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Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009


First Full Simulation of Star's Final Hours

The precise conditions inside a white dwarf star in the hours leading up to its explosive end as a Type Ia supernova are one of the mysteries confronting astrophysicists. Now, a team of Lab researchers has created the first full-star simulation of the hours preceding the largest thermonuclear explosions in the universe. The researchers include Ann Almgren, John Bell and Andy Nonaka of the Lab’s Computational Research Division. More> video icon

smootPeople: Smoot Wins One Million Dollars on ‘5th Grader’ Game Show

In what state is Acadia National Park? That was the final question posed to Berkeley Lab Nobelist George Smoot, a contestant on the popular "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" game show last Friday. With ominous music playing in the background and tension filling the air, Smoot vacillated between California and Maine, but finally declared his decision…Maine. It was correct and Smoot became only the second contestant to win one million dollars and the right to say: "Yes, I’m smarter than a 5th grader!" Go here to view a YouTube clip of the final question and ensuing celebration. video icon

Labor Relations: UPTE Plans Strike for Tomorrow; Strawberry Gate Closed to Employees

The University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) union intends to strike tomorrow at all UC locations, including Berkeley Lab. UPTE positions at Berkeley Lab include Research, Electronic, Safety/Health, Telecommunication, and Graphic Arts Technicians, as well as Accelerator Operators, Research Associates, and Photographic Specialists. Those who have UPTE employees working in their division should make contingency plans, should those staff choose not to work. It is not known how many UPTE staff plan to participate in the strike, or if other unions will honor the picket lines. Strawberry Gate will be closed to employees and buses (see article below). For more information, contact your HR Center.

Shuttle Bus: Rerouting Due to Proposed UPTE Strike

Strawberry Gate will be closed to employees and buses tomorrow due to the proposed strike by the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE). Only vendors can use the gate. The Orange bus line will be re-routed through Blackberry Gate. Expect up to 10 minute delays on that line. Call NEXTbus for arrival times (280-1693). The Green route will not be operating. Passengers traveling uphill to the Lab (Bldgs. 62/66, 74) should board at Cory Hall (Hearst and Leroy), not at the East Gate. There will be no boarding at these bus stops on Thursday: East Gate traveling uphill, Centennial Drive/Strawberry Canyon Pool in both directions, and Rimway at Gayley. For more information, contact Bus Services (x4165).

koonenLab Visitor: Undersecretary of Science Steve Koonin

Steve Koonin (pictured on right), DOE’s Under Secretary of Science, visited Berkeley Lab last Thursday and met with Interim Lab Director Paul Alivisatos (left) and Arun Majumdar, the nominee to head DOE’s new ARPA-E agency, among other Lab scientists and managers. After hearing presentations on Lab initiatives in combustion, climate-change science and exoscale imaging, plus a discussion of "Old Town" legacy management, Koonin was taken on a tour of the site that included stops at the Advanced Light Source, the Molecular Foundry and the National Center for Electron Microscopy. He later heard more on batteries, energy efficiency in buildings and solar-based fuels before departing for a tour of the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville.

badgeEH&S: Badge Access to Lab Revoked Without GERT Training

Effective Oct. 1, a new policy will be implemented that links General Employee Radiological Training (GERT) and card-access entrance to the Lab. After that date, employees without valid GERT will have all their badge access authorizations revoked. This includes room, building, and gate access after hours or on weekends. GERT (EHS0470) is available online here. If logging in with an LDAP or badge number, credit should be received within an hour. Those taking GERT with a non-LDAP login and who do not provide an employee badge number will not receive course credit until the EHS Training Group is contacted (x2228, x7603, x7524, or x5271). For more information on this new policy, contact Don Lucas (x7002).

akbariIn The News: Scientists Consider Ways to Cool Down Cities

[ABC 7 News] Berkeley Lab is hosting the International Conference on Countermeasures to Urban Heat Islands, which ends today. Scientists from the Lab and around the world presented papers on the urban heat island effect and climate change, and how to mitigate both through such strategies as cool roofs, white roofs, solar reflective pavements and other cool materials, vegetation, advanced building design and urban planning. More> video icon

Policy: Proposed Change to Catastrophic Leave Sharing

From June 24 through July 24, the Lab had proposed a policy revision to RPM §2.26 (Catastrophic Leave Sharing). The policy revisions proposed at that time included the following changes: (1) redefining the meaning of catastrophic illness or injury, and (2) adding catastrophic casualty loss and catastrophic bereavement loss as additional components for requesting leave donations. In addition, the Lab proposes to change the name of the policy from "Catastrophic Leave Sharing" to "Leave Sharing," and to make the program available to those employees in "good standing." Go here to read the proposed policy. This policy applies to non-represented employees only. Represented employees should contact their union representative or consult their collective bargaining agreement. To comment on this proposed change, contact by Oct. 23.

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