Today at Berkeley Lab

Retirement Center Hosts Conference on ‘Aging in America’

Lab employees are invited to attend a daylong conferences on “An Aging America: Challenges and Opportunities” on Thursday, May 15 at His Lordships restaurant in the Berkeley Marina. The keynote speaker will be former Michigan governor and current UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Granholm. Go here for more information. Cost for the event is $35. Payment and registration must be received by Tuesday, May 13. Mail the form and a check to Retirement Center, 1925 Walnut Street, Berkeley, 94720, or drop off at this location between 1 and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Entrepreneurs Mixer With eBay’s Mark Carges at SkyDeck Tonight

The Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association, housed within the Haas School of Business, will host a mixer on Thursday, May 8, 6 to 8:30 p.m. at SkyDeck in downtown Berkeley. The guest speaker is Mark Carges, chief technology officer and a senior VP at eBay. Go here for more information and to register. Refreshment will be served.

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Artificial Forests Explored by UC Berkeley Grad Students

Peidong Yang and his work on artificial photosynthesis are profiled in the latest issue of Berkeley Science Review, the graduate student-run magazine at UC Berkeley. The article highlights Yang’s work at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) — the joint venture between Berkeley Lab and Caltech — in creating an “artificial forest” of devices called nanotrees. These tiny silicon and titanium oxide structures, inspired by the fractal shape of natural trees, use a method for producing energy that mimics the work of chloroplasts in green plants. More>

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Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman to Speak at UC Berkeley Faculty Club

UC Berkeley Professor Randy Schekman will deliver a lecture on Friday, May 2, about his pioneering work on the secretory processes found in single-celled organisms such as yeast. In cells with a nucleus, this process involves a conveyor belt-like mechanism involving the encapsulation of proteins into membrane carriers called vesicles. These processes are evolutionarily conserved all the way to mammals. Schekman shared with Thomas Sudhöf the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic. His laboratory discovered and mapped this pathway in Baker’s yeast, and the same process has been exploited by the biotechnology industry to manufacture large quantities of human proteins such as recombinant insulin. The event at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club begins with a wine and cheese reception at 4:30 pm ($15 public, $10 retirees) followed by the free lecture at 5 pm. For reservations, call Renee Rivera at 510-643-0834.

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Pollan’s Dilemma: Ronald’s Scuba Rice and G.M.O. Papayas

Pam Ronald, a UC Davis plant geneticist who directs the Grass Genetics program for the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), is featured in New Yorker magazine about her participation in a classroom debate with famed author and UC Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan about the use of G.M.O.s (genetically modified organisms) as food. Pollan, a highly vocal skeptic, invited Ronald to make the case for G.M.O.s in his Edible Education class. As examples of G.M.O. success, Ronald could point to her own development of “scuba rice” that can grow in the often flooded fields of Bangladesh and India, and a banana resistant to a disease that has decimated crops in East Africa. “I’ll give you the papaya,” Pollan conceded on a G.M.O. papaya that saved Hawaii’s industry. More>

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Volunteer Opportunities at Lawrence Hall of Science

Join the volunteer community and share your insight and experience with future scientists and engineers.  Help the Hall’s visitors “step into the shoes of a scientist,” and add your own inspiration and knowledge along the way. No science background is necessary, just a healthy sense of humor and exploration.  The hall is a community of science education enthusiasts whose volunteer program offers enjoyable opportunities, practical hours and comfortable commitment levels for working professionals. Weekday and weekend shifts are available.

Check out the volunteer program at http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/volunteer. By submitting the online application you will be registered for the next Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, June 7, from 10am – noon.

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Conversation with Nobelists Smoot and Perlmutter Now Online

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.

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UC Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale This Weekend

The UC Botanical Garden’s spring plant sale will take place this weekend. They are featuring drought-resistant plants, as well as an expanded selection of Mediterranean-climate plants perfect for your water-wise garden. The members’ sale and silent auction is Saturday, 4 to 7 p.m. The public sale is Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lab employees qualify for free admission. More>

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Cal’s Klinman Gives April 28 Talk on ‘After Science There’s Laundry’

On Monday, April 28, Judith Klinman, the first woman faculty member in the Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley when she was hired in 1978, will speak and lead a discussion about the evolving role of women in the scientific workplace. In 2000, she began a three-year tenure as the Chemistry Department’s first woman chair. The seminar, co-sponsored by EBI and the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry, is intended as a tribute both to Klinman’s pioneering career achievements that paved the way for other women in the sciences, and to her paradigm-changing work in enzyme catalysis and design. The talk will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at 115 EBB. Lunch is included, but space is limited. Go here to RSVP.

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UC Berkeley College of Chemistry Launches Research Hub

CARA ribbon imageThe UC Berkeley College of Chemistry has launched a new collaborative research center, the California Research Alliance by BASF (CARA), a multidisciplinary effort focused on innovation and technology transfer. Along with Berkeley and the chemical company BASF, CARA academic partners include UCLA and Stanford University. CARA is led by Berkeley Lab scientists and UC Berkeley chemistry professors Peidong Yang and Omar Yaghi. More>

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