Today at Berkeley Lab

Laser Inventor and Nobelist Charles Townes Dies

The UC Berkeley emeritus professor passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the age of 99. He shared the 1964 Nobel Prize for inventing the laser and pioneering its use in astronomy. Townes was also affiliated with Berkeley Lab. In addition to numerous prizes, he wrote a seminal paper in 1966 on “The Convergence of Science and Religion.” More>

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Did You Hear a Low-Flying Aircraft on Tuesday?

Those who happened to be at Lab on Tuesday afternoon most likely heard a very loud rumble overhead. Berkeleyside is reporting that the noise was caused by a Navy fighter jet. The pilot flew low as a greeting for his brother, who is a graduate student at UC Berkeley. More>

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Scientists Set Quantum Speed Limit

Researchers, including Berkeley Lab chemical scientist K. Birgitta Whaley, have proved a fundamental relationship between energy and time that sets a “quantum speed limit” on processes ranging from quantum computing and tunneling to optical switching. 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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What Makes a Hit Song? ‘Hooktheory’ May Hold the Key

Materials scientists Chris Anderson, Ryan Miyakawa, and Dave Carlton (who recently left the Lab) have analyzed the chords and melodies to more than 1,300 sections of popular songs from countless genres and eras. Then, they sifted through the data for patterns and trends, hoping to develop tools allowing aspiring songwriters to follow suit. More>

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Pre-Retirement Planning Workshops Start on Feb. 20

The UC Berkeley Retirement Center is hosting the series, which will cover such topics as long term care insurance, estate planning considerations, and maximizing retirement benefits. The program is geared for those planning to retire in one-to-five years. Registration is required. More>

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Lab Hosts Kavli Symposium on Jan. 15 and 16

This inaugural gathering by the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute brings together noted researchers to explore the basic science of how to capture and channel energy on the molecular or nano-scale. Go here to read a roundtable discussion among Kavli researchers, including Director Alivisatos.

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Old Photons, New Tricks

A much clearer picture of the history of the universe has emerged, thanks to innovative detection and analysis of the handful of photons arriving from outer space. “It’s amazing that we can piece out these stories from that little information,” says Berkeley Lab’s Saul Perlmutter. More>

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Laser, Supercomputer Measure Speedy Electrons in Silicon

Mobile electrons are routed and switched through transistors, carrying information that characterizes our age. A research team has for the first time taken snapshots of this event using attosecond pulses of soft x-ray light then used the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center to better understand their findings. More>

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Back to Future with Roman Architectural Concrete

UC Berkeley’s Marie Jackson led a key discovery at the Advanced Light Source about Roman architectural concrete that has stood the test of time for nearly two thousand years. Volcanic ash-lime mortar resistant to microcracking is the key to the longevity of the concrete, which was made from coarse chunks of volcanic tuff and brick. More>

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