Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for July 2011

Structural Biology: One Thousand and Counting

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute beamlines at the Advanced Light Source, part of the suite of beamlines overseen by the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology, recently celebrated a milestone: the official recording (“deposition”) of their 1,000th protein structure in the Protein Databank. The winning protein is an endonuclease, important in protection against viruses because it is able to cleave foreign DNA. Over the past decade the ALS crystallography beamlines have been used to solve numerous important protein and other macromolecular structures, illuminating a diverse range of biological processes, from cancer pathways to DNA decoding to aging.

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Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment Nears Completion of First Experimental Hall

Next month, Hall 1 of the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment near Hong Kong will begin taking its first data on the final unknown “mixing angle” of neutrino oscillation. The international collaboration includes institutions in China, the U.S., the Czech Republic, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Kam-Biu Luk of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division is co-spokesperson for the experiment, and Bill Edwards of Physics is U.S. Project and Operations Manager. Photographer Roy Kaltschmidt of Public Affairs visited the site late last month and caught the installation of the first two of the experiment’s eventual eight antineutrino detectors, in the water pool inside Hall 1. For selections from these and other photos of progress at the site, go here.

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Magellan Tackles the Mysterious Proton Spin

Although researchers do not fully understand the underlying physics of why protons spin, they do know that this phenomenon contributes to the stability of the universe, magnetic interactions, and is a vital component of MRI technology. In an effort to better understand this phenomenon, STAR researchers are working with NERSC and Berkeley Lab staff to build a real-time cloud-based data processing system to analyze events recorded by the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Data was carried between Brookhaven and NERSC via ESnet. More>

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Research Funding Under the Microscope

[Inside Higher Ed] As federal funding tightens, Congress needs to increase its oversight of the review process, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Science Education said at a recent hearing. The National Science Foundation and other agencies must maintain a robust and transparent merit review process,” he said. UC San Francisco Vice Chancellor Keith Yamamoto, a witness at the hearing, spoke out against proposals by the NSF and the National Science Board to change the peer review criteria to measure a proposed project’s contribution to national goals mentioned in the America COMPETES Act of 2010. More>

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For Optimum Health, Combine Aerobics, Endurance and Flexibility Training

The Health Care Facilitator wants to remind employees that the best fitness programs include aerobics, endurance training and flexibility routines. Aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular system and helps you to maintain a proper weight. Overall strength training boosts your endurance and energy levels. Flexibility exercises help you to maintain a full range of motion in your joints to reduce chance of injury. Putting together these three key elements will be a recipe for lifelong fitness. More>

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Proposals for DOE Early Career Research Funding Now Accepted

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has announced the FY 2012 Early Career Research Program opportunity. The program supports the development of individual research programs led by outstanding scientists who are early in their careers. Mandatory pre-proposals will be accepted until Sept. 1 for research ideas that foster Berkeley Lab programs funded by the Office of Science. Director Alivsatos is hosting a town hall meeting on Monday, Aug. 1, at 1:30 p.m. in the 66 Auditorium. Visit the Office of Science website or the Lab’s website for more information.

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A Graphene Sandwich for Better Batteries

Berkeley Lab researchers have built a high-capacity energy storage device for lithium ion batteries by constructing a unique nanoscale sandwich of graphene and tin. The device is engineered to improve electrochemical cycling of the battery, which reduces charging time and allows repeated recharging without degrading battery performance. More>

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EETD Distinguished Lecture on Energy Materials and Climate Change

The next Distinguished Lecture of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) takes place Thursday, Aug. 11, at noon in the Building 50 Auditorium. Linda Nazar of the University of Waterloo will discuss “Energy Materials and Climate Change.” More>

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Latest Issue of UC’s ‘Our University’ Available

The new issue of Our University — the UC newsletter for faculty and staff — is now available. The issue includes stories on the Working Smarter Initiative, which has produced $157 million in cost savings and revenue generation in its first year, a new UC Research website, including an article on a robot that folds laundry, and news about the UC Retirement Plan. More>

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August Health, Wellness, and Retirement Events Calendar

To assist staff in tracking its upcoming events, the HR Benefits Group produces a monthly calendar, and the August edition is now available. New employee and postdoc benefits orientations, a special, one-day-only Fidelity Quarterly Market Update, as well as other financial planning presentations from Fidelity Retirement Services are among next month’s offerings. Contact [email protected] for more information.

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