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Berkeley Lab Currents

December 18, 1998


Energy Secretary Bill Richardson Pays First Visit To Berkeley Lab

By Ron Kolb

Bringing a message of both commitment and challenge, new Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson made his first appearance at Berkeley Lab last Tuesday, Dec. 8, armed with keen political observations and a curiosity to learn more about science.

"I've been on the job for three months," he told a standing-room-only audience at the Bldg. 50 auditorium, "and I've visited 26 facilities. The reason I've come to you last is I wanted to save the best for last."

The applause that greeted his opening comment seemed to welcome this new relationship.

Richardson, fresh from a high-profile tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, spent a whirlwind three hours on site, cramming in employee meetings and research tours ("about 18,000 stops," he quipped to the all-hands listeners) as part of his brief orientation. Quick-witted and genial, the former congressman pledged his support for basic research and non-defense labs like Berkeley.

"What I want to do is send a very strong message to all the basic science labs that you are just as important, if not more so [than the defense labs]," he said in his 30-minute auditorium session. "I want to make sure you're properly funded.

"I want, when the American people think of the Department of Energy, that they don't think we're the department of clean-up and spills and high gasoline prices, but that we're the labs of science and non-proliferation and renewables, that we care deeply about new frontiers of discovery. You are a lab that is going to be on our priority list," Richardson said.

He cautioned, however, that public support for science will take a greater effort on the part of the laboratories to convince Congress and the larger American community of the value of research to their lives.

"You scientists are pioneers and catalysts, but you're not Brahmans, and you're not mandarins, but you're important in our society," he said. "One thing we have not done is connect with people. What you do, the business of science, is important and we have to find ways to [communicate] that better."

He also talked about issues he considered "big for me"--promotion of women, diversity in the workplace, and replacing the workforce. "We have to find the people who are going to be retained and recruited here instead of getting a job in the private sector," he said. "I also want to look at the salary structure; maybe we don't pay people enough."

Richardson expressed his interest in increasing industry and international collaborations, and in science education for young people. He said education funding traditionally gets cut from the budget by Congress, and he hopes that his 13 years as a representative from New Mexico will help to make education support a higher federal priority.

Before departing on his first tour stop at the Advanced Light Source, Richardson concluded his talk to Lab employees by saying, "I want to stress to you again that we're committed to you, that what you do is important. I will [be back], and I want to do better [in science]. That is not my strength, and I'm trying to get a strategy."

He urged his audience to "hold me six months say, `Was this appointment just rhetoric, or did he deliver?'"

One indication of his commitment to science was his appointment of Robin Staffin, a former Livermore scientist, to his staff as chief science advisor. He introduced Staffin at the all-hands meeting.

Richardson's visit began after a quick drive north from an agreement-signing ceremony in Santa Clara with Intel and Sandia Lab for new computer chip designs. Arriving at 2:30 p.m., he first met briefly with representatives of the University Professional and Technical Employees' (UPTE) union, then with about a dozen division directors. At the latter session, he carefully listened to each senior manager as they characterized priorities and needs.

Then it was off to the ALS. Led by ALS Division Director Daniel Chemla, the tour featured life scientist Cathy Magowan describing her work on malarial cells, and Physical Biosciences Division Director Graham Fleming and physicist Thomas Earnest discussing their use of the ALS for determining the atomic structure of proteins.

Richardson received a briefing from physicist Saul Perlmutter on using supernovae to determine the fate of the universe, and from physicist Ashok Gadgil of Environmental Energy Technologies on the UV Waterworks ultraviolet purification technology that is being dispatched to hurricane-ravaged areas of Central America.

Stopping briefly to chat with the press, Richardson told them he visited Berkeley "to pledge my support for science. This is very exciting work."

He concluded his tour at the new Genome Sciences Building, where he was shown highlights of the sequencing program by Life Sciences Division Director Mina Bissell and new technology developed by engineer Joe Jaklevic.

Photos: Secretary of Energy Bill Richards. (XBD9812-03171-01)

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson (right) examined the UV Waterworks purification system devised at Berkeley Lab and now employed throughout the world in areas such as hurricane-ravaged Central America. (XBD9812-03186)


Science Names Accelerating Universe Breakthrough of the Year

By Paul Preuss

Today's issue of Science Magazine (Dec. 18) names as the 1998 Breakthrough of the Year the discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate--a discovery made possible by observational techniques invented and pioneered by the international Supernova Cosmology Project based at Berkeley Lab.

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson announced the Science award yesterday afternoon, Dec. 17, at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Saul Perlmutter of the Physics Division, leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project, was on hand to explain the team's findings.

Richardson said, "This brilliant example of quality research by DOE-supported scientists represents an important advance in our understanding of the universe." He called the work an impressive payback for the country's investment in basic science.

"Just as this work has told us we live in a limitless universe, the quest for answers to life's most fundamental and intriguing questions is similarly limitless."

Berkeley Lab Director Charles Shank said, "We are proud of Berkeley Lab's contributions to this dramatic accomplishment. It was here that the techniques for measuring cosmic expansion were developed and proven. We are also pleased to have been the birthplace of the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, where much of the cosmology project's work has been conducted."

Although astronomers have known since the late 1920s that the universe is expanding, only in January of this year was Perlmutter able to announce the team's findings that there is not enough mass in the cosmos for gravity ever to halt that expansion. In fact, galaxies are flying apart faster than ever, implying the existence of a mysterious, self-repelling property of space called the cosmological constant.

In 1917 Albert Einstein introduced the cosmological constant as an extra term in the equations of General Relativity in order to describe a stable universe--neither contracting under the force of gravity nor expanding. When astronomer Edwin Hubble later established that the universe really is expanding, Einstein retracted his idea, calling it "the biggest blunder of my life."

The Supernova Cosmology Project has established that Einstein's first instincts were in fact correct. The conclusion that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, probably because of the cosmological constant, is based on observations of type Ia supernovae--very bright astronomical "standard candles" that all have the same intrinsic brightness; how bright they appear reveals their distance.

By comparing the distance of these exploding stars with the redshifts of their home galaxies, researchers can calculate how fast the universe was expanding at different times in its history.

Results depend upon observing many type Ia supernovae, both near and far. In the early 1990s the Supernova Cosmology Project team was able to invent a method of producing supernova discoveries "on demand." If identical CCD images of fields of galaxies are taken at three-week intervals, when the moon is dark, any supernovae which appear during that interval reveal themselves while there is still plenty of good observation time left to measure their spectra and redshifts.

With a guaranteed method of finding supernovae, the team was able to obtain time on the world's best telescopes, including the National Science Foundation's four-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, the 10-meter Keck Telescope in Hawaii, which was designed and engineered at Berkeley Lab, and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Employing supercomputer facilities at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) located at Berkeley Lab, the Supernova Cosmology Project has so far fully analyzed 42 out of the more than 80 supernovae it has discovered, with more analysis underway. So far results confirm the announcement made last January: the expansion of the universe is accelerating, probably due to the cosmological constant, which may represent as much as 70 percent of the total mass-energy density of the universe.

Two months after Perlmutter's January announcement, the High-z Supernova Search Team, led by Brian Schmidt of Australia's Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, announced that they had found the same result in their own data. Schmidt's team is also named in Science's Breakthrough of the Year citation.

Meanwhile, the Supernova Cosmology Project continues to find supernovae at a steady pace. In October, among the supernovae that showed up on galactic images made at the Keck Telescope was one that, when its spectrum and the redshift of its home galaxy were confirmed with the Keck and additional measurements were made with the Hubble Space Telescope, proved to be the most distant yet found. The team had found so many supernovae in 1998 that they nicknamed this one Albinoni, to make it easier to distinguish from its fellows.

Floyd E. Bloom, editor-in-chief of Science, has defined a breakthrough as "a rare discovery that profoundly changes the practice or interpretation of science or its implications for society." The new scientific view of the history and fate of the universe, resulting from work pioneered by Berkeley Lab's Supernova Cosmology Project and unimagined by any but a handful of researchers just a year ago, fulfills this definition of breakthrough in every particular--a breakthrough not only for 1998, but for the 20th century.

Current members of the Supernova Cosmology Project include Greg Aldering, Susana Deustua, Sebastien Fabbro, Gerson Goldhaber, Don Groom, Matthew Kim, Rob Knop, Mike Moyer, Peter Nugent, Carl Pennypacker, and Saul Perlmutter of Berkeley Lab; Ariel Goobar in Sweden; Isobel Hook in Germany; Alex Kim in France; Julia Lee in England; and Reynald Pain in France.

For additional information and visuals, see the Supernova Cosmology Project's home page,

Photos: Cover of the Dec. 18 issue of Science, depicting Einstein stunned by the resurrection of his discarded cosmological constant. The discovery that universal expansion is accelerating was made by the Berkeley Lab-based Supernova Cosmology Project.

Above are simulated representations of a recent supernova in the Centaurus A galaxy, prepared by the Supernova Cosmology Project and NERSC's Computer Visualization Laboratory. The image on the left shows how a supernova appears as it brightens. The upper right graph shows how the supernova grows brighter and then fades away; and the bottom right graph shows the supernova's spectrum.


SHARES Campaign Brings Holiday Cheer to Many

By Jon Bashor

Berkeley Lab's annual charitable giving campaign, revamped this year and renamed Berkeley Lab SHARES (Science for Health, Assistance, Resources, Education and Services) raised $59,443 for non-profit agencies, exceeding the campaign's fund-raising goal by nearly 20 percent.

"Because it had been two years since the last Lab campaign, we set a modest goal of $50,000 and are pleased to see that we exceeded our target," said Louise Millard, Conference Services manager and a coordinator of this year's campaign. "We also see the 1998 effort as a stepping stone to higher-profile campaigns in the years to come, in which the Lab, as a member of the community, can contribute even more and have a bigger impact in helping our neighbors. Those on the committee want to thank the many contributors who supported the campaign and made it such a success."

Employees who contributed through SHARES could pick from agencies represented by the United Way of the Bay Area, Earth Share of California, and Combined Health Appeal, as well as from a list of 19 local organizations offering programs which are complementary to the Laboratory's mission. Here is how Lab employees contributed:

Although Berkeley Lab SHARES officially concluded on Nov. 30, employees still wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution can do so by filling out a pledge form and returning it to the Lab's payroll office. For forms and information call Jon Bashor at X5849.

Laboratory Director Charles Shank expressed his appreciation to those who participated in the campaign. "This outpouring of support for our local community and its charitable programs reflects the Laboratory's community spirit," he said. "I want to thank everyone who contributed to this successful effort."


Lab Closes for The Holidays

The Laboratory will shut down for the holidays starting on Thursday, Dec. 24, until Jan. 4. A minimum work force will continue to operate.

If you need to work during the holidays, turn to page 7 for further information and suggestions.

Happy holidays to all!


News Digest


Washington Report

Ten New Members Added to SEAB

Secretary of Energy Richardson has added 10 new members to his Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB), bringing the total membership to 33. SEAB was created in 1990 to replace the Energy Research Advisory Board. SEAB members advise the energy secretary on issues ranging from laboratory operations to the electricity industry. Each member serves a two-year term.

The new additions to SEAB are Denver Mayor Wellington Webb; Richard Alatorre, a Los Angeles city councilman; Andrew Athy, a partner with the Washington law firm of O'Neill, Athy and Casey; Peter Bijur, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Texaco Inc.; Margaret Carde, vice president of the board of directors of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety; Rodney Ellis, a Texas state senator; Lynn Forester, president and chief executive officer of FirstMark Holdings Inc.; Marie-Josee Kravis, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute; Daniel Villanueva, chairman of Bastion Capital Corp.; and Raul Yzaguirre, president of the National Council of La Raza.

Richardson said the additional members will help improve the board's working relationship with him.


DOE Signs MOU with GSA and EPA

DOE has signed a memorandum of understanding with the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to encourage federal employees to purchase "green" products, including energy-efficient technologies and recycled goods.

Under the agreement, DOE, EPA and GSA will cooperate on what the agencies are calling "Planet GSA," which involves buying products with a reduced impact on the environment, promoting the use of efficiency and renewable energy in constructing and remodeling federal buildings, encouraging the use of carpooling, mass transit and "teleworking," and advocating the purchase of "green power" in a competitive electricity market.

DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dan Reicher has said that DOE soon plans to announce a partial list of energy service companies that have been approved to participate in energy saving performance contracts (ESPCs) with the government. ESPCs allow energy service companies to install energy efficient technologies in federal buildings and be repaid from the energy cost savings those technologies generate.--Lynn Yarris


OSHA Representatives to Visit Lab For Pilot Study on External Regulation

In recent years Congress has been considering transferring responsibility for radiation protection and occupational safety and health from the Department of Energy to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), respectively.

Early next month representatives from OSHA will visit Berkeley Lab to conduct a pilot study on external regulation. The first inspection covering radiation issues will take place on Jan. 6, 7 and 8. A second inspection on other occupational health and safety issues will be held on Jan 11, 12 and 13.

OSHA inspectors will be joined by NRC representatives who reviewed Berkeley Lab radiation protection programs earlier this year. Observers from the State of California OSHA office and the Department of Health Services will also be present.

"An important element of the OSHA pilot will be defining the interface region between what will fall under NRC and what will fall under OSHA," said Gary Zeman, the Berkeley Lab radiation control manger. "Our goal is to work under a single regulator with a uniform set of radiation protection standards for all our facilities."

To decide the viability of external regulation, NRC and OSHA need to determine compliance status at DOE sites and the adequacy of their standards to address safety at these facilities. The visit will include:

Activities will include simulated OSHA inspections at various Berkeley Lab facilities, assessment of the level of employee involvement in the Lab's health and safety program, and meetings with various employee representatives. The findings will be included in the final draft of the report of the NRC Pilot at Berkeley Lab, due to be completed by March 1999.

"A key outcome of the OSHA pilot is to enable Berkeley Lab to be one of the first sites to help determine the most appropriate model to transition from DOE self-regulation to oversight practices occurring in the private and public sectors," said Jeffrey Chung, Environment, Health and Safety Division deputy and head of the Field Support Department.

For further information regarding radiation safety contact Gary Zeman at X6626. For other safety issues contact Jeffrey Chung at X5818.


Awards and Honors


Eugene Haller Awarded Materials Sciences Prize

Eugene Haller of Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division is the co-recipient of the 1999 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials presented by the American Physical Society. T.R. Anthony of the G.E. Research and Development Center is the other researcher honored with this prize, which consists of $5000 and a certificate.

Haller was recognized for "innovations in growing diamond and germanium crystals with unprecedented control of chemical and isotopic purity and perfection, and for creative leadership and active participation in worldwide collaborations."

Haller's work with copper-doped germanium was featured in the Sept. 4, 1998 issue of Currents.


Currents Online

The text and photographs of each edition of Currents are published online at You may find a link to Currents on the Lab's home page under the heading "Publications."


Director Shank Distributes Royalty Checks to Lab Inventors

Photo: Director Charles Shank (left) handed out royalty checks to Berkeley Lab inventors during a ceremony held last week in Shank's office. The checks are awarded for inventions developed by Berkeley Lab researchers and licensed through the Technology Transfer Department. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt (XBD9812-03191)


Science News


Runners-Up for Science's Breakthrough of the Year

This is the tenth year the editors of Science have announced their picks for outstanding scientific research, although for some reason, in the beginning they called the award the "Molecule of the Year"--no matter what the scientific field. Luckily a wider perspective prevailed, and researchers no longer have to explain that winners such as last year's Dolly the cloned sheep or this year's accelerating universe are not really molecules.

Science named nine other scientific discoveries as runners up for the 1998 Breakthrough of the Year.

In addition to the outstanding breakthroughs of the past year, the editors of Science have dusted off their crystal ball to propose six research areas liable to produce breakthroughs in the near future: photonic band gap materials and devices, aging, climate change on the millenial scale, carbon sinks and the global carbon budget, bioterrorism, and allergies.


Around the Lab


Berkeley Lab Cray T3E Supercomputer Allocations

By Jon Bashor

Seventeen Berkeley Lab researchers in seven divisions have been awarded a total of 100,000 hours of computing time on the Cray T3E supercomputer in the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

The allocations are for Fiscal Year 1999, and are in addition to the T3E time awarded to scientists at other facilities working on DOE-funded research.

"When the decision was made to move NERSC to Berkeley, the Lab also created a computational science program to make computing resources more available," said NERSC Division Director Horst Simon. "To that end, the Lab helped pay for an upgrade of NERSC's T3E to give Lab scientists access to this powerful tool.

"The good news is that we received requests for nearly three times as many computing hours as we had available. The bad news is that we couldn't completely fulfill all the requests, although we did award time for all 19 proposals."

The following principal investigators were allocated time for their research:

Steven Louie and Marvin Cohen of Materials Sciences received 20,000 hours for "Computation of Materials Properties from First Principles."

Al Thompson of Materials Sciences received 10,000 hours to research "Rapid Reconstruction of Synchrotron-Based Microtomography Data."

Michel Van Hove of Materials Sciences was awarded 10,000 hours for "Application of Genetic Algorithms to Surface Structural Optimization."

John Morris Jr. of Materials Sciences received 8,000 hours for investigating "The Limits of Mechanical Strength."

Chris Ding of NERSC was awarded time for two projects. He received 6,000 hours for "High Performance Implementation of a Regional Climate System Model" and 2,000 hours for "Implementation and Optimization of TOUGH2 on the T3E."

Stephen Holbrook of Physical Biosciences was awarded time for two projects: "Structure and Mechanism of Catalytic RNA (computational methods for phasing crystallographic diffraction data)," which received 5,000 hours, and "Identification of Novel Functional RNA Genes in Genomic DNA Sequences," awarded 2,000 hours.

Jonathan Koomey of Environmental Energy Technologies received 5,000 hours for "Computational Models of Distributed Systems: Organizations and Spatial Economics."

William Lester Jr. of Chemical Sciences was awarded 5,000 hours for "Quantum Monte Carlo for Transition Metal Systems."

Gerald Rubin of the Life Sciences Division received 5,000 hours for the "Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project Computational Analysis of Genomic DNA."

Julian Borrill of NERSC received 4,000 hours for "Electroweak Strings and Baryogenesis."

Roar Kilaas and Michael O'Keefe, both of Materials Sciences, were each awarded 2,000 hours for "Automated Structure Refinement for Atomic Resolution Microscopy."

Sung-Hou Kim of Physical Biosciences received 2,000 hours to study "Structural Biophysics: Large-scale Protein Structure Modeling and Prediction."

Kurt Nihei of Earth Sciences was allocated 2,000 hours for investigating "Seismic Resonance Characterization of Fractured Geologic Structures."

Kathy Yellick of NERSC and UC Berkeley received 2,000 hours to support two projects on "Titanium" and "Sparsity."

Arlon Hunt of Environmental Energy Technologies was allocated 1,000 hours for "Advanced Modeling of Light Scattering from Diesel Exhaust Particles."

Saira Mian of Life Sciences received 1,000 hours for "Protein Modeling And Fold Recognition Using Generative And Discriminative Methods: Hidden Markov Models, Neural Networks and Support Vector Machines."

Requests for allocations were reviewed by an eight-member committee of representatives from NERSC, Life Sciences, Nuclear Science, and Earth Sciences.

Photo: Cray T3E Supercomputer


New Furniture Procurement System to Simplify Purchasing Process

The Lab's Facilities and Procurement Departments are implementing a new, "full services" subcontract with Steelcase, Inc. in order to streamline the furniture purchasing process and provide the Lab with a more cost effective means of furniture acquisition, according to a spokesman for the Facilities Department. The subcontract will take effect on Jan. 4, 1999.

Under the new "turnkey" system, Laboratory employees purchasing furniture will be provided with a one-stop, one point-of-contact service for the entire purchasing process. Services such as space planning, furniture selection, color and material coordination, cost estimates, order entry, status reports, transportation, receiving, inventory, delivery and installation will all be provided by a single source, coordinated by a representative from Steelcase.

"Currently you put in separate work requests to have different people do the planning, inventory, delivery, fabrication, and installation, in addition to issuing a purchase order for the furniture," said Nick Peterson of Facilities. "With the new system there will be no more juggling of multiple contacts. You will get one estimate that covers design, procurement, delivery, assembly and installation of furniture, and there will be no unknowns."

The Steelcase subcontract, provided through its representative, Educational & Institutional Cooperative Services, Inc. (E&I), is based upon a competitive UC systemwide agreement which offers maximum discounts.

All costs will be included in the price quoted for the furniture. The services will be coordinated through the Facilities' Architectural Section and will be initiated by one request to the Lab's Work Request Center, which will forward it to the E&I furniture specialist assigned to Berkeley Lab. This person will provide information on the status of furniture orders and work with the Lab requester to coordinate all aspects of ordering furniture--from design through installation. Product literature, price lists and samples will be provided to the buyer.

The E&I furniture specialist will work with Facilities to coordinate Lab support services, such as electricians to power partitions, ICS to connect phones and computers, and laborers to remove existing items. The cost of these support services will be added to the furniture costs.

In the event the furniture must meet special requirements that cannot be met by the Steelcase, alternate furniture sources will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For questions regarding the new furniture acquisition process, contact Nick Peterson at X6314.


Lab Has New Subcontract for Toxic and Specialty Gases

A new systems subcontract for Laboratory toxic and specialty gases was awarded to Scott Specialty Gases after approval from the Environment, Health and Safety Division.

All toxic and specialty gas requirements may be faxed directly to them. Additionally, the company features an online web-based ordering and electronic payment processing, which will be available to Laboratory customers shortly.

Cost savings, efficiency, convenience, and safety were factors considered by the Facilities, Procurement and EH&S when awarding the subcontract.

Scott Specialty Gases offers a variety of products and services, including pure gases and mixture gases in a variety of cylinder sizes and capacities for all types of industrial, R&D, scientific, and medical applications.

Scott is providing Lab users with direct delivery and pickup of gas cylinders. Also, their computerized cylinder inventory tracking system with bar coding will reduce on-site cylinder inventory, minimize cylinder rental fees, free up storage space, and uphold safety standards.

Every cylinder ships with a Material and Safety Data Sheet describing the safe handling and cautionary notes for the product.

All health hazard gas order requests must be preapproved and signed by Paul Davis of EH&S prior to placing the order. For information regarding safety issues, contact Paul Davis at X4942.

The current Scott Specialty Gas catalogs, ordering form and procedures can be found on the Procurement website at For more information contact Zelma Richardson at X4216.


Computer Corner

Using a Computer Doesn't Have to Hurt

If you find yourself fidgeting to find a comfortable position when working at your computer, notice soreness in your back or shoulders, or have numbness or tingling in your hands, wrists or forearms after stints at the keyboard, it's time to look into your ergonomic options.

The Laboratory offers a range of services, including ergonomic evaluations and training to avoid health problems associated with computer use. According to Barbara Pottgen, who teaches an Ergonomics for Computer Users class at UC Berkeley, many of the problems are preventable or reversible with just minor adjustments to your work area and work habits. Since the problems tend to occur over time, prevention really is the best medicine.

Health problems include muscle tension, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, eyestrain and stress. If you think you are suffering from symptoms arising from computer use, Pottgen urges you to consult with Health Services at X6266.

To avoid these problems in the first place, Pottgen recommends:

At Health Services (Bldg. 26) you can try out ergonomic furniture and accessories, enroll in the chair loaner program, and review related materials. No appointment is needed. The Ergonomics Display Center in Room 1026 is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To enroll in the ergonomics class or to find out more about ergonomics, see html/training.htm. Lab organizations can also arrange to have the class taught onsite for groups of 15 to 25 employees. For more information, contact Susan Aberg at X7366 or [email protected] Bashor


Richardson Names New Science Advisor

During his meeting with Berkeley Lab employees last week, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson introduced Robin Staffin as DOE's new science and technology adviser.

Staffin, a physicist, comes to this new position after serving as deputy assistant secretary for research and development in the Office of Defense Programs.

Staffin's background includes a 12-year stint at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he conducted research in laser physics, optics and fusion. He also served on the staff of the Office of Technology Assessment. In his new position, he will advise Richardson on the relationship between science and resulting technologies.

Office of Science Director Martha Krebs has endorsed this appointment.

"Bill Richardson is a very positive, upbeat person who wants to support scientific activities within DOE," she said. "Having Robin Staffin will help to increase that understanding."

Photo: Robin Staffin, DOE Science and Technology Advisor. Photo by Don Fike


Bulletin Board


Cafeteria Menu Now Online

The cafeteria menu is now available on the web at Make sure to bookmark the site for easy reference. The menus are being updated on a weekly basis.


Payroll Information Mailed Out for Employee Review

An internal mailing is being sent to all Laboratory employees prior to the holiday shutdown showing their current personal information as listed in the HR/Payroll database. Information includes name, address, citizenship status, emergency contact information, and others.

Please take a few moments to review this information and make any corrections as needed. All updates need to be mailed by Friday, Jan. 8, to the Payroll Department, MS 938-A.


Judges Needed for The Science Bowl

Ten Berkeley Lab volunteers are sought to serve as judges for the Science Bowl, to be held at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 20.

An on-site training session will be arranged. If interested contact Marva Wilkins at [email protected] or X5640 before Jan. 15.


Lab Life: In Memoriam

Reymond "Jack" Vandiver

Jack Vandiver, a police officer with Berkeley Lab for 17 years, died in Antioch on Nov. 28. He was 82.

A native of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, he joined the Lab in 1959 and retired in 1976.

Surviving Vandiver and his wife Audrey, who passed away in July, are daughter Carol San Diego, sons David Olon and Donald Lee, and three grandchildren.

Ted Bowers

Ted Bowers, a retired sheet metal worker at Berkeley Lab for almost four decades, died on Nov. 11 of a stroke. He was 76. He was a major contributor to the copper work on the 184-Inch Cyclotron, the Bevatron and the 88-Inch Cyclotron.


Bldg. 80 Deck Dedicated to Tim Renner

Photo: The deck on the west side of Bldg. 80 was dedicated to the late physicist Timothy Renner during a special ceremony held last Monday, Dec. 14. Renner passed away on Nov. 17 (see Currents, Dec. 4). The memorial continued in Perseverance Hall, where Renner's friends and family shared memories. Photo by Don Fike


Many Lab Copiers Going Default Duplex

Starting this week and until the end of the year, the Lab's Canon copiers with duplex capability will have their default setting changed to make double-sided copies from single-sided originals to save energy, paper and money. When single-sided copies are desired, that option can be easily selected from the control panel.

This change is made at this time due to the rebidding of the Lab's main copier contract, which was awarded to the existing vendor, IKON Office Solutions, Inc. Some lab copiers are being replaced with new or refurbished models, making it an opportune time for the change.

For further information look up or contact Bruce Nordman at [email protected], X7089.


Jan. 1 Paycheck Pickup

Employees who wish to pick up their Jan. 1, 1999 paycheck may do so on Thursday Dec. 31, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Mailroom (Bldg. 69-102). Laboratory identification will be required. Checks not picked up that day--along with the deposit advice forms--will be delivered to the usual mail stop on Monday, Jan. 4.


Old Christmas Cards Can Bring Joy After the Holidays

The holidays are over and it is time to reclaim the walls and counters from the Christmas clutter. But don't throw away those beautiful cards. A nonprofit group called All-Year Christmas Cheer is putting them to good use by sending cards to more than 400 schools, missionaries, orphanages, and hospitals all over the world which use them for decoration and in various art and other projects.

A collection bin will be set up at the cafeteria starting Jan. 1. If you package the cards, please mark them "Surface Mail / Printed Matter/ Used Greeting Cards-No Commercial Value." If possible, just send the fronts of cards to save mailing costs, and do not tie your packages with string.


ID Cards Give Access To Bldg. 50 Library

After the middle of January, Bldg. 50 will be equipped with the Proximity card access system, which will give employees access to the library after regular hours and on weekends and holiday. If you do not have an ID Proximity card, stop by the Site Access office on the lower floor of Bldg. 65 to obtain one.


Weight Watchers Series Starts

A new session of Weight Watchers will begin on Tuesday Jan. 5, 1999. The cost is $9.90 a week based on a prepaid series. Weight Watchers meets every Tuesday at noon in Bldg. 26-109.


Currents Online

The full text and photographs of each edition of Currents are published online at You may find a link to Currents on the Lab's home page under the heading "Publications." The site allows users to do searches of past articles going back to 1994.

To set up your computer to access the web, call the Mac and PC Support Group at X4357.


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


December - January

General Interest


Lab will be closed until Jan. 4.


10 a.m.-1 p.m., Bldg. 69-102

January 1999


Noon, Bldg. 26-109


7:30 - 3:30, cafeteria parking lot
11:30 - 12:40, cafeteria parking lot

Items for the calendars may be sent via e-mail to [email protected], faxed to X6641 or mailed to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the Jan. 15 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11.


Seminars & Lectures


"Serendipity and Bioaugmentation: The Strange Story of Pseudomonas Stutzeri KC" will be presented by Craig Criddle of Stanford University.
Noon, Bldg. 50A-5132


"From Micro to Nanoelectronics: Novel Insight into the Microscopic Nature of Electronic States in Semiconductors and Ferromagnets" will be presented by Roland Wiesendanger of the University of Hamburg, Germany.
3 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium

"Solutions of the Haiissinski Equation and a Formulation of the Longitudinal Stability Problem for Electron Storage Rings" will be presented by Bob Warnock of SLAC/MSRI.
10:30 a.m., Bldg. 71 conference room

For the latest information on the Building Energy seminars presented by the Environmental Energy Technologies Division, check the online calendar at: http://eappc76/essem/ESCAL.CFM. The seminars are held Thursdays at noon in Bldg. 90-3148


Next Issue of Currents

This is the last issue of Currents for 1998. The next issue will be published on Jan. 15 in order to give everyone enough time after the holidays to submit items for the Flea Market, Bulletin Board and calendars. The deadline for the calendar is Monday, Jan. 11, and for the Flea Market Friday, Jan. 8. Happy holidays!


EH&S Class Schedule: January 1999


Holiday Shutdown

The Laboratory will be closed for the holidays starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23, until Sunday, Jan. 3, 1999. A minimum work force--including staff in plant operations/maintenance, safety personnel, Fire Department, environmental protection, radiation assessment, animal care, and U.S. Mail--will continue to operate.

All other employees who need to work during this period must have advance approval from their division director. Employees who must work with unsealed radioactive materials must have the intended work reviewed and approved by the Environmental Health and Safety Department one week before the shutdown.

Employees who work during the shutdown period are urged to help save energy by:

Thanks for your cooperation and happy holidays!


Flea Market

Autos / Supplies

`71 VOLVO Station Wagon, custom features, rebuilt engine, 38K mi, new paint, many extras, exc cond, $2,100/b.o., Don, X7972, 527-3037

`83 TOYOTA, long bed pickup, shell, passes smog, has some extras, $1750, Warren, X7964, 531-1726

`95 SATURN, 4 dr, SL2, 33K mi, ac, pwr steering, cruise control, airbags, stereo/cass, full warranty (75K mi), immaculate, $9,500, Ruth, Linda, 527-6823

`97 TOYOTA Tacoma truck, exc cond, 28K mi, 5 spd, ac, pwr steering, am/fm, bedliner, $10,800, Monica, X5694, 886-5451


BERKELEY, 1 bdrm apt, Lincoln/Grant, small but nice, fully furn, quiet neighborhood, parking space incl, avail Jan 1, $750/mo, Carmen, X4368

BERKELEY, Carleton/Grant, nr BART, Berkeley Bowl, Lab shuttle, or 10 min drive to LBNL, newly renovated 2 bdrm apt, ground floor of 2-story Victorian house, sunny southern exposure, frt garden, washer/dryer, custom tile floors, no smoking, no pets, $1,150/mo incl part utils, avail Jan 1, Richard, X6320

OAKLAND HILLS, sunny rm in 5 bdrm villa, 4 bthrms, bayview, hardwood, 2 marble fire places, 3 blks to Rockridge BART, washer/dryer, non smoking house, no pets, $550/mo + util, avail Jan 1, David, 595-0737

SHORT TERM rental, furn, lg 1 bdrm w/ laundry, util incl, nr BART, Denny, X4598


BICYCLE, 10 speed mtn bike, $50, George, X5389, (925) 932-0855

BIKE, Mtn, Trek 800 Sport, sz 22.5", black, bought 1 year ago (new $250), rarely used, exc shape, $200, Erik, X4555

BLADES, Gillette Sensor Excel, 1 unopened, 20 cartridge pack, ($10 retail), 2 used Gillette Sensor Excel Razors (holds cartridges), $1 ea, Jon, X5974

CARDIOGLIDE, good shape, $60; 60x72x12, light oak finished book & TV unit, $60; Warren, X7964, 531-1726

EXERCYCLE, Schwinn, Airdyne in full working cond, incl electronic counter, one of the most durable machines avail, $150, Chris, X7028

FILE CABINET, 2 drawer, unfinished, solid pine, well-constructed, $100, Julie, X2420

MACINTOSH IIsi, 17m ram, 170m hd, system 7.1 w/ keyboard & mouse, no monitor, accelerator, 14.4 US robotics modem, software. $75/b.o., Dave, X7598

MOP SET, heavy-duty, refillable string mop w/ extra heavy duty yellow squeeze bucket, exc cond, $40, Sherry, X6972

SKIS, Snow, Solomon 9100 198cm w/ Marker 54 bindings, never been used (new $800), $250/b.o.; Volkel P10 Pro SL 200cm w/ ESS bindings, $250/b.o.; head Cr X-10 205 cm w/ tyrolia bindings, $125/b.o.; Rossignol Quantom 828 195 cm w/ tyrolia bindings, $100/b.o.; dynamic slalom DP 200cm w/ tyrolia bindings, $100/b.o.; snow ski boots, Raichle, men's size 9, like new, $50/b.o.; men's ski suit, lg, never used, $100/b.o., Steve, X6598, (925) 689-7213

SOFA BED, queen size, 3 seats, creamy white color, good cond, $100, Sherry, X6684, 486-8762 (eves)

SOFTWARE, Eudora Pro e-mail 4.0, $20, George, X5389, (925) 932-0855

SONY 15" MONITOR, PC or MAC, comes w/ MAC adapter, exc cond & resolution, get a huge improvement over a 14" screen for only $125; Harman Kardon HD710 single CD player, $125 (new $250), exc sound; Ohm bookshelf speakers, $65 pair, great sound low price; Olin Racing Comp CRX Skis 190 cm w/ Salomon 647 Bindings $80; Yamaha multi (4) track cassette recorder (used once) MT4X $150; Yamaha tone generator MU5 General Midi, $50, Henry 658-7807

WINE, vintage 1982-1989, Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinot Noir from various wineries, $25-$55; zoom lens, Nikon, AF28-85mm, F3.5-4.5, $200; golf club, taylor-made titanium bubble driver (12 degree, S-90 graphite shaft), 3 wood (15 degree, S-90 graphite shaft), $100 each, Nobu, X4585


BOARD GAMES, Sorry, Jr., Monopoly and others for 6-yr-old, Mary, X6699

CRYOGENIC STORAGE DEWAR for liquid nitrogen storage for LBNL project and diaphragm pump for dry prepumping, Jacob, X4606

HOUSING for visiting scholar, seeking room from 2/11/99 to 3/7/99, Mike X7311, 647-3432, [email protected]

HOUSING IN PARIS, looking for 2 bdrms + bath, kitchen, living rm, furn, quiet, normal amenities Jan. 1 to Feb (approx), FF 7,000-9,000/mo, offer trade in Bay Area (Stanford or UCB), Lowe, X5044, 848-0651, [email protected]

HOUSING for visiting senior scientist & wife from France, non-smokers, seeking 1 or 2 bdrm apt or house in Berkeley area from Feb 1 to May 1, 1999, David, X6028

MAC OS7.5 SOFTWARE, original disks and manual, $20?, John, 849-1051

POWERBOOK for student going off to college, John, X5390


BAHAMAS condo, luxurious, spacious, 1 bdrm in Taino Beach resort, sleeps up to 4, every amenity, on 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 by mo, $450, buy for $55,000, "as is", nr schools, shopping, 1 mi to ocean bluff, Marlene, X6005

TAHOE KEYS at South Lake Tahoe, 3 bdrm, 2 1/2 bth house, fenced yard, quiet area, close to skiing & other attractions, great views of water & mtns, call for details, $150/night (2 night min.), Bob, (925) 376-2211

Lost & Found

NOKIA cellular phone, lost in or around Bldg. 51, old model, service has been stopped, Tanya Eberman, X7259, or mail to Bldg. 26-032


Flea Market Ad Policy

Ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and on-site DOE personnel. Only items of your own personal property may be offered for sale.

Submissions must include name, affiliation, extension, and home telephone number.

Ads must be submitted in writing--via e-mail ([email protected]), fax (X6641), or delivered/ mailed to Bldg. 65B. No ads will be taken by phone.

Ads will run one issue only unless resubmitted in writing. They will be repeated only as space permits.

The deadline for the Jan. 15 issue is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8.


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, [email protected]
Associate editor
Lyn Hunter, 486-4698, [email protected]

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


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