Berkeley Lab Science Beat Magazine banner Berkeley Lab logo
November 26, 2003
Image of Bourbon-and-branchwater
Against the laws (of chemistry)

Bourbon-and-branchwater fans be warned. Scientists at the Advanced Light Source using an important new tool for probing the molecular properties of solutions have discovered that alcohol and water cannot completely mix on the microscopic level. There has never been a perfect alcohol-water blend, and there never will be.
Image of a robot scanner
Getting the robot
to do it

Electron microscopy in biological studies yields hundreds of images, each of which must be digitized before it can be analyzed. Working 15 days full time, a person can load and scan 750 images; now engineers and biophysicists have devised a robot scanner that digitizes that many images automatically, without reloading.
  Feature Stories  
Image of energy-efficient buildings
Second in a series on energy-efficient commercial buildings: integrated control of electric lighting and window systems saves electricity automatically as natural light levels increase.

At the National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center, a "virtual supercomputer" tests elements of Cray's hot new Red Storm.

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Image of a Miami seaport
Gamma rays give the secret away

A rapid new detection system has the potential to screen every cargo container entering a United States seaport for fissile material. Irradiating a container's contents with a beam of neutrons and then measuring the emission of high-energy gamma rays provides a unique identifying signature for plutonium or highly enriched uranium.