Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers with the Nuclear Science and Engineering Divisions played a major role in the development of the Heavy Flavor Tracker, the newest member of the STAR detector family at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. HFT is the collective name for three separate silicon-based detector systems that make it possible for the first time to directly track the decay products of hadrons comprised of “charm” and “bottom” quarks. The heavy masses of these quarks make them ideal probes for studying the quark-gluon plasma, the primordial soup of quarks and gluons whose brief existence after the big bang set the stage for the universe we know today. The HFT was originally conceived by Nuclear Science Division physicist Howard Wieman. More>
Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear Science Division’
Researchers from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and Berkeley Lab have launched “Kelp Watch 2014,” a scientific campaign designed to determine the extent of radioactive contamination of the state’s kelp forest from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. Initiated by CSULB Biology Professor Steven L. Manley and the Berkeley Lab’s Head of Applied Nuclear Physics Kai Vetter, the project will rely on samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp from along the California coast. More>
Daniel Kasen (Nuclear Science), Adam Weber (EETD), Junqiao Wu (Materials Sciences), and Ahmet Yildiz (Physical Biosciences), are recipients of Presidential Early Career Awards, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their career. Kasen and Weber were recognized as part of the Department of Energy, while Wu and Yildiz, who are also UC Berkeley faculty members, were recognized as part of the National Science Foundation. More>
Paul Fallon (Nuclear Science), Steve Holland (Engineering), Jeff Neaton (Materials Sciences), Fernando Sannibale (AFRD), and Robert Schoenlein (Materials Sciences) were recently selected as fellows of the American Physical Society. The scientists were recognized for their “exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education.” More>
Scientific American named the recent IceCube observation of high-energy cosmic neutrinos one of its top 10 science stories of the year, while Physical Review listed the discovery as one of its highlights of the year. Scientific American also included a cover story (pictured) on creating a materials database written by EETD’s Kristin Persson, who touched on the Lab’s efforts in this field.
“IceCube,” the neutrino observatory buried at the South Pole, for which Berkeley Lab researchers have played a prominent role since its conception, won Physics World’s 2013 Breakthrough of the Year award. The magazine cited IceCube for making the first observations of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, an event reported in TABL last month. IceCube consists of 5,160 basketball-sized detectors called Digital Optical Modules, which were conceived and largely designed at Berkeley Lab. In addition to IceCube, Physics World recognized and commended nine other noteworthy achievements. More>
On Nov. 15, the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics, a joint institute with participation from the Lab’s Nuclear Science and Physics Divisions, celebrated its 20th Anniversary. In the past two decades, members of the institute have received numerous awards and recognitions, including two Nobel Prizes in Physics (George Smoot and Saul Perlmutter). A mini-symposium was held, followed by an afternoon tea. Speakers included Distinguished Staff Dave Nygren, Senior Staff Spencer Klein, Chamberlain Fellow Carlos Faham, Primikoff Prize winner Dan Dwyer, and Nobelist Saul Perlmutter. Go here to view videos of their talks.
In our universe there are particle accelerators 40 million times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider. Scientists don’t know what these cosmic accelerators are or where they are located, but new results being reported from “IceCube,” the neutrino observatory buried at the South Pole, may show the way. Berkeley Lab is a member of the IceCube collaboration and researchers such as Spencer Klein and Bob Stokstad of the Nuclear Science Division, and Lisa Gerhardt of NERSC, among many others, have made valuable contributions. More>
[Nature] Tests on the exhumed body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have found traces of the radioactive isotope polonium-210, prompting renewed claims that he was deliberately poisoned. Others are less certain. Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, so any radioactivity measured by the team would have been a million times lower than in 2004. “After so many half-lives you can’t reliably say how much polonium was there eight years ago, there’s too much background interference,” says Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at Berkeley Lab. More>
A reel of black & white film shot nearly 60 years ago has surfaced at Berkeley Lab, depicting the discovery of Mendelevium — or Element 101 — as reenacted by some of the legendary scientists who did the actual work at that time, such as Al Ghiorso. Since the 1940s, Berkeley Lab scientists were locked in a race to synthesize new elements, and more often than not, they came out winners. Sixteen elements, most of them in the actinide series at the bottom of the periodic table, were discovered and synthesized by its researchers. More>