Berkeley Lab Logo

Berkeley Lab Currents

August 7, 1998


Bill Richardson Confirmed as New Secretary of Energy

By Paul Preuss

On July 31 the Senate approved Bill Richardson as the next Secretary of Energy by unanimous consent, two days after the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted 18-to-0 in Richardson's favor. In late June President Clinton had announced his selection of Richardson, a Hispanic American and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Clinton's official nomination was sent to the Senate on July 15.

Before joining the administration, Richardson represented New Mexico in the House of Representatives for seven terms, where he served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Interior Committee. During that time, he said in his testimony before the Senate's Energy Committee on July 22, "I became well aware of the importance and complexity of the Department's diverse missions and the many issues it confronts both at home and abroad. Its responsibilities extend from helping secure world peace to helping develop energy-efficient appliances for the American consumer."

In his remarks, Richardson emphasized the role of the national laboratories, such as Berkeley Lab, in maintaining the nation's scientific and technical leadership. Citing "world-renowned" work in energy physics, cancer genetics, fuel cells, superconducting materials, accelerator technologies, and supercomputing, he said, "The Department must particularly work to coordinate the mission of its national laboratories--our national treasures," but added that "they must be developed in a coordinated effort."

Richard's otherwise quick approval was temporarily delayed by the concerns of some senators, including Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Rod Grams (R-Minn), that the Administration was unwilling to negotiate its position on the disposal of nuclear waste and was unwilling to delegate sufficient authority in the matter to the Secretary of Energy.

Sen. Craig and Sen. Frank Mur-kowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the Energy Committee, are sponsors of a bill that would require the Department of Energy to build an interim facility for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, NV, before DOE has completed its studies to determine whether Yucca Mountain is suited to be a permanent repository. The administration opposes an interim facility until a final determination has been made.

Senators Craig and Grams abstained from the Energy Committee's Wednesday vote of approval and threatened to block the nomination in the full Senate, but in a letter sent to them and other senators on Thursday, July 30, President Clinton wrote, "Let me assure you that Ambassador Richardson has the portfolio for addressing the nuclear waste issue and has full authority to carry out his responsibilities in this area."

Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over DOE's defense programs, had also planned to hold hearings on Richardson's nomination, but after a meeting with Thurmond, Richardson agreed to appear before his committee at a later time. Senate approval, on the last day before summer recess, then went quickly forward.

Announcing the confirmation, President Clinton said, "I am confident that Ambassador Richardson's tremendous energy, creativity and leadership will help secure our nation's energy future so that America continues to prosper."


Teachers Come Face to Face with Science

Photo: Kate O'Hara and Matt Bissell, two of the high school teachers participating in the Integrated Science Partnership Project, spent one month this summer working with Berkeley Lab scientists in a variety of projects at the Advanced Light Source. As a result of their experience here, the 12 Bay Area teachers will modify their curriculum to make science come alive in their classrooms. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt


Finer Copper Wires for Faster Integrated Circuits

By Paul Preuss

Othon Monteiro, a materials scientist in the Plasma Applications Group of Berkeley Lab's Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, has devised a new way to inlay copper wires in the semiconductor wafers used to create integrated circuits. "Ion-assisted trench filling" promises to open the way to ever more densely packed chips beyond the year 2000.

The Semiconductor Industry Association's most recent National Technology Roadmap predicts that new lithography methods will reduce today's smallest chip features, already as fine as 250 nanometers (billionths of a meter), to 180 nanometers by 1999, 100 nanometers by 2006, and even finer dimensions in the years beyond, making it possible to pack hundreds of millions more integrated circuits on a chip.

Many of these microscopic devices must be interconnected by metal wires, made by filling tiny trenches in the surface of the semiconductor wafer; multiple levels are connected by penetrating the layer to make contacts with layers above and below. The standard stuff of such wires has long been aluminum or aluminum alloys and, in interlayer connectors, tungsten.

"As device sizes get smaller, the electrical properties of aluminum will not meet the new requirements," says Monteiro. "We need lower resistivity and greater resistance to electromigration" (the drift of metal atoms when the conductor is carrying high current densities, which can create voids). Adds Monteiro, "We also need something that's compatible with lower dielectric-constant materials," which have been introduced by chip manufacturers to improve insulation and reduce circuit delays.

Copper is much more conductive than aluminum, allowing finer wires with lower resistive losses. Copper is also significantly less vulnerable to electromigration than aluminum and less likely to fracture under stress. Unfortunately, "copper is poisonous to silicon," Monteiro says. "It readily diffuses into silicon and causes deep-level defects."

Late in 1997 the first commercial copper-wired chips were announced by IBM and Motorola. To keep the copper from migrating into the dielectric and poisoning it, a diffusion barrier was used, which lined the trench walls between the copper and the substrate. Motorola used titanium nitride as a barrier; other possible barrier materials include tantalum, tantalum alloys, and tantalum nitride.

IBM and Motorola produced their copper-wired chips by electroplating the copper over the diffusion barrier. Although Monteiro's ion-assisted technique can be used either in conjunction with electroplating or by itself, it has several advantages over electroplating. It can produce thinner, more uniform layers of metals in a variety of architectures. It can be used in narrower trenches with higher depth-to-width aspect ratios. It can fill trenches from the bottom up, automatically eliminating uneven deposition that can lead to voids in the metal lines--or it can produce conformal thin films that mirror the shape of the patterned wafer.

To employ the technique, a substrate wafer etched with trenches is placed under a plasma source. A pulsed bias voltage is applied to the substrate and can be tuned to accelerate ions toward both the sides and bottom of the trench (in which case a layer builds up evenly) or preferentially to the bottom, filling the trench from the bottom up. The process is terminated when the precise desired thickness of the material has been applied.

Films consisting of multiple layers are readily deposited using different cathode materials. Copper, tantalum, tantalum nitride, and a variety of other materials can be applied in this way. Copper metalization, for example, may begin by depositing a conformal film of tantalum 20 to 50 nanometers thick. Ions of copper are then deposited on top of the tantalum layer. The process can be halted when the new material has formed a thin conformal coating, or the deposition can be continued until the trench is filled completely. Another possibility is to use the thin copper layer as a "seed layer" and fill the trench electrochemically.

To facilitate closer packing and multilevel connections, trenches are getting proportionally deeper as they get narrower. "Deep trenches etched into the dielectric must be filled completely, without voids or defects," Monteiro says. "With current technology, the deeper the trench, the more likely there will be defects."

"Dual-Damascene" methods are currently used to etch the trenches, fill them electrolytically, then mechanically polish away the excess metal using a chemically active slurry. (The term is borrowed from the way the Arab swordsmiths of medieval Damascus inlaid their famous weapons.) Etching and filling narrow structures with high aspect ratios will be especially difficult for dual-Damascene architectures.

Multilayer film methods will be essential, but a problem with common vapor-deposition techniques is that material builds up at the top of the trench and closes it off, leaving a void below. In ion-assisted deposition, however, the highly charged ions drive straight into the trench, dislodging excessive build-up before it accumulates.

"The challenge is to address narrower paths," Monteiro says. "Our goal is to get from 250 nanometers to 100 nanometers, at a 10-to-1 aspect ratio. And I'm confident we can go even below that."

Monteiro, who has applied for a patent on ion-assisted trench filling, says that what amazes him about the semiconductor industry "is that they know where they want to be without knowing how they're going to get there; but somehow they always do." Monteiro's new technique is one of the latest technologies to come to the industry's rescue.

Photo: Standard methods of inlaying metals in etched semiconductors may leave voids and fractures (above). Ion-assisted trench filling, developed by Berkeley Lab's Plasma Applications Group, results in perfect metal inlays (bottom). (ion1.tif & ion2.tif)

Photo: Othon Monteiro of AFRD's Plasma Applications Group uses a filtered cathodic arc inside a deposition chamber to fill nanometer-scale trenches in silicon wafers with perfect copper wires. (monteiro.tif)


Lab Halts Mixed Waste Treatability Study at NTLF

By Ron Kolb

Officials from Berkeley Lab and the Department of Energy suspended operation of a kiln at the National Tritium Labeling Facility after a waste treatability study resulted in an above-normal release of tritium.

"The tritium emissions from the processing were relatively small and posed no danger to personal health or the environment," said Laboratory Director Charles Shank. "Nonetheless, any release that exceeds what is expected in normal operations is unacceptable. Our objectives are to minimize the generation of waste as well as emissions."

Laboratory results indicate that about 23 curies of tritium were released to the atmosphere during experimental waste treatment tests on July 24. Neither the radiation dose levels experienced by the facility's employees nor the emission output to the environment reached thresholds that would require a formal report to regulatory agencies. There were no environmental violations or exceedances of regulatory standards.

Voluntary urine tests of Lab employees who were working near the NTLF at the time of the incident showed no unhealthful exposures or elevated dose measures.

Shank and DOE officials in Oakland decided on July 28 that use of a kiln during a mixed waste treatability study will be suspended pending further investigation. The treatability study is designed to research the removal of hazardous components from waste through oxidation. It is identified in the Laboratory's Site Treatment Plan for mixed waste, approved by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

The NTLF will continue its contribution to the treatability study, but without the use of a kiln and only in sealed environments.

Estimates from an initial air monitoring analysis showed that the nearest off-site individual in the community who might have had the highest exposure to radiation, at the Lab's eastern boundary, would have received a dose of about 0.02 millirem. For comparison, EPA has established an annual exposure limit of 10 millirem per year.

The new waste treatability study involves heating silica gel, the substance on which waste products had been collected during a research project, to separate out hazardous components and tritium for further treatment, including destruction of the hazardous parts. What remains can then be sent to an appropriate land disposal site.

In the July 24 test, an unplanned amount of tritium separated from the gel into a kiln during a heating step. Electronic monitors signaled elevated levels inside the laboratory, and the kiln was shut down. An earlier similar test resulted in no measurable tritium.

"This was a minor incident, but we still take it very seriously," Shank said. "Although a formal report to regulators is not required for an incident at this level, we feel it's important in building trust with the community that we share this information and tell the public what we're doing to avoid future occurrences."

The NTLF typically emits 50 to 100 curies of tritium into the air annually, an amount anticipated for 1998 even when this release is included.

The NTLF is funded by the National Institutes of Health as a national user facility of the Department of Energy. The waste treatability study is part of an overall effort to maintain this important biomedical research program while minimizing the generation of hazardous waste.

"Over the past eight years, Berkeley Lab has reduced stack emissions 10-fold through improvements in research techniques, filtering and storage adjustments, improved disposal methods, and redesign of equipment," Shank noted. "And we commit to a continuation of this downward trend."


For the Record

Carolyn Larabell, a cell biologist and microscopist with the Life Sciences Division featured in Currents on May 29, has helped develop a fluorogold-labeling technique that has enabled the use of x-ray microscopy to obtain images of proteins inside of whole cells in a hydrated state--not in living cells as cited in the article.

Also, the word "breakthrough" in the article's headline, combined with the legend under Dr. Larabell's picture, may have created the impression that the journal covers shown behind Dr. Larabell were soft x-ray images. They actually represent her previous accomplishments using confocal laser microscopy, a technique much more mature than the soft x-ray microscopy.

Currents regrets any misunderstanding that the story may have caused.

Photo: Carolyn Larabell (XBD9805-01426.tif)


Washington News

President Urges Federal Agencies to Improve Energy Efficiency

In a July 25 radio address to the nation, President Clinton said that "growing evidence suggests that the extreme and erratic weather we're seeing in America and around the world is being intensified by global warming." In an effort to "meet the long-term challenge," the president announced a series of directives aimed at encouraging federal agencies to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

That same day the president sent agency heads a memorandum outlining specific energy-saving goals: he directed agencies to make sure their buildings fit the EPA's "Energy Star" criteria (the top 25 percent of energy-efficient buildings); to replace 300,000 incandescent bulbs with fluoresecents within three years; and to employ "sustainable design" guidelines developed by the Department of Defense, which emphasize such practices as the use of recycled products and siting near public transportation.

A key part of the president's directive was to increased reliance on Energy Saving Performance Contracts (ESPCs). These allow private companies to be paid from energy-cost savings realized by their retrofitting of federal buildings. To encourage their use, agencies will no longer have to secure budgetary authorization for the full amount of ESPCs in advance. Clinton says increased use of ESPCs is essential if the administration is to meet its goal of reducing energy consumption by 30 percent below 1985 levels by the year 2005. Taken together, he said, the new measures could reduce carbon emissions by more than three million metric tons a year over 15 years.

Moniz Seeks Support for Advanced Computing Applications

Speaking at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington last week, DOE Under Secretary Ernest Moniz opened a two-day National Workshop on Advanced Scientific Computation by reminding his audience of some 200 representatives of government, academia and industry that work is already under way on the FY2000 budget and that the White House and Congress both have indicated strong support for information and communications technology. He said that "there's opportunity there to make a case, if a case is to be made, and to bring together a major coalition" to support dramatic advances in the field.

Moniz is an enthusiast of large-scale computer simulation applied to national goal,and has been working to expand DOE's commitment to advanced scientific computing. He encouraged participants to consider forming cross-disciplinary partnerships to apply computers to such challenges as curbing air pollution and finding new sources of energy.

--Paul Preuss


Ergonomics Galore

Photo: Vendors were on hand early this week for the annual Ergonomics Fair to answer questions and help Lab employees design healthier and more effective workstations. On display were everything from the latest chairs to wrist-friendly keyboards and other ergonmical gadgets. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt (XBD9808-01897-12.tif)


Human Resources Director Resigns

Robert Frane, the Laboratory's Human Resources director, has left his position at the Lab to pursue other opportunities. Deputy Lab Director Klaus Berkner has appointed Michael O'Neil, the current manager of HR's Employee/ Labor Relations unit, as acting Human Resources director.

O'Neil has worked at the Lab since March of last year. A lawyer and expert in labor relations, he had previously worked for the National Labor Relations Board and held the top leadership position for the human resources department at the San Francisco Newspaper Agency.


Lab in the News

The power of NERSC supercomputers to visualize the invisible was dramatically illustrated recently in science writer Lee Dye's column on ABC News' website. Dye featured Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Julian Borrill and his work on "semilocal strings," which may have appeared during the Big Bang and contributed to the asymmetry and lumpiness of today's universe. Working with Kevin Campbell of the Visualization Group on NERSC's Cray T3E, Borrill created a movie of the early universe which ran in all its glory at the top of Dye's column.Watch for a feature story on this topic in an upcoming issue of Currents.


Mountain Lion Sighting on the Hill


A male mountain lion has been spotted on the Hill in the vicinity of Bldgs. 74 and 62. (No, not this particular one, but they probably think we all look alike, too.)

The cat seems to be the same one spotted recently in Tilden Park. Reports are that the lion appears to be well fed (probably thanks to some very unlucky deer in the area) and also seems to enjoy people watching during daylight hours. Mountain lions are generally solitary in nature and tend to prowl at night.

The California Department of Fish and Game offers several safety recommendations for people who hike, jog, or walk in areas where mountain lions may be present:

Should you come in contact with a lion, follow these suggestions:

If you encounter a mountain lion or sight a dead or injured one, contact the California Department of Fish and Game during regular business hours. For more information call the East Bay Regional Park District at 635-0135.


Currents Online

The full text as well as photographs of each edition of Currents is also published on the World Wide Web. You can find a link to Currents on the Lab's home page (http:// under the heading "Publications." The site allows users to do searches of past articles.


Web Corner

Bits and Bytes

The number of U.S. homes with at least one computer rose to 44.8 percent in 1997 from 40.7 percent in 1996. That's according to a report from Ziff-Davis Market Intelligence. Ziff-Davis says that as of three months ago, 78 million Americans had accessed the Internet. That's up from 26 percent in the first quarter of 1997!


Netscape's domination of the Internet browser market has taken a plunge. The Mountain View company once provided 80 percent of our browsers. The most recent figures indicate Netscape's market share has dropped to about 52 percent. Microsoft's Internet Explorer now has 45 percent of the market, and its share continues to rise.


Netscape's best hope to stem the Microsoft tide is the new Netscape 4.5 browser. Just released in beta version, it has two significant new navigational features. "Smart Browsing" lets you type a name--say, "General Motors"--in the address space and the browser then takes you to, the company's website. To pull this off, the browser contacts a remote database at Netscape, looks up the correct URL, and in a flash opens it in your browser. If the name cannot be instantly identified, your browser opens to the Netscape Netcenter search site. The "What's Related" feature offers you a dropdown menu with 10 sites related to the one you're browsing. Over time, this list will change as Netscape refines it. For now the intelligence behind these new features remains artificial. In the case of Berkeley Lab, the 10 "What's Related" sites listed range from LLNL to "Mass Spectrometry on the Internet."


According to an Infoseek analysis of the domain, there are now at least 190 web servers active at the Laboratory. Within the domain, the main server ( has the most extensive collection of information, with 7,500 files.


Traffic on the Lab's main website continues to grow. During an average week, there are in excess of 200,000 files downloaded, with traffic on some weeks approaching a quarter million hits.


Finally, consider the incomprehensible error messages produced by your browser--e.g., "Netscape is unable to locate the server. The server does not have a DNS entry." Imagine this in Haiku:

"The Web site you seek
cannot be located.
But endless others exist."

--Jeffery Kahn


Teachers Spend Four Weeks at the ALS As Part of Integrated Science Program

By Monica Friedlander

Imagine being a high school science teacher whose experience with science was limited to classrooms and school labs. Given a chance to work at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source--the world's brightest source of ultraviolet and soft x-ray beams--chances are you would feel like a child let loose at FAO Schwarz.

Scott Davis, a teacher at Hogan High School in Vallejo, could hardly contain his enthusiasm. "This is the first time I did something other than talk about what scientists do," Davis said. "I did science. It was amazing."

His sentiments were echoed by 11 other Bay Area teachers who availed themselves of a rare opportunity this summer to work alongside Lab researchers on various beamlines at the ALS thanks to the Integrated Science Partnership Project, funded through an education grant from the State of California.

Its goal: to help high school science teachers better understand the interdependence of different branches of science through direct participation in research projects, and as a result, to modify their curriculum to make science more comprehensible and attractive to students.

Teamed up in pairs, the teachers worked in a variety of research programs, completed individual projects, attended lectures, toured facilities, and networked with fellow teachers and scientists on the Hill. The project was conceived by Marva Wilkins of the Lab's Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE) and Don Hubbard, a Berkeley High School science teacher.

"The opportunity to provide teachers with such a rich educational experience," says Wilkins, "places the Laboratory in a strategic position in educating future generations of scientists, engineers and technicians."

The ALS is an ideal facility for a project of this scope, given the wide range of applications of its light sources. Materials scientists can examine surfaces as tiny as a few hundred atoms across, biologists can peer inside living cells, and chemists can take virtual snapshots of chemical reactions. Surrounded by such a wealth of opportunities, each team of teachers found their own way to make science fun--for themselves and eventually for their students.

"You give students something they're interested in and trick them into learning science," said Tom Knight, a teacher at Vallejo High School who developed a unit on forensic science. Students will be presented with a crime scenario and challenged to find the culprit using tools from various scientific fields. Knight and project partner Ned Dodds studied small traces of materials using infrared microscopy, which makes it possible for scientists to focus in on areas as tiny as 10 microns. Their projects ranged from analysis of hair samples and DNA, to answering one of mankind's greatest mysteries: is there a difference between Coke and Pepsi?

Since Knight's personal background is in biochemistry, he feels extremely fortunate to have been able to immerse himself for a few weeks in other branches of science. "Being a biochemistry person, I'm lucky because I have an integrated major already. But I'm not strong in physics or earth science. By putting the connections together in my own head I can then bring them to my students."

All teachers said they were especially grateful for the opportunity to work with mentors who took the time to share their vast knowledge with them. The relationship between teacher and researcher, however, was not a one way street. In turn, the teachers made valuable contributions of their own, whether by building equipment, running samples, or otherwise helping scientists with their research.

"You learn best by teaching someone else," said Michael Martin of Material Sciences, Knight's mentor. "It was a lot of fun for me to have eager, learning young people whom to teach something new. By doing some interesting experiments they reminded me what can be done with simple techniques. We really enjoyed feeding off each other. It was nice to have extra hands to help build things and run tests at the beamline. But it was also an opportunity for me to go over some of the basics."

Julie Benke, who will start her first term as a teacher at Berkeley High School this fall, worked with partner Lee Trampleasure, also a teacher at Berkeley High, at the x-ray microscopy beamline. "It was a great opportunity for me," Benke said. "It helped my confidence to reshape curriculum and add a unit on waves and sound. Instead of just using a regular textbook, I can cite the research being done here."

Benke and Trampleasure's task was to test the accuracy of microscope measurements by verifying whether the vibrations along beamlines are significant enough to interfere with the experiments. By the end of the month they were able to provide their mentor, Glenn Ackerman, with the answer he hoped for.

"It was great that we were able to come in and do projects and get some questions off the researchers' to-do list," said Trampleasure, who plans to offer his students units on "Energy from Outer Space" and "How Things Work: Electricity and Magnetism."

At the end of their four week program the teachers came together and made presentations to the entire group. In the audience was Lab Director Charles Shank, who praised project participants for their efforts.

"I really can see how this program can have an impact on students," he said. "Thank you for being part of it."

The conclusion of the teacher workshop at the Lab is not the end of the line for the project itself. Future activities will include three day-long follow-up institutes planned for this school year to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum changes and allow teachers to share information. The first workshop will be held on Oct. 22 at Berkeley Lab.

For further information about the program, contact Marva Wilkins at X5640.

Photo: Teachers Tom Knight (left) and Ned Dodds (right), shown here with their mentor, Michael Martin of Material Sciences (center), developed a classroom unit on forensic science as the result of their four-week experience working with infrared microscopy at the Advanced Light Source. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt (XBD9807-01851-08.tif)


Lab People in the Spotlight

From Bubble Chambers to Bear Haven - And a Post-Retirement Degree to Boot

By Eli Kintisch

Deane Merrill's not slowing down. At age 60, living 2500 miles from his beloved Berkeley Lab, the retired computer sciences stalwart is as busy as ever.

He's hunting down grants to fund the next phases of his research. He's preparing to serve on an EPA review board in Washington, D.C. Yes, he's settled down in rural Massachusetts, but from the dozens of e-mails he exchanges with Lab scientists each day you'd never guess he ever logged off the Lab's computer network.

And instead of settling for a mere going-away party, Merrill celebrated his retirement with a second graduate degree--a doctorate of public health. His doctoral thesis follows 16 years of research conducted under the Populations at Risk to Environmental Pollution (PAREP) program, an effort to tap public health databases to examine how pollution may cause disease. Merrill's paper focuses on a new mapping program--the Density Equalized Map Projection (DEMP) algorithm--that helps scientists interpret large public health datasets to make more accurate biostatistical hypotheses.

DEMP produces maps called cartograms, which balance population density between regions by distorting the region sizes, such as US maps which depict California and New York dwarfing states like New Mexico. Cartograms are used by scientists to analyze disease risks by taking population density into account. Epidemiologists can thus better detect areas with unusually high rates of disease.

DEMP is the first practical program that produces accurate cartograms on small computers, currently run on Cray's UNIX-based Spark-10 systems, opening a new era of electronic epidemiology.

Merrill employed DEMP to analyze 401 childhood cancer cases in four California counties, verifying an earlier study that showed no areas of especially high occurrence. This suggested that few, if any, of the cancer cases can be attributed to environmental pollution.

Merrill began his career when he came to Berkeley Lab in 1960 as a graduate student in Louis Alvarez's famous "Group A"--the team that utilized the bubble chamber to conduct some of the leading experimental physics research of the time.

Capitalizing on what he downplays as a "natural clerical ability," Merrill later became involved with demographic databases under Carl Quong, head of what was then the Computing Science and Applied Math Department. Merrill was hired in 1973 as a "data guru" for the SEEDIS (Socio-Economic Demographic Information System) database.

"It was a gradual transition," he said. "I was very fond of the computer side of physics."

From there, his career as a computer scientist and demographics expert took off. SEEDIS began with information culled from the Department of Labor, the U.S. Census, and the Army. Merrill's system allowed users to combine these datasets to analyze demographics, a tedious feat considering the lethargic, punch-card computers he was using.

As an early user of the fledgling Internet in the 1970s, his group configured the databases to allow access to the system over phone lines. By 1985, SEEDIS had grown to encompass two decades of census data, Department of Labor information, cancer incidence reports, and dozens of other databases. For many years Merrill was the primary guardian of data from the 1970 and 1980 census, distributing it over the Internet long before the Census Bureau ran a website. One of Merrill's summer students, Nathan Parker, wrote LOOKUP, a program the Census Bureau still uses for web delivery of 1990 Census data.

Merrill's recent doctoral degree culminates a 25-year voyage through applied programming, government data, biostatistics, and epidemiology. In 1983 Merrill began taking graduate courses, enrolling in about a dozen classes over a 10 year period. Most of the thesis research was conducted under the PAREP program; but when funding was dropped in 1994, Merrill finished the thesis in his spare time.

"He was exceptional," said Steve Selvin, a UC Berkeley public health professor who has collaborated with Merrill for over 20 years and served as his doctoral advisor. "Some guys do autos or golf for hobbies, but Deane took classes, did the research, and just kept going and going and he finally did it."

Yet Merrill does not seem drained after his ten year graduate career or 200-page thesis. "It was just a whole lot of fun," he says.

These days, when he's not helping refine the DEMP algorithm, Merrill is busy advising his graduate student, Catherine Erdman of UC Berkeley's Epidemiology department.

And all of this under a din of hammers, nailguns and circular saws in the background. For in his spare time, Merrill is supervising the renovations on Bear Haven, a 15-room Victorian house his great-great-grandfather built in 1850. In August he and his wife Chris are opening the mansion as a bed and breakfast in Shelbourne Falls, Mass.

"Although I miss the Lab, I'm as busy and happy as I ever was. We will be very glad to welcome Berkeley friends at Bear Haven."

Deane Merrill's thesis can be read online at

Photo: Deane Merrill (left), shown here in 1980, looks over some maps with Bruce Burkhart and Barbara Levine while working on the Socio-Economic Environmental Demographic Information System project. (merrill_map.tif)

Photo: Now retired from Berkeley Lab, Deane Merrill has moved to Massachusetts where he is finishing up renovations on his 15-room soon-to-be bed and breakfast. (merrill_paint.tif)

Photo: Back in January, Merrill (second from left below) and fellow Lab retirees Dave Stevens, Eric Beals and Bill Benson were honored at a farewell party. (XBD9808-018899.tif)


New Employees

Berkeley Lab welcomed the following new career employees during the month of July:


New Employee Orientation

On Tuesday, Aug. 11, a basic safety training course comprised of "Introduction to EH&S at LBNL" (EHS 10) and "New Employee Orientation" will be offered in the Bldg. 50 auditorium from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The program will include a tour of the Lab and downtown facilities and lunch at the Lab cafeteria. For additional information contact EH&S Training at X7366.


Workshop on Web Searching

On Thursday, Aug.13, the Lab's library staff will be offering a workshop on Effective Web Searching, to be held at 10 a.m. in the Bldg. 50 auditorium. The workshop will offer tips and strategies for using the major search engines. For more information call Jhane Beck at X4622.


Publish Your Research on the ALS Rapid Communication Site

If you would like to see your research published on the web, you may submit an abstract in html format to the Advanced Light Source's Rapid Communications Website (http://xrays-1.lbl. gov/), created to allow ALS users to quickly publish results and accompanying images. All ALS users are welcome to submit results obtained in studies performed at the ALS. Submissions are reviewed for scientific validity and readability. For more information and instruction for submitting your abstract, see html.


Change of Date for Radiation Protection Training

The EH&S courses on "Radiation Protection-Fundamentals" (EHS 400) and "Radiation Protection-Lab Safety" (EHS 432), originally scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 20, have been rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 21. To pre-enroll contact EH&S Training at X7366.


Firefighter Games

Harold Blair won a silver medal in the medal round of the singles competition at the 27th annual Firefighter Games, recently held in Concord. In the team event, Gary Dunbar, Barry Tweedell, Stacy Cox, and Harold Blair qualified for the medal round and finished fourth overall. The Games are sponsored by the Contra Costa County Firefighters. Next year's event will be held in Santa Anna.


Intern Celebration: Music, BBQ, and Sunny Day to Boot

Photo: An estimated 200 students, mentors and other Lab employees enjoyed the great food and festive atmosphere during at the sixth annual Summer Student Picnic, sponsored by Berkeley Lab and hosted by the African American Employee's Association.

Like musical entertainment was provided by Terry Hillard, Dick Crolley and Don Krieger. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt (XBD9807-01884.tif)


ALS Users' Meeting and Call for Abstracts

The annual ALS Users' Meeting will be held at Berkeley Lab on Oct. 22-23. The event will cover new scientific work related to synchrotron radiation. In addition to oral and poster presentations of research highlights from the last year, a student poster competition with a cash award and a special session of selected oral presentations by students and postdocs will be featured. Venders and suppliers will exhibit their products.

All users and students are invited to submit abstracts detailing recent work completed at the ALS. Oral talks will be selected from the abstracts received.

The deadline for abstract submission is Aug. 20. Abstracts must be no longer than one page and include name, address, e-mail, phone and fax numbers of the primary author.

Send abstracts to Ruth Pepe, Advanced Light Source, MS 6-2100, fax Z4773, e-mail: More information can be found on the web at

For additional information call the ALS User Services Office at X7745,


Wendy Tokuda at Hall of Science

Television anchorwoman Wendy Tokuda will read from two of her children's books, "Humphrey the Lost Whale" and "Samson the Hot Tub Bear" at the Lawrence Hall of Science on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 1:30 p.m. She will autograph books after the reading. Both books will be available at LHS's Discovery Corner store.

Whale-related activities will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m.


Beach Cleanup

The beach cleanup originally scheduled as part of Earth Month activities has been rescheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Berkeley Marina. Participants will meet at the main bus stop by Bldg. 65 for transportation to the beach. Gloves will be provided. Bring your brown bag lunch. Refreshments will be served after the clean up. To sign up, call Shelley Worsham at X6123.


New EH&S Course on Radiation Protection - Spill Response Refresher Training

EHS 436, a one-time refresher course, will re-emphasize spill response procedures for RWA workers who use unsealed sources of radioactive materials. The course contents will be customized to meet the needs of individual divisions with active RWAs. The purpose of the course is to ensure proper spill management to prevent personal contamination and spread of unsealed radioactive material outside of controlled areas.

This course will be tailored to address material appropriate to each division. All RWA users should plan to attend the course during their division's scheduled time, as listed in the schedule below. To register for the course, you may use the EH&S website ( or contact Susan Aberg at X7366.


Annual Yoga Banquet

Lab yoga class participants and their families and friends are invited to a banquet on Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at 964 Euclid Ave. in Berkeley (phone 528-2723). Wine and dine with fellow yogis, hear a talk on yoga philosophy by Rodney, watch yoga videos, and soak in a hot tub. Food will be catered. Bring drinks to share with group. RSVP: Forrest Gee, X5887.

Yoga classes are held at the Lab every Wednesday and Friday from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the Bldg. 70A conference room. For more information, contact Shelley Worsham (X6123), Forrest Gee (X5887), or John Busch (X7279).


Calendar of Events at Berkeley Lab


The Berkeley Lab Calendar is published biweekly here on the World Wide Web and in Currents by the Public Information Department. Employees can list a meeting, class, or event in the Calendar by using this submission form. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday in the week that Currents is published.

In addition to the events listed below, Berkeley Lab's Washington, D.C. Projects office is hosting a Science and Technology Seminars series. 

Scientific Conferences


August 10ŠAugust 21


New Employee Orientation
9 a.m -12:45 p.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium

Weight Watchers
Noon, Bldg. 26-109


Music Club
Organizational meeting, noon, lower cafeteria


7:30 - 3:30 p.m., Bldg. 54 parking lot

Web Searching Workshop
10 a.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium

Beach Cleanup
11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., Berkeley Marina

African American Employees Association
General meeting, noon, Bldg. 90-1099


Weight Watchers
Noon, Bldg. 26-109


Annual Yoga Banquet
6 p.m., 964 Euclid, Berkeley

Items for the calendars may be sent via e-mail to currents_calendar@, faxed to X6641 or mailed to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the Aug. 21 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17.


Seminars & Lectures

AUGUST 10, Monday

ALS/CXRO Seminar
"Scientific Opportunities for the ALS Using 2-20 KeV X-rays" will be presented by Howard Padmore of the Advanced Light Source.
3:30 p.m., Bldg. 2-100B

AUGUST 11, Tuesday

NERSC Division Seminar
"An Overview of NERSC's Future Technologies Group" will be presented by Bill Saphir of NERSC.
2 p.m., Bldg. 51-201

AUGUST 13, Thursday

Surface Science and Catalysis Science Seminar
"Catalysis on Microstructured Surfaces" will be presented by Ronald Imbihl of the University of Hannover, Germany.
1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium

AUGUST 18, Tuesday

Center for Environmental Biotechnology Seminar
"Differences in Molecular Diversity of Microbial Communities from a Hypereutrophic Lake and the Terrestrial Subsurface" will be presented by Anthony Palumbo of Oak Ridge.
Noon, Bldg. 50A-5132


Softball Results

Results of July 29 game

Standings After Week 7




Flea Market

Autos / Supplies

`77 CHEVY, one ton pickup, blue, ac, pwr steering, pwr windows, pwr brakes pwr door locks, tow hitch, 10.5 ft camper, sleeps 4, bthrm, shower, sink, refrig, stove, 143K mi, $3,500/bo, Mike, X6021, (209) 836-5896

`79 TOYOTA Celica, 156K mi, 5 spd, ac, sr, exc tires, new clutch, recent tune-up, well maintained, all records, very reliable, reg until Oct `98, $1,200, Raul, X5707

`85 CHEVY G20 Van, tons of room, comfortable, carpeted interior, am/fm/tape, 120K mi, passed smog, runs well, a little rust, 2nd owner, $1,500, John, X5871, 601-9863

`86 CHEVY Nova, stick, one owner, great body, new used engine, talk to mechanic, $1,800/b.o., Charles, X4730, 524-6401

`86 OLDS, Cutless Supreme, 4 dr, ac, at, 94K mi, new battery/tires, runs great, $2,500/b.o., Iraj, 526-9205, (eve)

`86 AUDI 4000S, 120K mi, pwr steering, windows, doorlocks, sunroof, ac, am/fm/cass, cruise control, interior good, new tires, alt, battery, brakes, runs great, $2,200, avail, 8/23, Sophie, X4125

`86 TOYOTA Celica GT, 5 spd, charcoal gray, runs great, recent front & rear brakes, ps, pb, original owner, records, 151K mi, $2,000/b.o., Steve, X6271, (925) 256-9725

`87 MERCURY Topaz LS, 155K mi, 5 spd, many new parts: brakes, electrical, tires, body ok, $2,500/b.o., Stephane, 524-3466

`87 HONDA Civic, 4 dr sedan, 135K mi, runs great, rebuilt transmission, refurbished head, good cond, very reliable, all receipts, $2,500/b.o., Tom, X5704, 527-8122

`87 DODGE Colt, (Mitsubishi) 5 spd, 4 dr, 140K mi, new tires timing belt & axles, all records, garaged, $1,800, Tamas, X4828, 558-9192

`87 DODGE Colt, 4 dr, at, ps, ac, am/fm/cassette + 4 speakers, 91K mi, complete service records, good cond, registered to 7/99, $1,700, Ron, X4410, 276-8079

`89 AUDI 100 Sedan, at, ac, pl, pw, 139 ABS, am/fm cd, cruise control, sunroof, alarm, new tires, brakes, major service done, excellent in/out, $3,900, Mohammed, X7144, 218-5592

`89 TOYOTA Corolla SR5, exc cond, in/out, ac, pwr sun roof, 5 spd, Robert, (925) 432-2383

`90 FORD Festiva, red, 95K mi, 5 spd manual trans, good cond, after market, am/fm/tape player, $2,500/b.o., Rich, X7314, 527-5248

`93 TOYOTA, Camry LE, silver/ white, 65K mi, calm driving, a/c, p/w, p/s, audio works nicely, $9,700, Kwang, X5483, 601-6537

`93 VOLVO 850 GLT, 4 dr, white w/ dark gray leather, fully loaded: 3 mode auto trans, cruise, air, moonroof, auto climate ctrl, pwr windows & door locks, tele/tilt wheel, Nordic pkg, factory alarm, dual airbags, am/fm cassette w/ 12 disc cd changer w/ 8 speakers, alloy wheels, 4 wheel ABS, 60/40 fold down rear seats, and more. 68K mi, service records, meticulously maintained, $16,350, June, X2916, 222-3366 (eve)

`94 ISUZU Rodeo, 4wd, 3.2L v6, 5 spd, ac, cruise control, pwr windows, mirrors & door locks, exc cond, Claret red, externally mounted spare, 36K mi, $13,700/b.o., Clay, (925) 376-4481

`95 JEEP Cherokee Sport, red exc cond, dr, 5 spd manual, ac, driver air bag, am/fm/cassette, pwr/tilt steering, roof rack, tinted windows, 75K mi, (mostly freeway), $12,000, Edith, X5553, 222-6385

`95 HONDA Magna vf750, motorcycle, candy apple red, exc cond, loaded w/extras, $5,000, John, X6944, (415) 550-1901

`97 YAMAHA 650 SECA II, 2K mi, great cond, all services, $4,900, Silvia, X 5223, 223-4766 (eve)

`98 JEEP Cherokee Sport, 4 dr. 4wd, 4.0L, white, 13K mi, at, ac, ps, pw, cc, tw, am/fm, cassette, warranty, $21,000/b.o. Yasuhisa, X6645


BERKELEY, sublet, fully furn, studio on Channing Way, close to campus and LBNL, shuttle, avail 9/8-10/30, $485/mo, David, 841-7196

BERKELEY, furn, 1 bdrm apt in duplex, short term only (up to 1 yr), avail in mid-Sept/nego, $750/mo + util, Lara, X7276

BERKELEY HILLS, beautiful and spacious 1 bdrm in-law apt, fully furnished, recently remodeled, marble bthrm, private patio, non smoker, avail 9/1/98, $895 + util, Helga, 524-8308

BERKELEY HILLS apt, 1 bdrm, 1 bth, kitchen, living/dining, single occupancy, non smoker, deck w/ excellent San Francisco Bay view, quiet, private location, walk to campus, easy access to hiking trails, $950/mo, Chissie or Bill, 841-2105

BERKELEY HILLS rm in private home, 180 degree bay view, grand piano, private bth, kitchen & laundry priviledges, share water and PG&E, $475/mo, Betty, 848-7722

EL CERRITO, nr Bart, to share luxury 2 bdrm/2 bth condo w/ lab eng, partial furnished rm, avail mid August for short & long term stay, prefer one mature, neat, nonsmoking visiting researcher, $450/mo, Tai, X5015

MARINWOOD (San Rafael), share 3 bdrm house next to creek, park, best street in community, share w/LBNL professional, 45 min commute to LBNL, $650 + share util, Donn, X4162, (415) 499-8999

PIEDMONT, bright 2 bdrm, 1 bth, laundry rm, storage, no smoking, 15 min from LBNL/UCB, $1500, Lydia, X4952

OAKLAND, Lake Merritt, studio close to BART, $540 + electric, avail 9/1, Jin, X7531, 452-1264


49ER TX, 2 tx to 49ers games avail, various dates, all games at Candlestick, rights avail, Al, X5908, 672-2716

AEROBIC STEPPER, Voit SCX250 electronic, can calculate heart rate, distance, temp & intensity of workout; has timer and water bottle, 4 yrs old, almost like new, has owner's manual, must pickup from my apt, $50/b.o., Pat, X4985

AIR CONDITIONER, window mounted, $80; Air cooler, portable evaporative, $30; Computer desk, 20"x36", $10, Edward, 525-0531

BEDS, twin (2) w/ matching headboards, quality mattresses & box springs in good cond, $75 for the pair or $40 each; tall TV/VCR cabinet w/ extra storage, $25; some other misc furn also avail, Lara, X7276, 548-4832

BLANKET, throw, chenille, maroon, 50 x 60, brand new, still in pkg, $20; mat for camping or yoga, 20"W x 72"L, nearly new, $6; hair dryer, Conair, good cond, $7; hand juicer for citrus, glass, $4; sachets, $4, Melissa, 665-5572

CHILDREN'S CLOTHING, toys, books, furniture, all very good cond: girls French designer dresses, size 4 & 6, young children's books, high chairs, play area modular fences, portable play pen/crib, tricycle, Little Tikes play kitchen, Edith, X5553, 222-6385

COLOR TV, 13" GE w/ remote, has sleep alarm, works like new, $75 firm, John, X6425

COLOR TV, Gen Elec, 45" X VCR 4-head, auto head cleaning, w/remote, $250; child carrier Kelty Kids, used twice (new $110), $50; Child's bike, $15, Sophie, X4125

GARDEN CHIPPER/MULCHER, 8 h.p., Sears, good cond, $250/b.o., Charlie, X4658, (925) 283-6111

MAC IIsi computer, 9 mb ram, 40 mb internal hard disk, 100 MB external hard disk drive, Apple Color High Resolution 13" RGB monitor, Apple extended keyboard II, Day Star 50 MHz Universal Pwr Cache, lots of software, $275, Ron, X4410, 276-8079

MACINTOSH Performa 636CD, 20MB RAM, 250MB HD, 14" monitor, external zip disk drive, Global Village Teleport Platinum 33.6kps modem, word processing, internet & drawing software along w/ Apple Personal Laserwriter incl, $600 for all, Craig, 547-0697

MOVING SALE, futon w/frame, $30; 13" color TV/VCR combo, $180; tables, $15-$25; chairs, sofa, household items, kitchenware, baby stuff (wooden crib), $30; car seat, $25; changing table, $5, Stephane, 524-3466 (eve)

MOVING SALE, queen size bed, sofa, TV table, 1 yr old Sharp 27" stereo TV, 1 yr old Aiwa stereo, Sony Web TV, vacuum cleaner, coffee table, side table, desk, bookshelves, lamps, coffee maker, toaster, hairdryer, etc, Tamas, X4828, 558-9192

NIKON Nuvis, 25mm advanced photo system camera, $75; Huffy women's bike, 26" barely used, too small for me, $85; RCA Personal CD player w/ auto plug-in, $50; open to trading for child's desk or larger bicycle, Mari, X5932

ROTOTILLER, Troy built "Horse" model, 7 hp tecumseh eng, rear tines, exc cond, $750; Sailboat, 8 ft El Toro class, historic number 136, collectors item, excellent cond and ready to sail, $500, Fred, X6885

ROTTWEILER pure bred puppies, w/ papers, avail after 8/20, Miguel, 237-1609

SONY Tape Recorder, double decker, am/fm stereo, $8, Jia, X6817

STAMPS, old American and Canadian stamps, no complete sets, some are from the last century, b.o.; camping equipment, 2 person tent, $45/b.o., 3-4 person tent, $65/ b.o.; queen size air bed, $12/ b.o.; queen size air bed, $20/ b.o.; air pump, $4; stove, $15; lamp, $12; older cooler free w/ one of the above items; items are less than 2 yrs old, Olaf, X6676

WATERBED, queen size, good cond, $120, George, X7252, 234-5250


BAHAMAS Condo, Luxurious, spacious 1 bdrm in Taino Beach Resort, sleeps up to 4, every amenity, beautiful beach, pool/tennis, maid service, $500/week, Marlene, X6005

HAWAII, 20 mi below Hilo on rainy side of Big Island, convenient to Univ. of Hawaii campus & orchid plantations, 2 bdrm, 2 bth house for rent, unfurn, nr schools, shopping, 1 mi to ocean bluff, $450/mo or buy for $55,000, Marlene, X6005

TAHOE KEYS at South Lake Tahoe, house, 3 bdrm, 2.5 bth, on the water, fenced yard, quiet area, close to many attractions, great views of water and mtns, $150/night (2 night min), Bob, (925) 376-2211


COLOR TV, small, preferably portable, Robert, X7139

COED SOCCER TEAM looking for several new members, need female players and a goalie, all team members must be 30 yrs or older, games on Sunday (usually the morning), Howard, X5031, 540-6718

GARAGE, looking to rent a fully enclosed garage to house my restored, classic car, prefer North Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito, Lawrence, X5570

HOUSE/APT, 1 bdrm, for male grad student in Comparative Biochemistry, LBL student assistant, single, non smoker, no pets, clean, Hanmin, X5299, 548-6551

HOUSING, 1-3 bdrm furn, for visiting scientist from Germany, 8/20-9/17 (negotiable), Reinhard, X7838,

HOUSING for visiting scientist w/wife from Switzerland, already in Berkeley, 2 bdrm house or apt, furn, avail asap, lease `til mid-Dec, or end of March, Alfred, 642-4175, e-mail:

HOUSE SITTER, Sept 7-Oct 4, water garden and monitor swimming pool, 6 blks from Lab, Bob, 843-3428

HOUSING for visiting professor & family from Italy, searching for a 1-2 bdrm, flat in a safe area of Berkeley, Albany, Kensington, North Oakland, Montclair, Sept to Dec, email:, Susan, X7366

HOUSING, studio/cottage/in-law/1 bdrm apt for clean, responsible, nonsmoker, chemical eng grad student w/ local ref, Berkeley, North Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, asap, Mike, 524-9791, 643-3073


KITTENS need a home, adorable, playful, affectionate, purr loudly when held, black, 2 long-haired (mail and female), 1 short-haired female, Robin, X4141

Flea Market Policy

Flea Market items may be e-mailed to fleamarket@, faxed to X6641, or mailed to Bldg. 65B.

The deadline for the Aug. 21 issue is 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14. Ads will not be accepted after that date.


Flea Market ad policy

Due to the large volume of ads received each week, ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and on-site DOE personnel. No other ads will be accepted. We encourage past contributors to the Flea Market to use other local services, such as LBNL's online housing listing (call X6198 for information), and the UC Housing Office.

sPlease note also:


Currents/The View and the Communications Department Staff

Published once a month by the Communications Department for the employees and retirees of Berkeley Lab.

Reid Edwards, Public Affairs Department head
Ron Kolb, Communications Department head

Pamela Patterson, 486-4045,
Associate editor
Lyn Hunter, 486-4698,

Dan Krotz, 486-4019
Paul Preuss, 486-6249
Lynn Yarris, 486-5375

Ucilia Wang, 495-2402
Allan Chen, 486-4210
David Gilbert, (925) 296-5643

Caitlin Youngquist, 486-4020
Creative Services Office

Berkeley Lab
Communications Department
MS 65, One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley CA 94720
(510) 486-5771
Fax: (510) 486-6641

Berkeley Lab is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Flea Market is now online at


Search | Home | Questions