March 19, 1999

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Coupling decades of research on energy efficiency with the interactivity of the Web, Berkeley Lab has created a new website that can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars per year on their energy bills. The Home Energy Saver website allows consumers to identify which technologies will save them the most energy and money. Answer a set of basic questions about your own house to get a customized set of energy-saving improvements you can make.

A new thumb-sized microscope that uses microwaves but works something like a CD-player has been invented here. Able to measure the electrical impedance of materials with sub-micron resolution, the microscope is of particular interest to the electronics industry. It has applications in any situation in which there is a need to characterize a material's electrical properties as a function of electric or magnetic fields, optical illumination, or temperature variations. The instrument can be used on conductors and insulators as well as semiconductors.

Only about a millionth of a billionth of a meter across and spinning a billion trillion times a second, atomic nuclei have been described as among the giddiest systems in nature. As nuclei spin, the balance of factors is perturbed, and at very high angular momenta nuclei may adopt odd shapes resembling peanuts, bananas, jumping jacks, or sea urchins. Experimenters are exploring these dizzy nuclei with the 8-pi Detector.  Already, researchers have used the detector to explore a new way of studying these unstable nuclei. Typically the nuclei of interest are studied as fragments in the cyclotron beam, meaning they are traveling at high velocity relative to detector, and the resulting spectrum is smeared. To eliminate this smearing, researchers are looking at fragments that remained in the target and decayed in place. See sidebar.


People are curious and they are toolmakers. We tapped these qualities in order to explore an ancient question: "How did the Universe come to be?" To help answer it, we created what you'll see being built in this slide show entitled Back to the Beginning: The Time Projection Chamber.

March 27 Glenn Seaborg Public Memorial at UCB

Glenn Seaborg website

Humor: Y2K Fix

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