Today at Berkeley Lab

Postdoc Investigates the Interactions Between Soil Microbes and Plants

Lauren Jabusch has been passionate about sustainability and outreach since her early days as a freshman at UC Davis. Nearly a decade later, she has earned a bachelor’s, a master’s, and most recently a doctoral degree in biosystems engineering. Now a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab, Jabusch investigates the interactions between soil microbes and plants. More>

A Visit to One of the Most Powerful Lasers on Earth

Gizmodo writer Ryan Mandelbaum recently visited the Lab to learn more about BELLA (Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator), which uses chirped pulse amplification to create intense laser pulses. These devices could one day power tabletop particle accelerators for medical use, act as microscopes to image atoms, and push the frontiers of physics even further, writes Mandelbaum. More>

Pope Appoints Former Lab Director to Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Former Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu has been appointed as a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The academy is comprised of six major areas: fundamental science, global problems, problems of the developing world, scientific policy, bioethics, and epistemology. Chu, who won a Nobel prize in physics in 1997, served as Energy Secretary from 2009 to 2013. More>

Creating Sustainable Water Systems: Lessons From the Energy Industry

In California, a whopping 19 percent of the total electrical demand is used in some way to move or treat water. Peter Fiske, director of the Lab’s Water-Energy Resilience Research Institute, wrote a piece published in R&D Magazine on opportunities for science and technology in creating sustainable water systems, including a look at water-energy research at the Lab.

Lab’s Nobel Laureate Perks Featured in Wall Street Journal

Berkeley Lab has a unique honorific for Nobel prize winners, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Lab “has for decades named streets for its winners. The hilly 202-acre facility is dotted with signs for a dozen such stars, including Alvarez Road, Lee Road, McMillan Road, Perlmutter Road and Segrè Road.” Article access requires a subscription, or search via Facebook.

EESA Researcher Robin Lόpez Donates Marrow to Help Save a Life

“After losing my best friend to suicide, I promised myself that if I ever had the chance to save someone’s life, I would,” says Robin Lόpez, a research associate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. The patient who benefited from Lόpez’s contribution is a 60-year-old man battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Lόpez is also very active in efforts to encourage youth to pursue careers in science. More>

Cyclotron Road Startup Gets Support From Bill Gates Clean-Energy Fund

Bill Gates’ $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures is investing in a host of startups developing technology that confront climate change. Among the first selected was Fervo Energy, a company that is applying new drilling and well construction techniques to the geothermal industry in the hope of converting far more of the planet’s latent heat into a source of clean energy. Fervo’s founders (pictured) are currently fellows with the Lab’s Cyclotron Road program. More>

Lab Researchers Featured in New Yorker Article on What Termites Can Teach Us

A New Yorker article on “What Termites Can Teach Us” features the work of Héctor García Martín of the Biosciences Area, JBEI’s Jay Keasling, and Jill Banfield of the Earth & Environmental Sciences Area to crack the mysteries of termite digestion to turn biomass into fuels. More>

Lab’s Inez Fung, Bill Collins Featured in KQED Article on Global Climate Action Summit

This week corporate and civic leaders from around the world have gathered in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown to address global warming issues. While the outlook appears grim by many standards, recently refined climate models suggest that aggressively cutting emissions could improve future life on Earth in significant ways — or at least blunt the impact of continued warming. More>

Lab Materials Scientists Work to Concoct the Bluest Blue Ever Created

A group of UC Berkeley students, including the Lab’s Arunima Balan and Joseph Swabeck, are working with an artist-in-residence on campus to engineer a new pigment of blue, called “Quantum Blue.” The project offers the opportunity to introduce nanoscientific principles in an accessible way to a broader audience. “People can relate to art,” Balan says. “People cannot relate to quantum dots.” More>