Today at Berkeley Lab

A Debate Over the Shape of the Invisible Universe

The notion that dark matter might be complex has gained traction in recent years. The field started opening up around 2008, when an experiment called PAMELA detected an excess of positrons over electrons coming from space, which fueled interest in “asymmetric dark matter,” a now-popular model proposed by Berkeley Lab’s Kathryn Zurek and collaborators. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

DOE’s Sherwood-Randall on Upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial

Given the Golden State’s reputation for inventing the future, it’s no surprise that the Bay Area will host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in June, the first major gathering of energy ministers from key nations after the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, says Deputy Secretary for Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall in a piece for the Mercury News. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Space Exploration: The Future is Now

The Lab’s David Bailey co-wrote an opinion piece for the Huffington Post on the future of space travel, including nanocraft to explore Alpha Centauri, plans for forming a Mars colony, and advanced propulsion technology, and the impact these developments may have on Fermi’s paradox. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Avoiding the Dangers of Thirdhand Smoke

Emerging research from testing cultured human cells to more recent animal studies suggests that thirdhand smoke (THS) could cause health problems in children and adults exposed to it. “This is a relatively new area,” says the Lab’s Bo Hang. He led the research that found thirdhand smoke can cause DNA damage and continues to study the potential harmful effects of THS. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

A Visionary Project Aims for Alpha Centauri, a Star 4.37 Light-Years Away

Russian philanthropist Yuri Milner is leading a group of scientists and Silicon Valley innovators on a quest to send a fleet of robots to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system. “Breakthrough Starshot” would be directed by former NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden, and Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Saul Perlmutter is one of the team’s prominent advisors. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Farmland Could Help Combat Climate Change

The earth’s soil stores a lot of carbon from the atmosphere, and managing it with the climate in mind may be an important part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Lab’s Margaret Torn is quoted in this Scientific American story. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

With Supercomputing, Disruptive Innovation in Energy Likely to Accelerate

Thanks to breakthroughs in high performance computing and materials science, a whole generation of vastly improved or entirely new energy technologies is likely to be unleashed on us in the very near future. The Lab’s Horst Simon, Kristin Persson, Gerbrand Ceder, and David Skinner, are quoted in this Forbes.com story. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Billionaire Paul Allen Pledges $100 Million to Fund Life Sciences Research

The initial round of grants will include a $1.5 million grant for molecular and cell biology researcher Jennifer Doudna, who co-invented the CRISPR gene editing technology. She will study new ways of editing genes by targeting RNA. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

How Many Synthetic Genes Does it Take to Sustain Life?

Scientists have created a stripped-down life form, with a minimal number of genes needed to keep it going. They hope to use it as a platform to create designer life forms, and say it’s already taught some important, and humbling, lessons about the essence of life. The Lab’s Adam Arkin and Samuel Deutsch comment on the research in this NBC News story.

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.

Using Deep Learning to Picture all of the Earth’s Water

Scientists are using artificial intelligence to help them achieve precise, dynamic measurements of water levels around the world. Steven Glaser of the Energy Geosciences Division says most current water models are based on readings from the last 50 years. More>

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.