Today at Berkeley Lab

Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?

Once upon a time, there was a difference between on and off. Now, it’s more complicated: Roughly 50 devices and appliances in the typical American household are always drawing power, even when they appear to be off, estimates Berkeley Lab’s Alan Meier. More>

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Can Artificial Intelligence Create the Next Wonder Material?

Instead of continuing to develop new materials the old-fashioned way — stumbling across them by luck, then painstakingly measuring their properties in the laboratory — researchers, including the Lab’s Gerbrand Ceder and Kristin Persson, are using computer modelling and machine-learning techniques to generate libraries of candidate materials by the tens of thousands. More>

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Lab Startup CinderBio Featured in Newsweek

Startup CinderBio, founded by Lab researchers Jill Fuss and Steven Yannone, recently appeared in Newsweek. Biodegradable CinderBio enzymes operate at higher temperatures and more acidic conditions than available enzymes used in biofuel production and industrial cleaning, achieving outcomes more efficiently and at a lower cost.

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Researchers Aim to Put Carbon Dioxide Back to Work

Increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it? “The grand prize is figuring out how to make CO2 be recyclable, a renewable resource,” said Harry Atwater of the Lab’s Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, in a recent New York Times article. “That would be a millennial advance for society.” More>

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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>

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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>

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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>

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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>

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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>

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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>

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