Today at Berkeley Lab

The Mystery of the Star That Wouldn’t Die

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists were part of a team that helped to decipher one of the most bizarre spectacles ever seen in the night sky: a supernova that refused to stop shining, remaining bright for more than 10 times the duration of an ordinary stellar explosion. Researchers are puzzled by what occurred and are looking to learn more about what caused the event. More>

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A Closer Look at Fracture Evolution in Carbonate-Rich Shale

Accurate assessment of subsurface rock formations for CO2 containment requires a good understanding of fracture evolution. Researchers combined X-ray microtomography at the Advanced Light Source with advanced computer simulations to improve models of fracture development in carbonate-rich shale samples, which are typical caprocks for the containment of the injected CO2. More>

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Scientists Harness Ultrafast Magnetism for Low-Power Memory

Lab researchers developed a method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals at much higher speeds than the magnetic random access memory (MRAM) currently on the market. This could lead to non-volatile, energy-efficient computer memory without sacrificing speed. More>

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ALS Helps Resolve the CRISPR Target-Recognition Mechanism

CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins have revolutionized gene editing by vastly simplifying the insertion of short snippets of new DNA into very specific locations of target DNA. Now, using X-ray crystallography at the ALS, researchers have discovered how Cas proteins recognize the target locations. More>

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Lab Researchers Help Map the Microbiome of Everything

Eric Dubinsky, Neslihan Tas, and Shi Wang are among the more than 300 scientists from 160 institutions worldwide who contributed to the Earth Microbiome Project, a collaborative effort to characterize the planet’s microbial life. Their effort to generate the first reference database of bacteria colonizing the planet is described in a new paper in Nature. More>

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A Spark in the Dark Universe

With help from NERSC, Fermilab is aiming Spark open-source software at data from high-energy physics. Spark, a data-reduction tool made for unstructured text files, is initially being put to work in the search for dark matter, but scientists hope that’s just the start. More>

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JGI Helps Double Virophage Database

Microbes regulate the flow of carbon in freshwater lakes, determining if they become carbon sinks or sources. Their ability to trap and use carbon can be affected by virophages. Joint Genome Institute and Ohio State researchers have mined metagenome data sets to better understand the interactions between bacteria, viruses, and virophages in lakes. More>

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Lab Reports Major Progress in Realizing New Type of Lithium Cathode

A team of researchers led by materials scientist Gerbrand Ceder reports major progress in cathodes made with so-called “disordered” materials, a promising new type of lithium battery. The co-authors of the papers published this month in Nature Communications and Physical Review Letters include Alex Urban (MSD), Wanli Yang (ALS), and Bryan McCloskey (ETA). More>

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Genome Research Sheds Light on Origins of Photosynthesis

Plant biologists at the Lab, in collaboration with colleagues from Caltech, have reconstructed the evolutionary history of photosynthesis to provide new insight into the yet-unfolding story of its origins. Studies of anoxygenic photosynthesis are crucial to understanding how early microbial metabolisms may have influenced the geochemical cycles of the plant. More>

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Experiment Provides Deeper Look into the Nature of Neutrinos

The first glimpse of data from the full array of a deeply chilled particle detector operating beneath a mountain in Italy sets the most precise limits yet on where scientists might find a theorized process to help explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. More>

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