Today at Berkeley Lab

Sci-Am Editorial on Value of Investment by the U.S. Government

Last week, four science experts served as witnesses at U.S. Senate that considered the federal government’s role in R&D and STEM education and outreach. Google’s Vinton Cerf stated the value of the government’s investment “cannot be overstated.” More>

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NASA Ames Open House on Oct. 18; First in 17 Years

Celebrate center’s 75th anniversary with walking tour, science booths, talks, and food and drink. Tickets will be available starting Sept. 2. More>

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United Nations Hosts Big Data-Climate Change Challenge

Competition seeks data-driven evidence of economic dimensions of climate change. More>

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Americans More Worried About ‘Global Warming’ Than ‘Climate Change’

Yale research finds term associated with greater understanding and engagement. More>

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Particle Accelerators

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN laboratory has made its way into popular culture: Comedian John Stewart jokes about it on The Daily Show, character Sheldon Cooper dreams about it on The Big Bang Theory and fictional villains steal fictional antimatter from it in Angels & Demons. Despite their uptick in popularity, particle accelerators still have secrets to share. With input from scientists at laboratories and institutions worldwide, symmetry has compiled a list of 10 things you might not know about particle accelerators. More>

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Berkeley Lab Physicists Ahead of the Gravity Wave Curve

On Monday the BICEP2 collaboration led by Harvard’s John Kovac grabbed the brass ring: first detection of B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background radiation, thus first evidence of primordial gravitational waves and first direct evidence of inflation. But the very first prediction of B-mode polarization and its implications for cosmology was made in 1996 by Uros Seljak, then a Harvard postdoc, now of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division. Not long after, Adrian Lee of Physics conceived the essential instruments used by the high-resolution POLARBEAR experiment he leads (initiated by a Lab LDRD), also used by BICEP2 and other leading CMB telescopes. More>

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‘Particle Fever’ Film Chronicles Higgs Boson Search at CERN

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What does it take to find the Higgs boson? Find out in the new documentary, “Particle Fever,” opening this Friday, followed by a conversation with filmmaker, Mark Levinson. A special showing of the film will be held at 4:30 on March 14 at the Shattuck Cinema. Order tickets here. Says the New York Times of the film: “‘Particle Fever’ is a fascinating movie about science, and an exciting, revealing and sometimes poignant movie about scientists.” For the San Francisco Chronicle review, go here. With the Lab’s role in the Higgs effort you may just see someone you know onscreen.

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PBS Looking for Short Videos on Why Students Participate in Basic Research

PBS NewsHour recently launched a series on basic research that tries to capture the reasons why scientists have chosen their fields. As part of this, they’re asking students to submit very short videos in which they discuss why they decided to engage in basic research. What about it excites you? If you’re a student at Berkeley Lab who’d like to participate, go here. If you’d like assistance, the Public Affairs social media team can help. Contact Kelly Owen at kjowen@lbl.gov. Deadline is this Friday (March 14).

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Play About Famed Physicist Richard Feynman at Local Theater

Indra’s Net Theater — which produces plays specializing in science and philosophy — presents QED, inspired by the life of Nobel Prize-winner Richard Feynman. Feynman had an extraordinary life, starting with the Manhattan Project in his early twenties, to a brilliant career as one of the 20th century’s most original thinkers and most inspiring teachers, to serving on the panel investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster at the end of his life. The production takes place at the Berkeley City Club (2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley) April 3 through 20. More>

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10 Energy Stories to Watch in 2014

Renewable energy backlash, biofuel production, and vanishing nuclear power plants will be among the top energy stories to watch in 2014, according to UC Berkeley energy law professor Steven Weissman. He sees utilities and fossil fuel producers pressuring for the rollback of renewable energy incentives and mandates, the continuing closure of nuclear power plants around the country, and the EPA grappling with biofuel targets that match the pace of production. More>

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