Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for December 2013

A Micro-Muscular Break Through

Junqiao Wu of the Materials Sciences Division led the development of a micro-sized robotic torsional muscle/motor made that for its size is a thousand times more powerful than a human muscle. Made from vanadium dioxide, a material poised to join the pantheon of superstars in the materials world, the micro-muscle can catapult objects 50 times heavier than itself over a distance five times its length faster than the blink of an eye. The micro-muscle can be used to creat miniaturized, multi-functional motors, proximity sensors and artificial muscles. Working with Wu on this project were Kai Liu, Chun Cheng, Joonki Suh, Robert Tang-Kong, Deyi Fu, Sangwook Lee, Jian Zhou and Leon Chua. More>

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ESnet’s Michael Bennett Recognized by IEEE for Work in Energy Efficiency

Michael Bennett, head of ESnet’s Network Engineering Group, has been awarded an IEEE-SA Standards Medallion for his work in helping to create energy-saving standards for devices with Ethernet connections. The standards are expected to help save terawatts of otherwise-wasted electricity by automatically switching networked components to energy-saving modes when not in use. Bennett was recognized for his role as chair of the IEEE 802.3az Energy-Efficient Ethernet Task Force and for his contributions promoting the adoption of energy-efficiency techniques in Ethernet projects after 802.3az. More>

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Blackberry Gate Closed This Weekend

Blackberry Gate will be closed from 6 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22. Employees must use Strawberry Gate to enter the Lab during these hours. Those accessing Building 88 must use Blackberry Gate.

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Women Workers on CRT Construction Project are Few in Number But Rich in Experience

Like women scientists struggling to get ahead in their field, female construction workers sometimes have unexpected obstacles to overcome. There are just four of them working on the Computational Research and Theory facility (CRT) being built at Berkeley Lab, out of about 90 total construction workers a day on the site. Each of them has faced their share of challenges in what is still a male-dominated industry. “In the union hall when you’re trying to get dispatched out for jobs, it’s male-dominated,” said Sabrina Hall, a laborer working for DPR Construction, the general contractor for the project. “The guys get called out first. You have to prove yourself.” More>

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Sugar Uptake in Breast Cancer

Mina Bissell, Distinguished Scientist with the Life Sciences Division, has shown that glucose metabolism in the presence of oxygen is not the consequence of the cancerous activity of malignant cells, as has been widely believed, but is itself a cancerous event. This discovery provides possible new targets for diagnosis and therapeutics. Bissell and collaborators from Japan focused on a glucose transporter known as GLUT3 and found that overexpression in non-malignant human breast cells led to the onset of cancerous growth, whereas reduction of GLUT3 led to a phenotypic reversion in which malignant cells behaved normally. Working with Bissell on this were Yasuhito Onodera and Jin-Min Nam. More>

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Winners of Photo Club’s ‘Holiday’ Theme Contest Selected

Each month, the Lab’s Photo Club selects a theme for its members to capture in images. Members are then invited to submit two photos, and all members can then participate in the selection of the top four photographs that best embody the theme. In a Photo Club tradition, the theme for December 2013 was “Holiday” and the winners are Peter Lichty (EH&S), Doug Lockhart (Facilities), Joost Daniels (AFRD), Janie Page (EETD), and Carlos Faham (Physics). Go here to view the winning images and for more on the club.

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IT Division’s Soledad Antelada Helps Get Girls Interested in Engineering

A report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee last year said women account for just 14 percent of U.S. engineers. Soledad Antelada (pictured at left), a computer systems engineer in cybersecurity at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, is another believer in the need to have more women become role models for younger generations. She recognizes the challenges she herself had when growing up. Antelada got little support for her interest in engineering, even from her teachers. So today she strives to inspire girls to pursue careers in science and engineering, and also to become inventors and innovators. More>

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UC Goes Smoke- and Tobacco-Free on Jan. 1

Lab personnel who will be visiting other UC property must comply with the UC tobacco-free policies that will be in place on Jan. 1. Smoking, including e-cigarettes and the use of smokeless tobacco products, will be strictly prohibited on all UC owned and leased property, including the UC Berkeley campus, the Office of the President, the Oakland Scientific Facility, and the Richmond Field Station. Berkeley Lab’s new smoking policy went into effect on Nov. 15. Smoking and e-cigarette use are restricted to designated smoking areas at the main Lab site and the Joint Genome Institute. Berkeley Lab sites in Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville will follow the existing smoking policies.

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Creative Services Offers Editorial Assistance With Reports and Proposals

Polish up your proposals with the assistance of Berkeley Lab’s Creative Services editorial services. Whether you need help crafting, writing, editing, or formatting your proposal, the Creative Services team can hone your message and give your project the best chance of success. We assist you in adhering to submission guidelines and will work within your budget to help you shape a professional, clear message. We look forward to hearing from you! Contact the Creative Services editorial team at [email protected].

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Roots of the Lithium Battery Problem

Nitash Balsara, a faculty scientist with the Materials Sciences Division, led the discovery that the dendrite problem that can cause lithium-ion batteries to short-circuit, overheat and possibly catch fire, originates below the surface of the lithium electrode and not at the surface as has been widely believed. Lithium-ion batteries could have significantly higher energy density if their graphite anodes were to be replaced by lithium metal anodes, but dendrites have been the stopper. Efforts to solve the problem by curtailing dendrite growth have met with limited success, perhaps because all attention has been on the surface. Working with Balsara on this discovery were Katherine Harry, Daniel Hallinan, Dilworth Parkinson and, Alastair MacDowell. More>

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