Today at Berkeley Lab

Neutrinos and CRISPR: Berkeley Science Shines at Annual AAAS Meeting


Record cold weather in Washington, D.C. last week didn’t keep attendees away from the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference. In fact, several Berkeley Lab-affiliated speakers found themselves facing standing-room only crowds.

In a packed Friday morning session titled, Ghost Hunters: The Search for New Types of Neutrinos, Berkeley Lab’s Kam-Biu Luk, spokesperson for the Daya Bay neutrino experiment, gave an overview of the mysterious particles before moderating the panel, which included physicists from Fermilab, Spain, and Italy. The panel focused on efforts to identify a “sterile” neutrino to complement the three types currently known.

Afterwards Luk and the panelists, with help from the Berkeley Lab and Fermilab Public Affairs offices, took to the Internet and participated in a AAAS-sponsored “Ask Me Anything” session on They fielded more than 200 questions over the course of two hours. The session is archived here.

“People will support science if we do our job. They are engaged—and we engage them,” Luk said in a AAAS story on the session.

With news coming out Friday evening of new findings from Daya Bay, Luk and his colleagues met the press at a news briefing Saturday afternoon. As Ars Technica reported in a story following the briefing: “The new data provides further examples of these strange particles refusing to act like we’d expect them to.”

Rounding out sessions that day was an evening plenary lecture by Berkeley Lab researcher Jennifer Doudna, speaking about her work on the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique. The talk, held in the conference center’s largest room, was also standing room only. Her talk is available to view here.