Today at Berkeley Lab

Renewable Biofuels Development Requires ‘Renaissance Researchers’

Physical bioscientists Blake Simmons (right) and Doug Clark were quoted in a recent Bioenergy Connection article about breaking down cell walls, a necessary step for unlocking sugars in biofuels production. The piece also touches on work PBD faculty scientist, Jamie Cate, is doing with enzymes that can aid in deconstruction. More>

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Early Stage Work Shows Graphene Could be Used as a Semiconductor

A team of researchers co-led by Berkeley Lab materials scientist Lane Martin has found a way to control the movement and placement of electrons in graphene. The finding represents a significant step forward for graphene as an advanced substitute for silicon in semiconductors and integrated circuits. More>

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Smithsonian Features Early Recordings, Enabled by Lab Technology

The National Museum of American History’s “Year of Innovation” showcases battle between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison to develop sound-capturing machines, much like the modern tug-of-war between Apple and Microsoft. Exhibit visitors can hear these early sounds thanks to research by the Lab’s Carl Haber and Earl Cornell. More>

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How to Build Your Own Particle Detector

The scale of the detectors at the Large Hadron Collider is almost incomprehensible: They weigh thousands of tons and contain millions of detecting elements. But particle detectors aren’t always so complicated. In fact, some particle detectors are so simple that you can make (and operate) them in your own home. More>

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Second Genome: Microbes Fighting Disease

Earth Sciences Ecology Department Lead Gary Andersen and former Lab researcher Todd DeSantis are mentioned in a recent Fast Company magazine article covering Second Genome, the South San Francisco biotechnology company focusing on the microbiome and using gut bacteria to fight disease. More>

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Q&A With EETD’s Iain Walker on Insulation as an Energy Saver

Walker, with the Residential Building Systems Group, offers advice to homeowners on the best ways to insulate. Walker’s research focuses on how things like ventilation and air leakage impact a home’s energy use and indoor air quality. More>

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A Pinch of History: Identifying Seaborg’s Plutonium

A tiny pinch of plutonium appears to be the first weighted sample of Pu-239 ever created by the element’s discoverer, Berkeley Lab great Glenn Seaborg, in August of 1942. More>

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Why Natural Materials are so Hard to Copy

The natural world produces high-performing materials that we can only envy: fish scales superior to our best body armor, toucan beaks that are hard and light, seashells that are both strong and tough. Over the last decade biologists and engineers have teamed up to mimic these materials and produce them at industrial scale. More>

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How Sea Spray Particles Evolve in the Atmosphere

Whitecaps and crashing waves send tiny particles of sea spray into the atmosphere. Once airborne, the particles are quickly coated by carbon-rich or organic chemicals. The carbon-rich chemicals, emitted by diverse human-made and natural sources, cause the particles to evolve, according to recent research. More>

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Keasling’s Malaria Work Featured on ABC7 News

In the piece, Keasling talks about his use of synthetic biology techniques to develop a microbial-based version of artemisinin, today’s most powerful antimalaria drug. Keasling explained that the synthetic artemisinin can be produced in a matter of weeks, rather than the months required for the natural version, for about $2 a dose. More>

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