m.) will cover Optimizing and Accelerating Your MATLAB Code. Registration is not required, but would be appreciated. More>

10 a.m.

1 p.m.

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Recipients of Director’s Achievement Awards Announced

The recipients of the Director’s Lifetime and Exceptional Achievement Awards have been announced. David Nygren (Physics) and Arie Shoshani (Computational Research), pictured l-r, are the recipients of the Berkeley Lab Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Exceptional Achievement honorees include Ron Zuckerman (Safety), Warren Byrne (Service), Nathan Hillson (Tech Transfer), Roy Kaltschmidt (Outreach), Jill Fuss and Elizabeth Bautista (Diversity), David Kestell (Operations), and Haimei Zheng, Kevin Einsweiler, Rebecca Abergel, Peter Nugent, Kam-Biu Luk, and Kirsten Persson (Science). Team awards went to Evan Mills, Norman Bourassa, Leo Rainer, and Gregory Homan (Societal Impact), and the HR Recruiting/Hiring Technology Improvement group (Operations). Go here for more on the Berkeley Lab Prize, and here for Achievement Awards.

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