On Monday, April 7, Michael Wehner of the Lab’s Computational Research Division appeared on KPFA’s show, Letters & Politics, to discuss the latest from the IPCC climate reports. Wehner was a lead author on one report that came out in late-2013. Wehner’s interview begins at about the 6:00 minute mark in the show.
Posts Tagged ‘In The News’
Rebecca Abergel of the Chemical Sciences Division was named one of the top 10 innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review, French edition. Abergel, who heads the Bioactinide Group, is leading development of a pill to decontaminate people in the event of radiation exposure, such as after a “dirty bomb” attack or an accident at a nuclear power plant. The nominations were open to both French citizens and foreigners residing in France. The winners of the regional competitions automatically become candidates for the global list of top 35 innovators under 35. Go here for more (article is in French).
[Contra Costa Times] Nuclear scientist Kai Vetter has been testing air, rain, milk and fish on the West Coast since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan, finding no public safety threat. He says that radioisotopes, such as cesium 134 and 137, peaked in 2011 at levels far below public safety thresholds and have since declined to background concentrations. “Nuclear radiation is something you can’t smell, see and feel,” he says. “It tends to scare people.” He is now watching for ocean-borne cesium and other isotopes, which are expected to arrive this spring on the West Coast in low concentrations — several hundred times below federal standards for drinking water. More>
[U.S. News & World Report] Robotics is just one of the many mushrooming or emerging engineering fields that absolutely require engineering students to be familiar with cutting-edge technology. Universities are scrambling to make sure the necessary training is available through a variety of partnerships with companies, government laboratories or other schools – or by making sizable investments in their own research facilities. Uncle Sam is clearly a serious and well-endowed research partner, and the government offers myriad opportunities for future engineers to build their know-how. At the UC Berkeley, engineering students and professors routinely take advantage of precision instruments made available to them at the nearby Lawrence Berkeley Lab. More>
Researcher Bo Hang of the Life Sciences Division gave a talk at the American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas this week on his research into the genetic damage caused by thirdhand smoke, the residue that clings to surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out. Working with researchers from EETD as well as UCSF and other institutions, Hang found that some of the chemical compounds in thirdhand smoke can cause both DNA strand breaks and oxidative DNA damage, which can lead to gene mutation. His work was covered by many media outlets, including Fox News, the Daily Mail, and NPR.
Aindrila Mukhopadhyay is a microbiologist at Berkeley Lab’s Joint BioEnergy Institute, where she investigates the most effective ways to use microbes to convert plants into biofuels. Mukhopadhyay leads a multidisciplinary team studying stress response in bacteria. Her work ranges from hands-on research to grant writing. As a student Mukhopadhyay was always passionate about science, and she went on to earn a doctorate in chemistry. Every day she celebrates “small victories” at work and enjoys improving biofuels that will power the cars of today and tomorrow. More>
Early recorded sound represents an invaluable slice of our global heritage, but the information stored on old recordings is constantly degraded through wear and other damage. To restore and preserve that vital content, physicists and archivists are turning to a technique first employed by particle physicists decades ago. Berkeley Lab physicist Carl Haber pens an article on his research efforts to bring some of the earliest sound recordings to life. More>
The groundbreaking research of Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist with the Physical Biosciences, was featured in a New York Times story this week on a powerful new tool for editing DNA. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were credited with leading the discovery in 2012 that an RNA-based component of the bacterial immune system called CRISPR can be programmed to cleave DNA at any chosen nucleotide sequence. The hope is that CRISPR can one day be used as a surgical tool to correct genetic problems that cause disease. The New York Times story can be read here. For more on Doudna’s latest research with CRISPR go here.
[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>
[Smithsonian] It seems like offices can never be the right temperature, and nobody is ever happy. But there must be some ideal compromise, right? Outside Magazine has compiled some of the many studies that have tried to quantify the universally perfect working temperature, and points especially to a 2006 review by Berkeley Lab. Scientists — including EETD’s William Fisk and QH Lei — ran through 24 studies on workplace temperature. “Indoor temperature affects several human responses, including thermal comfort, perceived air quality, sick building syndrome symptoms and performance at work.” Some studies suggest that improving productivity even just a few fractions of a percent is worth from $12 to 125 billion each year. More>