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May 13, 2005
Theory, experiment, abstract questions, concrete applications — there is no hierarchy of prestige or pertinence when it comes to the elements required for meaningful science. This issue of Science@Berkeley Lab looks at surprising convergences that hold out hope for the future.
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Fueling the Future

Because we urgently need to find out how we can use energy without putting carbon into the atmosphere, scientists from many divisions at Berkeley Lab are working together seeking ways to make fuel and electricity directly from sunlight. Ideas and issues were discussed at a recent conference, Solar to Fuel: Future Challenges and Solutions.
  In Series  
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The conclusion of a three-part series on the role of Berkeley Lab researchers in planning for the International Linear Collider, an extraordinary new accelerator. This installment: physics and detectors to explore fundamental particles and forces, from the microworld to the cosmos.
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The world's tiniest electric motor, just 200 nanometers long, has a power density 100 million times greater than a V6 engine. It may someday power nanoscale devices that walk, crawl, swim, or fly to deliver disease-fighting drugs inside the body, sniff out explosives, or perform other, as-yet-unimagined services.
When photons and ions collide, new properties of matter may appear. Photo-ionized carbon-60 molecules show two kinds of collective motion, a "giant resonance" of C-60's valence electrons — one made possible only because a buckyball is a hollow sphere.
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The Big Splash

Apparently the early universe wasn't what scientists expected. At RHIC they recreated conditions a few 10-millionths of a second after the Big Bang, but they didn't find quarks and gluons whizzing around in a gaslike state. Instead they found something more like soup — a strongly coupled, friction-free quark-gluon liquid.
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Testing the Waters

Uptake of atmospheric carbon in ocean waters is increasing, and the need for better measurement is acute. An atmospheric scientist volunteered to spend weeks of sleepless nights aboard a NOAA research vessel in the South Atlantic, testing new instruments designed to be installed on autonomous Carbon Explorer floats.