Today at Berkeley Lab

CT Scan of Earth Links Volcanic Hot Spots

Berkeley seismologists have produced for the first time a sharp, three-dimensional scan of Earth’s interior that conclusively connects plumes of hot rock rising through the mantle with surface hotspots that generate volcanic island chains like Hawaii, Samoa and Iceland. Simulations for this research were conducted at NERSC. More>

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New School Year Starts this Week; Watch for Students and Traffic

UC Berkeley students come back to campus this week. With an influx of people and new students, be sure to pay attention when driving or riding your bike around town, especially this week. More>

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DOE, UC Berkeley Sponsor $100K Cleantech Prize

Teams of aspiring collegiate cleantech entrepreneurs are invited to apply. Selected teams will receive cleantech mentorship, access to UC Berkeley fabrication/prototyping spaces, and entrepreneurial training. The prize is hosted by the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, in collaboration with Berkeley Lab. More>

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World’s Quietest Gas Lets Physicists Hear Faint Quantum Effects

Berkeley physicists — including materials scientist Dan Stamper-Kurn — have cooled a gas to the quietest state ever achieved, hoping to detect faint quantum effects lost in the din of colder but noisier fluids. The technology will allow researchers to better understand difficult-to-study materials. More>

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New Theory Says Dark Matter Acts Like Well-Known Particle

An international group of researchers — including Berkeley Lab physicist Hitoshi Murayama — has proposed a theory that dark matter is very similar to pions, which are responsible for binding atomic nuclei together. More>

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Ultra-Low-Cost Solution to a Big Water Problem

Katya Cherukumilli of the Energy Technologies Area won first place in the Designing Solutions for Poverty contest for her super-low-cost approach to groundwater purification in India. Her technology uses use slightly processed bauxite, an aluminum-rich ore, to remove the excess fluoride. More>

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Implicit Bias, Slow Turnover, Other Issues Impede Diversity at UC

In 1989, a group of graduate students found that 28 UC Berkeley departments had no underrepresented minority faculty. In 2015, 20 of those 28 departments still exist. The Graduate Assembly passed an April bill endorsing the election of grad students to participate in the hiring process as full voting members of faculty search committees. More>

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Wednesday Summer Fun Days at Lawrence Hall of Science

July 22 features high-flying stunts by the troupe Les Aerielles, who will perform aerial acrobatics, with performances at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. The Big Bug Bonanza takes place on July 29. August events include Space: The Final Frontier, Real-Life Robotics, and Fizzy Foamy Science. More>

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Bats Do It, Dolphins Do It, Now Humans Can Too

Berkeley physicists, including Alex Zettl, have used graphene to build lightweight ultrasonic loudspeakers and microphones, enabling people to mimic bats or dolphins’ ability to use sound to communicate and gauge the distance and speed of objects around them. More>

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Enhanced Microscopic Resolution for Improved Diagnostics

Simple, low-cost techniques developed by ALS affiliate Laura Waller are giving standard optical microscopes — and even smartphones — powerful new ways to see the minuscule. LED lights in a custom-built device boost resolution by making several microphotographs of a cell sample while changing only the angle of the lighting. More>

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