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Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2011

Lab Biofuels Research Featured in NOVA Program

NOVA Program

Can innovations in materials science help clean up our world? In “Making Stuff: Cleaner,” New York Times reporter David Pogue explores the rapidly developing science and business of clean energy and examines alternative ways to generate it, store it, and distribute it. This third installment of the four-part NOVA series features Berkeley Lab biofuels researcher Jay Keasling and the Joint BioEnergy Institute he leads. Go here to watch the episode.

Jeff MillerDates, Topics Set for Spring 'Science at the Theater' Events

The Lab's popular "Science at the Theater" program will continue this spring with the scheduling of two presentations at the Berkeley Repertory Theater on April 25 and June 6. Go here to watch a video of Jeff Miller — head of Public Affairs, which sponsors the lectures — discussing these upcoming community events.

CowHow Now, Inside the Cow?

The network of organisms working unseen in the cow’s forestomach or rumen is providing researchers with vital information that may someday accelerate the large-scale deployment of biofuels. This will offer a window into a major category of microbes that has long resisted the attempts of scientists to grow and study. Through massive-scale DNA sequencing, researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Joint Genome Institute, with support from the Energy Biosciences Institute, have characterized the genes and genomes of plant-digesting microbes isolated from the cow rumen as reported in a study published in the Jan. 28 issue of Science. More>

Science BowlAlbany High School Wins Regional Science Bowl Competition

About 70 students from twelve local schools competed in the DOE Regional Science Bowl at Berkeley Lab on Feb. 5, with Albany High School emerging as the winner. Last year’s winner Lynbrook (San Jose) came in second, and Acalanes (Lafayette) placed third. In late April, the Albany team will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Science Bowl. The Regional Science Bowl is organized by the Lab’s Center for Science and Engineering Education.

Ground-Based Lasers Vie With Satellites to Map Earth's Magnetic Field

Ground-Based LasersMapping the Earth’s magnetic field – to find oil, track storms or probe the planet’s interior — typically requires expensive satellites. UC Berkeley physicists have now come up with a much cheaper way to measure the Earth’s magnetic field using only a ground-based laser. The method involves exciting sodium atoms in a layer 90 kilometers (60 miles) above the surface and measuring the light they give off. “Normally, the laser makes the sodium atom fluoresce,” said Dmitry Budker, UC Berkeley professor and Berkeley Lab physicist. “But if you modulate the laser light, when the modulation frequency matches the spin precession of the sodium atoms, the brightness of the spot changes.” More>

Science DayNuclear Science Day for Girl and Boy Scouts

Celebrating the centennial of Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus and Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize for discovering radium and polonium, Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division will play host to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts at the Lab’s first annual Nuclear Science Day on Saturday, March 5. The day’s events feature tours of the 88-Inch Cyclotron, exercises in the detection of cosmic rays, and an investigation of radioactivity in daily life. All participants will receive event patches, and Boy Scouts may earn the Nuclear Science Merit Badge.

Students From Richmond's Kennedy High School Visit Lab Computing Center

Richmond’s Kennedy High SchoolEighteen students from Richmond’s Kennedy High School’s TechFutures Academy recently paid a visit to the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab’s Oakland Science Facility. In addition to a brief introduction to supercomputers from NERSC’s User Services Group Lead, Katie Antypas, the students also got a lesson about how “Careers in Computer Science Save the World” from Associate Lab Director of Computing Sciences Kathy Yelick. One of the highlights of the visit was a tour of the facility’s computer room. More>


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