Watch Berkeley Lab Nobel Prize winners Saul Perlmutter and George Smoot, along with campus Nobelists Randy Scheckman and Daniel McFadden, in conversation with Chancellor Nick Dirks in this video. The Nobel Laureates appeared on stage on Cal Day to discuss the role of science in modern society and how they would apply scientific methods to approach the complex global issues we are dealing with today. Also, read a profile of Smoot in The Guardian, in which he comments on the recent discovery of gravitational waves as well as his appearance on the Big Bang Theory.
Andrew Marienhoff Sessler passed away today (April 18, 2014), following a long illness. He was 85. The former director of Berkeley Lab was a visionary in accelerator and energy sciences, and was instrumental in the worldwide effort to liberate scientists suffering from political oppression. More>
UC Berkeley will host a conversation with Berkeley Lab Nobel Prize winners Saul Perlmutter and George Smoot, along with campus Nobelists Randy Scheckman and Daniel McFadden, on Saturday, April 12, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium. The event is part of UC Berkeley’s annual Cal Day open house. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis, starting at 2 p.m. The group will discuss the role of science in modern society and how they would apply scientific methods to approach complex global problems. More>
The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), part of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey, pioneered quasar studies of dark energy. Andreu Font-Ribera of the Physics Division has led a new kind of quasar analytical method. Combined with older methods, it establishes the universe’s expansion rate at redshift 2.34 within two percent: 68 kilometers per second per million light years, the most precise measurement of expansion since galaxies formed. BOSS PI David Schlegel remarks that when the technique was first suggested, “some of us were afraid it wouldn’t work,” but “our precision measures are even better than we optimistically hoped for.” More>
What is a day at Berkeley Lab like through the eyes of an intern? To find out, the Public Affairs Department handed over they keys to its Instagram account to Megan Long, a physics and math student at the University of Maine who is working on dark matter simulations with the NEXT experiment group at Berkeley Lab. Her photos give the public a “behind-the-scenes” look at working at Berkeley Lab. If you’d like to participate in a “day in the life” photo essay of your day at Berkeley Lab, contact the Public Affairs’ social media specialist Kelly Owen. You don’t have to be an intern. Any employee can participate.
The questions came minute-by-minute last Friday as Berkeley Lab’s Eric Linder and physicists from SLAC and Fermilab participated in a one-hour, DOE-organized twitter chat on dark energy. Questions ranged from what is dark energy to what tools and instruments are used to study it. If you’re curious about how a conversation on dark energy can occur in 140-character segments, go here to see a recap of Berkeley Lab’s participation in the twitter chat.
What does it take to find the Higgs boson? Find out in the new documentary, “Particle Fever,” opening this Friday, followed by a conversation with filmmaker, Mark Levinson. A special showing of the film will be held at 4:30 on March 14 at the Shattuck Cinema. Order tickets here. Says the New York Times of the film: “‘Particle Fever’ is a fascinating movie about science, and an exciting, revealing and sometimes poignant movie about scientists.” For the San Francisco Chronicle review, go here. With the Lab’s role in the Higgs effort you may just see someone you know onscreen.
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>
On Friday, the Department of Energy will host a Twitter #LabChat on dark energy — the theoretical force that is causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate — at 9 a.m. PST (noon ET). We’ll be joined by Fermilab scientist Brian Nord, a member of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration and host of the website DarkEnergyDetectives.org, and Berkeley Lab scientist Eric Linder, an expert on dark energy and the accelerating universe. Between now and Friday, submit your questions to @energy using the hashtag #labchat, leave a comment on Facebook.com/energygov, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Type Ia supernovae, the best “standard candles” for measuring great distances, were thought to have similar brightnesses because they start from mass-accumulating white dwarf stars that reach 1.4 solar masses, the Chandrasekhar limit. The resulting thermonuclear explosions use the same fuel and the same explosion mechanism. So went the theory. However, says Greg Aldering of the Physics Division, who leads the international Nearby Supernova Factory based at Berkeley Lab, a new analysis shows that “white dwarfs exploding as Type Ia supernovae have a range of masses, and their light-curve widths are directly proportional to the mass involved in the explosion.” More>