Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for November 2013

Keep Safety in Mind During the Thanksgiving Holiday

The Lab’s Protective Services group would like to remind employees to remember some important safety tips as they gather with their family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. For example, stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop to keep an eye on food. Do not leave the house when cooking a turkey and check on it frequently. Also, keep children at least three feet away from hot stoves. Go here for more tips.

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The Inner Workings of a Bacterial Black Box Caught on Time-Lapse Video

Cyanobacteria, found in just about every ecosystem on Earth, are one of the few bacteria that can create their own energy through photosynthesis and “fix” carbon – from carbon dioxide molecules – and convert it into fuel inside of miniscule compartments called carboxysomes. Using a pioneering visualization method, researchers from UC Berkeley and the Joint Genome Institute made what are, in effect, movies of this complex and vital cellular machinery being assembled inside living cells. They observed that bacteria build these internal compartments in a way never seen in plant, animal and other eukaryotic cells: from the inside out. More>

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Lab Hosts Holiday Party on Dec. 17

Employees are invited to attend the Lab’s holiday party on Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the cafeteria dining hall. The event will feature holiday music, refreshments, remarks from senior leaders, and a performance by the Lab’s Karaoke Club. Festive attire is encouraged.

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Winners of Photo Club’s ‘Vanishing Point/Lead-in Lines’ Theme Contest Selected

Each month, the Lab’s Photo Club selects a theme for its members to capture in images. Members are then invited to submit two photos, and members vote for the top four photographs that best embody the theme. The theme for November was “Vanishing Point/Lead-in Lines” and the winners are Sandy Miarecki of Nuclear Sciences, Daniel Parks of the Advanced Light Source, Doug Lockhart of Facilities, and Joost Daniels of Accelerator and Fusion Research. Go here to view the winning images and for more information on the club.

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Lab Team Participates in Berkeley Half Marathon Race

A team of Berkeley Lab employees was among thousands of participants in the first-ever Berkeley half marathon, which took place last Sunday. Lab runners included (from l-r) Jennifer Willen (1:56:00), Samantha Weaver (1:57:52), Jeff Miller (1:50:58), Vagelis Vossos, Rachel Carl (1:54:27), Deborah Miller (2:53:57), Teresa Williams (1:45:28), Michael Kremer (1:51:45), Jeremy Pease (1:58:00), and Kenneth Higa (1:37:01). Race participants not included in the photo are Christian Fitting (1:15:57), and Alison Hatt (2:03:00).

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Studies Find Methane Emissions in State and U.S. Greater Than Expected

Current official inventories of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas released from landfills, livestock ranches and oil and gas facilities, may be underestimated both nationally and in California by a factor of about 1.5, according to new research. A pair of new studies by EETD’s Marc Fischer and colleagues strongly suggest that methane emissions from oil and gas production may account for a significant portion of the underestimated emissions both in California and nationwide, and may be as much as five times greater than the current inventory estimates of EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research), the most comprehensive global methane database. More>

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Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman Visits the Lab

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman visited Berkeley Lab on Friday, Nov. 15, during a brief stay in the Bay Area. Glenn Mara of the University of California Office of the President and Aundra Richards of the DOE Berkeley Site Office joined Deputy Laboratory Director Horst Simon’s welcome. They updated Poneman on the lab’s future initiatives and current capital projects and heard briefings on cyber security, computing, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He also toured FLEXLAB and the ALS. As second-in-command at DOE, Poneman is responsible for assisting the Secretary of Energy in the management and operations of the agency and acting on his behalf when necessary. Poneman (right) is pictured with Ken Goldberg of the Materials Sciences Division.

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Lab’s Bissell Comments on Risks of the Replication Drive

The push to replicate research findings could shelve promising lines of inquiry and unfairly damage the reputations of careful, meticulous scientists, says Mina Bissell, Distinguished Scientist in the Life Sciences Division. Writing a commentary in the journal Nature, Bissell a renowned breast cancer researcher, expressed concern about a drive underway by NIH and others in the biological fields to have results replicated by an independent, self-appointed entity that will charge for the service. Although reproducibility is the bedrock of the scientific process, Bissell notes that those who try to repeat research often lack the time, funding, resources and expertise to do so. “It is sometimes much easier not to replicate than to replicate studies, because the techniques and reagents are sophisticated, time-consuming and difficult to master,” she says.

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Three Lab Researchers Named AAAS Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named its 2013 fellows, and three Berkeley Lab researchers are among the recipients. The awardees include Stephen Cramer (left) of the Physical Biosciences Division, Norman Edelstein (center) of the Chemical Sciences Division, and retiree Glen Lambertson of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division. Former Berkeley Lab earth scientist Terry Hazen (now at Oakridge Lab) was also included. More>

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An Inside Look at a MOF in Action

Jeff Kortright and Walter Drisdell of the Materials Sciences Division led a study in which X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Advanced Light Source was used to make the first in situ electronic structure observations of the adsorption of carbon dioxide inside Mg-MOF-74, an open metal site MOF that has emerged as one of the most promising strategies for capturing and storing greenhouse gases. Experimental results were recorded at ALS beamline 6.3.1. Computational resources at both NERSC and the Molecular Foundry were used to help interpret the data. Also working on this study, which was carried out through Berkeley’s Energy Frontier Research Center, were Roberta Poloni, Thomas McDonald, Jeffrey Long, Berend Smit, Jeffrey Neaton and David Prendergast. More>

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