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>
Posts Tagged ‘World of Science’
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is this Friday (March 14).
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>
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>
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) through Dec. 22. More>
[SF Gate] Look alive, selfie. There’s another word of the year that’s not all about you. While Oxford University Press, the British publisher of the Oxford dictionaries, declared those little smartphone self-portraits its winner last month, the folks at Merriam-Webster announced “science” on Tuesday. Oxford tracked a huge jump in overall usage of selfie, but Merriam-Webster stuck primarily to look-ups on its website, recording a 176 percent increase for science when compared with last year. More>
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics to Peter Higgs, 84, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and François Englert, 80, of the University Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, for their work in the development in the 1960s of the theory behind what is now known as the Higgs field, the energy responsible for the mass of elementary particles. U.S. scientists, including researchers from Berkeley Lab, played a significant role in advancing the theory and in discovering the Higgs boson, the particle that proves the existence of the Higgs field. A news release on the U.S. contribution can be read here. The video above also looks at the U.S. contribution to the Higgs boson discovery.
Former Secretary of Energy and director of Berkeley Lab Steve Chu was a participant in the 2013 Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, which took place this past summer. Since 1951, Nobel laureates and select groups of young scientists have been meeting in Lindau, an island in Germany, to discuss big ideas for scientific research. At this year’s meeting, Chu and fellow Nobelist Hartmut Michel discussed the future of biofuels and artificial photosynthesis. Our former director provided an economic and political reality check for the young researchers.
A recent Gizmodo.com story looked at “14 Immense Scientific Instruments You Won’t Believe are Real,” featuring several projects affiliated with Berkeley Lab. Lab photographer Roy Kaltschmidt has spent much time recording these projects and his photographs prominently accompany stories on the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, and the Gammasphere. More>