Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for February 2014

Highly Promising Nanocatalysts for Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

Peidong Yang, a chemist and nanomaterials authority who holds joint appointments with the Materials Sciences Division, UC Berkeley and the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute, led the discovery of a highly promising new class of nanocatalysts for fuel cells and water-alkali electrolyzers. Consisting of hollow platinum/nickel dodecahedron nanoframes, these nanocatalysts already exceed the activity target DOE set for 2017 by an order of magnitude. Also contributing to this research, done in collaboration with Argonne National Lab, were Vojislav Stamenkovic, Chen Chen, Yijin Kang, Ziyang Huo, Zhongwei Zhu, Wenyu Huang, Huolin Xin, Joshua Snyder, Dongguo Li, Jeffrey Herron, Manos Mavrikakis, Miaofang Chi, Karren More, Yadong Li, Nenad Markovic and Gabor Somorjai. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

A New Species in the Amazon Rain Forest…Scientists

The Amazon Basin in South America includes the most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest on the planet, covering 5.5 million square kilometers. The sheer size of the Amazon rainforest creates a strong impact on the climate in the Southern Hemisphere and is a primary driver of global atmospheric circulation. Scientific collaborators from the United States, Brazil, and Germany, have begun a two-year study in the Amazon Basin. Data obtained during the Green Ocean Amazon, or GOAmazon, field campaign will enable scientists look at the intricacies of the natural state of the Amazon rainforest atmosphere and land systems, and how these may be perturbed by human influences. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Meiosis Maven: An Interview With Life Scientist Abby Dernburg

[The Scientist] Fueled by her love of visual data and addicted to chromosomes, Berkeley Lab life scientist Abby Dernburg continues to study how homologous chromosomes find each other during gamete formation. “When I was a kid, I always felt stupid, in the sense that I didn’t understand how the world worked,” says Dernburg. Although she can’t explain why her twelve-year-old self homed in on biology rather than physics or economics, Dernburg says she already sensed that understanding biology was the best way to understand the world she lived in. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Lab Researchers Featured in ARPA-E Success Story Video on Biofuels

To date, 22 Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) projects have attracted more than $625 million in private-sector follow-on funding after ARPA-E’s investment of approximately $95 million. ARPA-E earlier this week hosted a summit and technology showcase. As part of that event, four project videos were debuted, one of which, on biofuels, mentions the Joint BioEnergy Institute, Jim Kirby (Physical Biosciences), and Christer Janssen (Earth Sciences). More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Meet the Most Recent Recipients of Lab Royalty Checks

Berkeley Lab’s senior leadership hosted a celebration of licensed Lab innovations, and the researchers driving the inventions, at the Lab’s annual royalties ceremony last week. For the complete story, including a list of all inventors and technologies earning FY13 royalties, go here.

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Apple Security Issues Require Updates to Devices and Computers

Apple recently released updates for iOS and OS X, which address a critical vulnerability impacting encrypted communications. This vulnerability could allow an attacker to eavesdrop on connections between you and other parties, disclose personal information or install malicious software. All users of iOS and OS X Mavericks are advised to install the latest system updates as soon as possible. If you need assistance, contact the Help Desk (x4357). For more information, visit the Cyber Security website.

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Brain Project Kicks Off New Partnership With Lab, UC Berkeley, UCSF

Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco have formed a new partnership to support science and technology initiatives and projects with the intent of catalyzing potentially transformative collaborative research among the three institutions, and positioning the institutions favorably for follow-on extramural funding. The initiative is being launched with a seed-funding program that will address innovative neurotechnology research in response to the Presidential BRAIN Initiative. The partnership will support new collaborative projects that strengthen the abilities of the partners to forge a strong Bay Area neurotechnology collaboration responsive to national needs. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

EETD’s Rapid Building Energy Modeler Featured at the ARPA-E Showcase

Among the technologies featured at the ARPA-E Summit showcase in Washington D.C. this week was EETD’s Rapid Building Energy Modeler. Developed with UC Berkeley and Baumann Consulting, the technology will use a portable system of sensing and computer hardware to rapidly generate indoor thermal and physical building maps. Using cameras and laser scanners, the team will create a 3D visualization of walls, windows, floors, and other parts of buildings and use a computer model to predict how much energy the building should use. The showcase highlights ARPA-E awardees, entrepreneurs, and researchers ready to collaborate with investors and decision makers to move their ideas into the marketplace. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

AFRD’s Andre Anders Wins Dyke Award

Andre Anders, who leads the plasma applications group for the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, has won the 2014 Dyke Award from the International Symposia on Discharge and Electrical Insulation in Vacuum (ISDEIV), the highest honor that organization bestows. Anders is receiving a lifetime achievement award. Anders conducts research in plasma physics and material science, including coatings and thin film synthesis, high power impulse magnetron sputtering, cathodic vacuum arc plasma and ion sources, gas plasma sources, ion implantation, and plasma immersion ion implantation, transparent conducting oxides, and electrochromic materials. He will receive his award and cash prize at the next ISDEIV, which will be held this fall in Mumbai, India.

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Throwback Thursday…Franz Kurie ‘Holds Up’ 60-Inch Cyclotron Magnet

Franz Kurie has a bit of fun in this 1938 photo, making it look like he’s single-handedly holding up one of the magnetic poles for the 60-inch cyclotron. Kurie joined the Lab after earning his Ph.D. at Yale, where he showed that the neutron was neither a dumb-bell-shaped combination of proton and electron, nor an onion-shaped combination of an electron embracing the proton. Consequently, and until the discovery of the quark structure of hadrons, the neutron was assumed to be an elementary particle. His Kurie plot is used in the study of beta decay. Kurie died in 1972.

In an interesting coincidence, Franz Kurie was the great uncle of current NERSC employee Kathy Kincaid. Her grandmother’s sister Dottie (on her dad’s side) was married to Kurie. She apparently also worked at the Lab. Here’s a photo of her from 1938.

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.