Do tornadoes follow well-worn tracks? Where do the deadliest twisters hit? Will climate change make such storms worse? Monday’s devastating tornado in Oklahoma raises some questions for which scientists have ready answers, and others that could puzzle them for years to come. “The short answer is, we have no idea,” Michael Wehner, a climate researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, told NBC News. For years, Wehner has been studying the climate models for extreme weather, and he’s a lead author for the next report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as the federal government’s latest national assessment on climate change. More>
Posts Tagged ‘In The News’
While serving as the Lab’s deputy director, Horst Simon still maintains his strong ties to the scientific computing community as an editor of the TOP500 list and invited speaker at conferences. Earlier this month, Simon gave back-to-back presentations of a new talk on “Why We Need Exascale and Why We Won’t Get There by 2020.” Not only was the talk a hit with conference attendees, but it also made its way onto Slashdot. In this HPCwire exclusive, Simon talks about his presentation with Jon Bashor of Berkeley Lab. More>
Michael Barnett, a researcher with the Lab’s Physics Division and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has collaborated on a slideshow for Scientific American online that features ’19 Ways Art and the LHC Open a Portal to Physics.” The slideshow includes works by current artists who were inspired by the Higgs boson, antimatter, and the workings of the collider itself, as well as pieces by masters of the past — such as Salvador Dali and Leonardo da Vinci — for whom science was a driving force in their pieces. More>
On a recent episode of the popular Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert starts the program by saying: “The day I long warned you about has finally arrived…not the one where my death ray is completed.” Then up pops a doctored photo showing the interior of Advanced Light Source along with a lab-coated Colbert and his “death ray” machine. He adds that his machine won’t be ready for another six months…but we have been warned!! Liz Moxon of the ALS guesses the photo was taken around 2004. Click here to watch the program. The ALS photo shows up at around 1:30 on the video.
[KGO] Today’s higher gas prices can really pinch the monthly budget. But what if there was a cheaper alternative that could be produced on the scale of oil and be better for the environment? That’s just what Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville is working on.
In this week’s Nature, Christoph Weis and Thomas Schenkel of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division contribute a “News and Views” commentary on work by Chunming Yi of the University of New South Wales and his colleagues, who used a laser to change the electron spin of a single erbium atom implanted in a disk of silicon, then detected the change with a single-electron transistor. Because of its wide use in telecommunications, Weis and Schenkel call erbium “a poster child of silicon-based photonics.” They describe Yin et al’s results as a major step toward quantum communication and possibly quantum computing.
[Slate] If you’re a runner, you might have noticed this surprising headline from the April 5 edition of the Guardian: “Brisk walk healthier than running—scientists.” Or maybe you saw this one, which ran in Health magazine the very same day: “Want to lose weight? Then run, don’t walk: Study.” Dueling research from rival academic camps? Not exactly. Both articles described the work of a herpetologist-turned-statistician at Berkeley Lab named Paul Williams, who, last month, achieved a feat that’s exceedingly rare in mainstream science: He used exactly the same dataset to publish two opposing findings. More>
[PNAS] Last October, when Susan Hubbard and her team pulled sleds full of sensitive sensors across the snow near the northernmost point in Alaska, temperatures hovered in the single digits and low teens (e.g., 8–15 °F). Foremost in the researchers’ minds, aside from collecting data on the frozen ground beneath their feet, were two things: keep an eye out for polar bears and keep their equipment from freezing. Hubbard, an earth scientist at Berkeley Lab, had hired a polar bear guard to deal with the first problem and perfected the art of wrapping pieces of equipment up and periodically warming them in heated huts to deal with the second. More>
[NPR] Miguel Modestino of the Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and Heinz Frei of the Physical Biosciences Division are part of a large team hoping to make an artificial leaf — a device for making motor fuel from sunlight and carbon dioxide instead of fossil fuels. Frei says it’s not a matter of proving the concept of artificial photosynthesis, since that was done a decade ago. Instead, the challenge now is to lower the cost, using inexpensive materials and increasing efficiency. More>
[SF Gate] Officials in charge of building a new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge repeatedly questioned the work and quality control of companies involved in making long seismic safety bolts that broke while being tightened. Cleveland-based Art Galvanizing Works Inc., which put the protective zinc coating on some of the shorter bolts, was criticized by inspectors for using approximate time guidelines for bathing the bolts. Robert Ritchie, a Berkeley Lab metallurgist, said he thinks a mixture of events contributed to the failure of the bolts. If galvanizing was not done properly, he said, some corrosion could have entered the bolts. More>