Today at Berkeley Lab

Alan Alda Flame Challenge: What is Energy?

The Flame Challenge — organized by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science — asks scientists to explain concepts proposed and judged by 11-year-olds. The person who provides the best answer wins. This year’s challenge is “What is Energy?” Submission deadline is Feb. 3. More>

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Scientists Turn Carbon Dioxide Back Into Fuel

In a new twist for waste-to-fuel technology, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an electrochemical process that uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. Their finding, which involves nanofabrication and catalysis science, was serendipitous. More>

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Lab Participates in Clean Energy Ministerial Showcase June 1-2

The event will feature nearly 100 innovative companies and technologies in San Francisco’s Union Square. The Lab’s booth includes energy integration demos, including control system sequencing, interoperability, and model predictive control across buildings and transport. Also scheduled is a STEM teacher training, Science at the Theater, and tours of the Lab and JBEI. More>

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ALS Aids Best-Ever Views of Mercury Transit

A stunning video of the transit of Mercury across the Sun was made possible in part by work done at the Advanced Light Source. The multilayer mirrors used in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) telescopes aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) were calibrated and tested at ALS Beamline 6.3.2 before being launched into space in 2010. More>

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DOE’s Sherwood-Randall on Upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial

Given the Golden State’s reputation for inventing the future, it’s no surprise that the Bay Area will host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in June, the first major gathering of energy ministers from key nations after the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, says Deputy Secretary for Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall in a piece for the Mercury News. More>

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Berkeley Can Bask in the Glow as More Elements Hit Periodic Table

The recent inclusion of four new elements to the periodic table was cause for the clinking of champagne glasses. But in a broader sense, UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab have been the point of the spear for the synthesis of transuranic elements (those with atomic numbers greater than 92) since such research began. More>

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CERN & U.S. Increase Cooperation

At a recent ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Pamela Hamamoto and CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer signed five formal agreements that will serve as the framework for future US-CERN collaboration. More>

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With Release of New Movie, a Look at the Science Behind Star Wars

Light sabers would create so much power and heat that no human would be able to hold them. There would be no explosions or fire in space because there is no oxygen. Light sabers, being made from electromagnetic plasma (they are not lasers), would get stuck together during battles, UC Irvine professor Michael Dennin said. More>

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WIMPs, Axions, SIMPs, Neutralinos…What Could Dark Matter Be?

Although nearly a century has passed since an astronomer first used the term “dark matter,” the elusive substance still defies explanation. In order to solve it, physicists have come up with myriad possibilities, plus a unique way to find each one. More>

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How Do Holiday Lights Work? DOE Provides Some Answers

Parallel versus series lights, shunts and fuses, common problems…learn the science behind the lights that brighten the holiday season with this primer prepared by the Department of Energy.

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