April 6, 2001 Search the Currents Archive
The Oldest, Farthest Type Ia Supernova a Lucky Catch

City Consultant Confirms Safe Emission Levels at Tritium Facility

The Oldest, Farthest Type Ia Supernova a Lucky Catch

Working together, NERSC and the Hubble Space Telescope set an astronomical record

By Paul Preuss

Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Peter Nugent, working with Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute, used an IBM SP supercomputer at NERSC to analyze data from an exploding star that had been caught once on purpose and twice by accident by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Nugent's analysis confirmed that SN 1997ff, with a redshift of 1.7, is the oldest and most distant Type Ia supernova ever seen. Riess and Nugent presented their findings at a press conference held at NASA headquarters in Washington this Monday, April 2, where they discussed the importance of their discovery for cosmology.

"This supernova is consistent with the cosmological model of an accelerating universe, a universe mostly filled with dark energy," Nugent says. "It argues against the notion that observations of distant Type Ia supernovae may be systematically distorted by intervening gray dust or the chemical evolution of the universe."

Supernova 1997ff was discovered in a tiny corner of the Hubble Deep Field of galaxies.

Moreover, says Nugent, "the supernova is so ancient that it allows us to glimpse an era when matter in the universe was still relatively dense and expansion was still slowing under the influence of gravity. More recently the dark energy has begun to predominate and expansion has started to speed up."

The farthest candle

Two international groups of astronomers and physicists - the Supernova Cosmology Project, headquartered at Berkeley Lab and led by Saul Perlmutter of the Physics Department, and the High-Z Supernova Search Team, led by Brian P. Schmidt at the Australian National University - discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe by using Type Ia supernovae as "standard candles" to measure cosmological parameters.

Type Ia spectra and light curves (their rising and falling brightness over time) are all nearly alike, and they are bright enough to be seen at very great distances. With a redshift (or z) of about 1.7, says Nugent, "supernova 1997ff is some 11.3 billion years old - much older and much fainter than the previous record of z equal 1.2, which corresponds to an age of about 9.8 billion years."

He adds that a supernova at redshift 1.7 "is too far away to have been visible from the surface of the Earth. Only a space-based telescope could have found it."

Faint as it is, SN 1997ff is actually brighter than its extreme redshift would suggest. "This drives a stake through the heart of alternatives to the accelerating universe," said University of Chicago cosmologist Michael Turner at the NASA press conference.

Because the theory of the accelerating universe is based on observations that distant supernovae are dimmer and thus farther away than their redshifts might otherwise suggest, some critics had suggested that maybe Type Ia supernovae in the early universe were just dimmer to begin with, or that some form of "gray dust," like a neutral density filter on a camera, filters their light and only makes them seem dim.

But SN 1997ff dates from a time before acceleration, so early that the expansion of the universe was still slowing under the influence of gravity. Instead of being dimmer than expected, it is brighter, an effect that rules out both gray dust filters and the inherent dimness of the most ancient supernovae.

The one that almost got away

SN 1997ff was first found, on purpose, by Ron Gilliland of the Space Telescope Science Institute and Mark Phillips of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, during the last week of December 1997. Gilliland and Phillips turned the Hubble Space Telescope on the same patch of sky recorded in the renowned Hubble Deep Field of typical galaxies, looking for bright spots which, after spurious or doubtful signals had been rigorously eliminated, might prove to be supernovae. They found two good candidates.

Gilliland and Phillips asked Nugent to help them determine what these discoveries implied for the rate at which high-redshift supernovae might occur in the universe as a whole. The three published a report in 1999 suggesting that one of their two candidates, SN 1997ff, was probably a Type Ia with a redshift greater than z = 1.32. Because it had been observed in only one range of frequencies, however, the uncertainties were too great to use the supernova for cosmological estimates.

At high redshifts, much of an astronomical object's characteristic spectrum is shifted into the infrared. Without additional infrared observations, no useful cosmological information could be derived from SN 1997ff, nor could its type be positively identified. It seemed unlikely that anyone had made such observations.

Enter serendipity. Only 25 days after the initial observation, Rodger Thompson of the University of Arizona had begun doing tests of a small portion of the Hubble Deep Field with NICMOS, an instrument aboard the space telescope that makes images in the near infrared. Although Thompson had not been looking for supernovae, many of his images accidentally included SN 1997ff and its host galaxy.

Today's universe is expanding at an accelerating rate because "dark energy" counteracts the force of gravity. In the early universe matter was closer together, and gravity still slowed its expansion.

"Twenty-five days later may seem like a long time, but highly redshifted objects are moving away from us so fast that time dilation is large," Nugent remarks. "At a redshift of 1.7, three and a half weeks in our frame of reference is only about nine days of elapsed time for the supernova itself."

Six months later another set of infrared images of the same region, made by Mark Dickinson of the Space Telescope Science Institute, caught the now greatly faded supernova and its host galaxy once again. Once more, luck had provided a missing piece of the puzzle: by digitally subtracting the new image of the host galaxy from images made when the supernova was bright, Nugent proposed to Dickinson, much of the remaining uncertainty about the supernova and its host could be eliminated.

He had no takers until July of last year, however, when Adam Riess, independently intrigued by the accumulating data, queried Nugent about doing cosmology on an unnamed supernova at a redshift "around 1.65." There was only one such supernova; soon Riess and Nugent were collaborating.

"Adam had the monumental task of reducing the observed NICMOS infrared data," said Nugent, "while I concentrated on comparing the reduced data to known supernovae and various sets of cosmological parameters." By painstakingly eliminating other possibilities, they determined that SN 1997ff was almost certainly a Type Ia supernova at a redshift of 1.7, first seen eight days after it exploded.

"Now we could do the cosmology," Nugent says.

If the luck holds, what comes next?

SN 1997ff supports the model of a universe consisting of about one third matter and ordinary energy and about two thirds "dark energy," which acts to overcome gravity. Most important, says Nugent, SN 1997ff proves that while the most distant supernovae currently cannot be seen from ground telescopes, they can be observed from space - and they can provide vital information about the most basic cosmological questions, including, perhaps, the nature of the dark energy itself.

"The results from SN 1997ff are one of the best arguments for the SNAP satellite," Nugent says. SNAP, for SuperNova/ Acceleration Probe, is a multi-institution, multi-agency proposal led by Saul Perlmutter and Michael Levi of the Lab's Physics Division. It would fly a 2-meter telescope and employ a CCD camera far larger and more sensitive than any previous astronomical imager, especially in the near infrared.

The discovery of SN 1997ff underscores the role of luck in science - although as Michael Turner paraphrased Louis Pasteur, "Serendipity favors the prepared mind;" and it also illustrates the value of cooperation among agencies such as NASA and the Department of Energy.

Not to mention cooperation among rival groups: Peter Nugent is a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project, and Adam Riess is a member of the High-Z Supernova Search Team.

To see the recorded press conference, or for more information about SN 1997ff, visit http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2001/09/live-live.html.

City Consultant Confirms Safe Emission Levels at Tritium Facility

By Ron Kolb

An environmental consultant hired by the City of Berkeley has confirmed what Berkeley Lab has been reporting for years - that radiological emissions from the National Tritium Labeling Facility (NTLF) are well within the federal standards established to protect public health.

Bernd Franke of the German firm IFEU delivered his draft final report on radiological monitoring in a public meeting held in Berkeley on Monday. And among his findings was the bottom-line conclusion: "I found [the Lab's tritium emission] numbers to be reliable and state-of-the-art. There is no evidence to suggest that any individual received a radiation exposure resulting from NTLF emissions which exceeded 10 millirem per year in the years 1998 and 1999."

Those were the two years of data that Franke reviewed, and 10 millirem per year is the maximum allowable airborne public dose set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Berkeley Lab's average annual radiation doses have been less than 2 percent of the EPA's standard.

At one point in the meeting, Franke was asked by a Berkeley citizen whether he would keep his children away from the Lawrence Hall of Science, where the hypothetical maximum tritium exposure would be. "No," the city's consultant replied, "I would let my own kids go. I would not be concerned for the safety of my child."

Franke was hired by the city to address community concerns over past and present radiation exposures at Berkeley Lab, in particular from the NTLF. He concentrated on four areas - exposures from current operations, legacy contamination from past operations, historical exposures, and risk-related questions. On Monday night, before an audience of 125 that included five Berkeley City Council members at the North Berkeley Senior Center, he offered his observations and suggestions.

Also speaking was Owen Hoffman, an environmental consultant and risk specialist from Senes Oak Ridge, Inc., who was hired by the Lab to work with Franke during the review. Hoffman told the audience he always found Lab personnel to be credible and responsive, and he concluded, "This is the lowest dose and risk that I've had in my professional career."

"We are pleased that Mr. Franke verified what we have been saying about our public exposures," said David McGraw, Laboratory Director for Environment, Health and Safety. "We appreciate the care and thoroughness with which IFEU reviewed and commented on our radiological monitoring program. While we might disagree with some of IFEU's conclusions, we respect the objectives of their review."

Franke emphasized the need for improved monitoring and more reliable measurements throughout the evening. He also suggested further study of historic levels of radioactivity at the Lab, which were higher in the 1950s and 1960s when the Bevatron accelerator was operating.

But he said he found little to suggest any immediate health threat to the public.

•   Franke noted that, although the Lab's estimate of tritium inventory lacks precision, "it's more important to monitor what really goes out" to determine emissions. He acknowledged the Lab's purchase of a new calorimeter to improve inventory accuracy.

•   Tritium levels in leaves and trees near the NTLF, he said, are so small that "I don't see any cause for concern." Doses from gamma and neutron radiation are similarly small, he noted.

•   Franke said he was "misunderstood by the media" when he questioned the validity of the Laboratory's analysis of public health impacts of tritium releases in the event of a major fire at the NTLF. The Lab's calculations show that public impacts, even from a catastrophic fire that resulted in the release of the entire inventory of tritium at the NTLF, would be small. Without challenging that result, he said, "The Lab should do a better job of giving proper justification for their conclusion."

McGraw pointed out that the Laboratory is actually delivering on several of Franke's suggestions. For example, the report recommended that the Laboratory's ambient air monitoring program be expanded. McGraw said that the Lab will be adding eight monitoring stations to its present seven, including seven stations located within 300 meters of the NTLF.

The Laboratory also announced in January that it would be removing the hillside emission stack and installing an upgraded exhaust system and a smaller stack on the roof of the NTLF. Franke's report supported this move, adding that "this will likely decrease the impact on off-site locations."

Once the new emission stack is installed later this year, a fire analysis and dose assessment will be performed by an external contractor - an evaluation that Franke also recommended in his report.

Berkeley Lab's Environmental Sampling Project Task Force, a broad-based community group, has been meeting for two years to comment on a tritium sampling plan that would provide data to the EPA for evaluation as a priority cleanup site. At its ninth meeting on March 29, consensus was reached on sampling in several media, some of which started in April. Sampling will continue through the next year as an adjunct to the Lab's ongoing monitoring program.

Information on the task force can be found at http://www.lbl.gov/ehs/tritium/.

Director Shank to Discuss FY 2002 Budget

Laboratory Director Charles Shank has scheduled an "all-hands" meeting for Tuesday, April 24, to discuss the proposed 2002 federal budget for the U.S. Department of Energy and its potential impact on Berkeley Lab. Employees are invited to attend the noon briefing in the Bldg. 50 auditorium. The DOE's budget proposal is scheduled to be released publicly on Monday, April 9.

Washington Report

White House Names New PCAST Head

President George W. Bush has named Floyd Kvamme, a former computer industry executive and venture capitalist, to lead the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). This all-volunteer panel, run out of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), meets periodically to advise the president on scientific policy.

An electrical engineer by training, Kvamme is a partner in the California venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He has also worked for Apple and National Semiconductor. He is the Bush administration's second scientific appointment. Former congressional staff member Richard Russell was chosen last month to be OSTP's chief of staff. The key position of presidential science advisor is still vacant.

NIH to Raise Stipends for Postdocs

Acknowledging that its stipends for postdoctoral and graduate students are too low, the National Institutes of Health plans significant raises over the next five years. NIH is also throwing its weight behind efforts to reduce the maximum length of a postdoc's funding to five years and a grad student's to six years.

These policies are part of the agency's long-awaited response to a report last summer from the National Academy of Sciences calling for changes in how the federal government trains biomedical and behavioral scientists. The report said that institutions should concentrate on improving the quality of training rather than increasing the number of postdocs and grad students it funds, and called for higher stipends and shorter periods of funding for postdocs.

NIH plans to boost stipend levels by 10 to 12 percent a year to $25,000 for graduate students and $45,000 for beginning postdocs. (Current levels are $16,500 and $28,260, respectively.) Annual cost-of-living increases will also be issued. Although NIH funds a minority of students, most universities tie their pay scales to those of the NIH.

NSF Reviewers Find Criteria Too Tough

Three years ago, the National Science Foundation changed the criteria for rating grant proposals. Reviewers were asked to rate on just two criteria: scientific quality and social impact. Even though social impact was defined to include issues such as education and training, diversity, and addressing of national priorities, reviewers apparently found it too tough to render a judgment.

A new report from a panel of management experts commissioned by NSF says that 73 percent of the reviewers don't even bother to rate proposals on their potential social impact. Irate congressional members who have charged the NSF grants process as being an "old boys network" biased against first-time applicants and less prestigious institutions, are now saying that if NSF can't convince them that the peer review system is fair, they will try to remedy the problem themselves.

"We're not achieving our goal," admits Nate Pitts, head of NSF's Office of Integrative Activities, which collects data on NSF's peer review process.

The report was prepared by the National Academy of Public Administration. It concluded that by giving reviewers broad discretion on how to apply each criterion, NSF "essentially gives reviewers license to not apply [the social impact criterion] at all."

Tunisian Students Receive Special Greeting at the ALS

As part of the Lab's commitment to educational outreach, Tunisian students from Ecole Polytechnique de Tunisie toured the ALS as part of a week-long trip in which they visited scientific institutions throughout California. ALS Director Daniel Chemla (just right of center, white shirt), who was born in Tunisia himself, greeted the students in French and was pleased to discover that several of them had attended his own high school alma mater.

While touring the facility, the students were caught on film by a crew from KRON-TV's Bay Area Backroads. (See next issue of Currents for more on the show.)

AMANDA Announces its First High Energy Neutrinos

By Paul Preuss

The hunt for cosmic neutrinos is made possible by detectors buried deep in the Antarctic ice. To implant the detectors, hot water is forced through a nozzle to melt a two-kilometer-deep shaft.
A paper in the March 22 issue of the journal Nature, signed by dozens of physicists and astronomers from institutions around the world - many of them from Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley - reported the first high-energy neutrinos detected by AMANDA, the neutrino telescope implanted beneath the ice at the South Pole.

AMANDA was designed to detect neutrinos originating from the far reaches of the cosmos. It aims downward, using the entire Earth to filter out other particles originating in the northern sky. The first neutrinos reported by AMANDA, while energetic, are not of cosmic origin but instead result from the collision of cosmic rays with the northern atmosphere.

The sources of cosmic neutrinos are uncertain, although the prime suspects include supernovae, gamma-ray bursters, matter-eating black holes at the hearts of active galaxies, and other powerful phenomena.

When an energetic neutrino interacts with the polar ice, a muon is emitted which leaves a trail of blue Cerenkov radiation visible by optical modules suspended more than a kilometer beneath the surface. The direction of the muon track allows the path of the neutrino that created it to be reconstructed.

The eventual goal of the neutrino telescope is to track neutrino paths back to their points of origin in the sky. To this end, thousands of detectors distributed in a cubic kilometer of ice will be needed. AMANDA is only the beginning of the proposed IceCube, but its unambiguous detection of energetic neutrinos conclusively demonstrates that a neutrino telescope designed to do astrophysics will work.

For more about neutrino hunting at the South Pole, visit the web at http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/neutrino-dom.html.

Logan Named Heavy Ion Fusion VNL Director

B. Grant Logan of Livermore National Lab (LLNL), was recently named director of the Heavy Ion Fusion Virtual National Laboratory (VNL), succeeding Roger O. Bangerter, who has retired. Grant will be located at Berkeley Lab.

A collaboration between Berkeley Lab, LLNL and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, VNL was founded last year to advance heavy ion fusion research by engaging the combined scientific expertise and experimental facilities of the three labs.

Grant has worked in all parts of the US fusion program, including both magnetic mirrors and tokamaks in LLNL's magnetic fusion energy program. He received DOE's prestigious E. O. Lawrence Award in 1980 for his co-invention of the tandem mirror. He joined the Laser Directorate at LLNL in 1992, working in support of the laser National Ignition Facility and on both heavy-ion and laser IFE. In 1999 he received the Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award.

Earth Month

Energy Awareness
April 2001

April 12 — Berkeley lab ECO Fair

Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cafeteria Lawn
Compact fluorescent light bulbs will be given out
The Green Team will be handing out plant seeds and free mini trash cans for your desk
Bring your bike for a free tune-up

April 17 — Beach Cleanup

Help clean up the Berkeley Marina beach
Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Meet at Building 65 Bus Stop
Wear comfortable clothing and bring your lunch
Limit of 25 – sign up with Shelly Worsham (x6123)

April 21 — City of Berkeley Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Civic Center Park
For more information check this web site: http://www.bayareaearthday.net

April 24 — Richmond Recycling

See where your paper and other recyclables are taken
Tuesday 11:20 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Meet at Bldg. 65 Bus Stop
Wear comfortable shoes and bring your lunch

April 28 —Berkeley Bay Festival

Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Berkeley Marina
For more information check this web site: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/parks/marina/marinaexp/bayfest1.htm

April 29 — Contra Costa County Earth Day

Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Concord Pavilion
For more information check their web site: http://www.ccearthday.org

April 30 — Congeneration Plant Tour

See how UC Berkeley generates energy and steam heat
Monday, 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Meet at Bldg. 65 Bus Stop
Wear comfortable shoes and bring your lunch
Limit of 13 — sign up with Shelly Worsham (x6123)

Lab's Virtual Frog Project Honored as DOE "Featured Site"

By Monica Friedlander


"Gee, thanks, I don't have to cut up a frog" is the typical comment Bill Johnston gets from students from around the world who visit the famous virtual frog site that he and colleague David Robertson developed back in 1994. The site jump-started a virtual frog trend on the web, but the Lab's Whole Frog Project was the first interactive 3D website of its kind. Seven years later, the site still gets a million hits a year from over 100 countries, has amassed scores of awards, is posted on many K-12 educational sites, and was even featured once in the "Frog Stuff" category on Jeopardy.

Last month, the Whole Frog (http://www.itg.lbl.gov/Frog/) was selected by the Department of Energy's Web Council as DOE's Featured Site. "Each month new sites are selected by the council to represent the best of the department on the World Wide Web," said Howard Landon of the DOE. "Featured Sites are selected based on their ability to provide the public with valuable content in a user-friendly format."

The site, used mostly by schools to help students study biology, was started as an experiment.

"We wanted to see if we could use the Lab's capability in medical imaging, computer science and 3D graphics to put up a library of three-dimensional, anato-mically accurate renderings of critters."

The project was a collaboration between Johnston's group and Thomas Budinger's Center for Functional Imaging.

The site's most popular part is the interactive dissection kit. Users can pick any section of the frog - skeleton, organs, digestive or nervous system - and manipulate it in 3D. In effect, you can see the frog inside out without having to dip your hands or any critter parts into formaldehyde.

"It turns out that you can't do an MRI of a frog, which is what we originally wanted to do," Johnston explains. "They have iron in their skin which disrupts the MRI process. So we had to slice it mechanically and photograph the slices to produce the sort of images you would usually get from a tomographic reconstruction."

To create the graphics, a UC biology student outlined the frog organs on sequential images and stacked them to get 3D images. This process, Johnston said, is roughly the same as the one used by radiologists to get information from tomographic images for medical purposes.

Instead of working with a stack of X-ray film, however, Robertson used the organ outlines as input to a 3D computer graphics program to produce the web images. Every image is calculated on demand as a result of the user interaction. "The images on the screen do not exist until someone clicks on an organ or a rotation knob," Johnson says. "Many people ask if they have the frog images on a CD-ROM, and the answer is no, because the images are computed on the fly." There is not a library of 3D frog images.

The National Library of Medicine has used a similar approach recently to create a "Visible Human" anatomy project website (http://anatline.nlm.nih.gov).

The frog site has been enhanced over years to make its interface more user-friendly, but the basic concept has remained unchanged. Visitors from 170 countries and 110,000 websites manipulate Berkeley Lab's virtual frogs, and the site has been translated into seven languages (Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Czech, Italian, and Portuguese).

Over the years, the Whole Frog has been listed on major education sites such as the BBC Online Education Web Guide and Educating.net, and was chosen as a top website by the editors of PC Computing and PC Magazine.

Meanwhile, Johnston continues to receive e-mail from around the world. Sometimes, he says, when the server is temporarily down, teachers mail him frantically. "We have class in two hours, help!"

That's when you know you really have something good going.

Maximum Annual Contribution to 403(b) Plan

The Tax Deferred 403(b) Plan allows Lab employees (with the exception of students who work fewer than 20 hours a week) the option to save for retirement and enjoy tax deferral on these contributions and earnings until they withdraw the funds. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) limits the amount an individual can contribute each year to a tax-deferred retirement savings plan and imposes penalties for over-contributing. This limit is referred to as the Maximum Annual Contribution (MAC). The payroll system will automatically stop an employee's 403(b) contribution when it reaches the employee's MAC.

The Maximum Annual Contribution is the lowest of the following three limits:

1.  The Tax Reform Act Limit (TRA), which is $10,500 for the year 2001

2.  The IRC 415 Limit, which is 25 percent of the employee's adjusted gross salary, which is projected from January payroll records minus the annual Defined Contribution deductions

3.  The estimated Maximum Exclusion Allowance (MEA), a complex calculation that takes into account an employee's lifetime contributions to the 403(b) plan and the value of their future retirement benefit.

The University of California automatically calulates the MAC for all eligible employees on payroll in January 2001.

The week of March 19, UC mailed a 2001 Statement of Maximum Annual Contribution to all employees participating in the 403(b) Tax Deferred Savings Plan. The information will be transmitted to the LBNL payroll system and should be reflected on employees' paychecks/payroll advice on or about April 1. In late spring a MAC statement will also be mailed to all eligible employees who are not currently contributing to the 403(b) plan. Employees with a Benefits PIN will also be able to obtain their 2001 MAC from the UC Bencom website by April (http://www.ucop.edu/bencom/, click on the penny labeled "Begin/Change Plan Contributions"). Employees may also call Bencom.fone at (800) 888-8267 to request their 2001 MAC amount.

Detailed information about the 2001 MAC is available on the Tax Deferred 403(b) Plan Maximum Annual Contribution factsheet, which may be obtained from the Benefits Office at X6403.

Think your 2001 MAC is too low?

If so, you may be able to increase your limit - if certain conditions apply. The first step is to request a copy of the data used to calculate your MAC (your MAC Calculation and Data Explanation) by calling Bencom.fone at (800) 888-8267. Review the data elements and compare the three limits described above to determine if one of the following apply:

1. One or more of the data elements is incorrect. (For example, the data elements show your percent time worked as 50 percent and you are a full-time employee.)

2. The TRA of $10,500 is the lowest of the three limits. If you have 15 or more full years of UC employment you may be eligible for the "Catch-up Provision" to increase your MAC by a maximum of $3,000 for up to five years, for an additional $15,000. If you used the Catch-up Provision to increase your MAC in 2000 and are eligible to use it again in 2001, you will receive a reminder from the Benefits office to reelect this option.

3. The IRC 415 Limit or the Maximum Exclusion Allowance (MEA) is the lowest of the three calculations. You can request that one of three Alternative Contribution Limits be used instead. These limits are mutually exclusive - once you elect an alternative limit you may never elect a different one. You can, however, always revert to the MAC that is automatically calculated for you each year.

If you used an Alternative Contribution Limit for 2000, an Alternative Election Limit worksheet and an election form for 2001 was mailed to you in late March. The worksheet and election form must be returned to the UC Benefits Office in Oakland by June 1 to avoid the replacement of your 2000 Alternative Election Limit with your University calculated MAC. The University calculated MAC may be lower than your 200 Alternative Election Limit and may cause your 403(b) contributions to stop.

Please note that unless you are eligible for the Catch-up Provision, your MAC will not exceed the TRA Limit of $10,500.

If you need assistance with any of the options above, contact the Benefits office at X6403.

Estate Planning Information Session

On April 11, the Benefits Department and Fidelity Investments will present an information session on the topic of estate planning - a lifelong process that involves evaluating one's financial situation and planning for the future. It includes planning for retirement, as well as for the possibility of disability or death. A wide range of legal, financial, emotional and logistical issues need to be considered.

Although it is unpleasant to think about catastrophic events, advance planning is a way to show concern for loved ones and to reduce distress in the future. A properly designed estate plan will assure your family's welfare and the education of your children.

To help employees design an estate plan, Benefits brings Fidelity's vice president of estate planning to speak at Berkeley Lab. The event will be held at noon on Wednesday, April 11 in the Bldg. 66 auditorium.

Bulletin Board

Preparing for an Emergency: Be Safe, Not Sorry

Photo: drill.tiff

As part of the Lab's regularly-scheduled drills and excercises orgnized by the emergency preparedness program, an accidental spill of Californium 249 was simlulated on March 28 in Bldg. 88. Student "victim" Joshua Patton receives help from radiation technician Shawn Ramussen (left panel). He is assisted by LBNL firefighters Maureen Noon, Gary Dunbar, Les Sockhart, Simon Andrade, Mike Berejkoff, and fire chief Stacy Cox (standing).

In Memoriam

Warren Chupp

Lab retiree Warren Chupp of Oakland, a veteran of the Manhattan Project under the guidance of Ernest Lawrence, died on Feb. 25 at the age of 80.

He began his career at what was then known as the Lawrence Radiation Lab as a UC Berkeley graduate student in high energy physics. In 1979 he moved to the Accelerator Group, where he continued his research until suffering a stroke in 1998.

"He never acted like a physicist," jokes Jerry Stoker of Electrical Engineering, who was matrixed to work with Chupp. "He loved to get his hands dirty at the workbench or lathe. He could fix anything."

Chupp was a devoted family who will also be remembered for his warm friendship.

"He was always there to give support to his friends," says Stoker. "He was a good friend to me and he will be greatly missed."

Chupp is survived by his wife of 55 years, Maria Claudio Chupp; his children Ernest Chupp and Camille Reed; brothers Edward and Norman Chupp; and five grandchildren, eight nephews and seven nieces.

A memorial service was held on March 30. Chupp was laid to rest at St. Joseph's Cemetery in San Pablo. Memorial gifts may be made to the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, 3509 Coffee Road, Modesto, CA 95355 or to Creighton Prep, Attn: Warren Chupp Science Memorial, 7400 Western Ave., Omaha, NE 68114.

Peggy Patterson

Peggy Pracht Patterson, who has worked at Berkeley Lab for over 20 years, died on March 25 of breast and lung cancer. She was 53.

Patterson worked for Lab directors Sessler, Shirley and Shank before moving to the Facilities Department. Over the last few years she worked for Seagate Technologies. Both her father, Loren Pracht, and her son worked at the Lab.

She is survived by her son, John Yeandle, her mother Evangeline, sisters Donna and Linda, and her partner Bruce Bagnoli. The burial was held on March 30 in Hayward, and a memorial service was held the following day in Fairfax.

Donations may be made to the Boy Scouts of America, Tres Ranchos District, 1001 Davis Street, San Leandro, or the American Lung Association.

Open Enrollment for CalPERS Long-Term Care Plan

The open enrollment period for the CalPERS Long-Term Care (LTC) plans began on April 1 and runs through June 30. LTC refers to the extended care needed due to chronic illness, injury, or frailties of old age that one would typically receive either at home - from a nurse, home health aide, or family member - or in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or adult day care center.

A representative from CalPERS LTC will give a seminar on Wednesday, April 18, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in the Bldg. 66 auditorium.

The program provides comprehensive coverage at a reasonable cost and is tax qualified. All Lab employees, retirees, spouses, parents, and parents-in law, as well as UCRS members, are eligible to apply.

For more information and application materials, call (800) 338-2244 or look up http://www.calpers.ca.gov/longtermcare/.

For a copy of the pamphlet send an e-mail to the [email protected], or call the Benefits Office at X6403.

Spring Drive to Save Lives

A two-day Spring Blood Drive, part of an ongoing partnership between Berkeley Lab and the American Red Cross Blood Services, will be held Wednesday, April 18 (7 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Thursday, April 19 (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) in Bldg. 70A, Room 3377. Donors are encouraged to schedule appointments by signing up online at the BeADonor website (www.beadonor.com). Use company/ group code "LBL" on the web form.

To be eligible, donors must be in good health, at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the last 56 days. Additional eligibility information can be found on the BeADonor website. For more information contact Charlotte Bochra at X4268.

Free Recital Tickets

Four Seasons Concerts offers Lab employees the opportunity to hear the acclaimed Belgian pianist Jeanne Stark-Iochmans for free in a solo recital on April 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Theater in Oakland. Employees may reserve two complimentary tickets by e-mailing [email protected] or faxing 601-6183 no later than April 16. Provide your name, address, and telephone number. Tickets will be held at box office.

Still Time to Order LANA's Tamales

The Latino and Native American Association (LANA) is still taking orders for its first Tamale Fundraiser, to be held at noon, April 11, in the cafeteria lobby. The deadline for placing orders is Friday, April 6.

The price is $1.25 each or $14 for a dozen, and there is a choice of chicken, pork or vegetable tamales. To order, e-mail LANA at [email protected] or call X2828. Special delivery for large orders is available.

Proceeds will go toward the building of a LANA mural area near Bldg. 90, recognizing the accomplishments of Latinos and Native Americans. Additionally, money will go towards a scholarship fund for disadvantaged Latino and Native American students.


General Interest


8:30 a.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium


11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Bldg. 90-3148

Noon, cafeteria lobby; call X2828 to place your order.


11 a.m. - 2 p.m., cafeteria lawn


11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Berkeley Marina, meet at Bldg. 56 bus stop


7 a.m. - 1 p.m., Bldg. 70A-3377

12 - 1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium


8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Bldg. 70A-3377

7:30 a.m - 3:30 p.m., cafeteria parking lot

Send us your announcements

Announcements for the General Calendar and Bulletin Board page may be sent to [email protected] lbl.gov. Seminar & Lectures items may be mailed to [email protected] You may also fax items to X6641 or mail them to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the April 20 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, April 16.

Seminars & Lectures


Sub-mm Tests of the Gravitational Gauss Law: A Search for "Large" Extra Dimensions
Speaker: Eric Adelberger, University of Washington
4:30 p.m., 1 Le Conte Hall


TGF-beta Signaling and Embryonic Angiogenesis
Speaker: Robert J. Lechleider, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4 p.m., Bldg 84, Room 318

Energy Efficiency Standards: The Importance of the Load Factor
Assessment from an Energy Saving Point of View
Speaker: Norma Anglani, Energy Efficiency Standards Group, EETD
Noon, Bldg. 90, Room 3148


The DOE Efficiency Standards Stakeholder Process: An Approach to Resolving Conflicting Interests in the Making of Public Policy
Speakers: Peter Biermayer, Jim Lutz, and James McMahan, EETD
Noon, Bldg. 90, Room 3148


Easing California's Electricity Shortage with Buildings That Respond to Real Time Prices
Speaker: Arthur Rosenfeld, California Energy Commission
4:30 p.m., 1 Le Conte Hall


Complex Cellular Responses to DNA Damaging Agents
Speaker: Leona D. Samson, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard
4 p.m., Bldg 66 auditorium


The Sacred Depths of Nature
Speaker: Fred Begay, Los Alamos National Laboratory
11 a.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium


B Physics sans 2Beta
Speaker: Zoltan Ligeti, Physics Division
4 p.m., Bldg. 50A-5132

Easing California's Electricity Shortage with Buildings That Respond to Real Time Prices

• Physics Department Colloquium, April 16
• ERG Annual Lecture, April 19

Arthur H. Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission, will discuss short- and long-term strategies to make buildings more energy efficient and price responsive without sacrificing comfort. His suggestions were recently described in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Rosenberg will discuss this timely issue at a Physics Department Colloquium (4:30 p.m., 1 Le Conte Hall) and at a lecture of UC Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group (ERG) to be held at 6 p.m. in the Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center.

The lectures will examine ways to curtail electricity use in buildings through the implementation of simple and unobtrusive conservation measures.

Rosenfeld was the founder and director of the Lab's Center for Building Science from 1975 to 1994. He developed solid-state ballasts for fluorescent lamps and low-emissivity windows, and served as senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy's assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Last year he was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to the California Energy Commission. He is the author of four best-selling books, three of them on topics related to energy efficiency.

Bioethics, Human Cloning, and the New Biotechnologies of the 21st Century

Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy, London
Noon, Tuesday, April 17, Bldg. 70A-3377

Ethical issues in the era of cloning and other biotechnologies will be the subject of a lecture by Nigel M. de S. Cameron. The head of the Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy in London, he also chairs the International advisory board for the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Bannockburn. He has written widely on issues of bioethics and was the founding editor of the international journal Ethics and Medicine as well as the author of The New Medicine: Life and Death After Hippocrates (1992). He has appeared on many television shows and testified at congressional hearings on human cloning.


Flea Market

Autos / Supplies

'94 MAZDA 626LX, V6, 4 dr, 5 spd, 78K mi, ac, abs, all pwr, am/ fm/cass, very good cond, $6,000/ bo, Kerri, 741-8949

'93 VW JETTA 3 GL, 104K mi, 5 spd manl, pwr steer/locks, am/fm/ cass, sunroof, silver, exc cond, all maint records, $5,300/bo, Clare, X5733, (415)239-6076

'93 MAZDA 323 2 dr hatch, red, 103K mi, reasonable cond, $1,500/ bo, Avril, X4098, David, X4868

'91 CHEVY S-10 pickup, orig owner, 92K mi, 2.8 V-6, tarp, hitch, ac, radio/cass, Aaron, 520-5208

'89 PEUGEOT 405 Mi16, 50K mi, good shape, runs great, passed smog 1/26, 5 spd, leather, moonrf, new clutch, new rear brakes, pics at http://annwm.lbl.gov/peugeot, $2,750, Charles, X2930, 883-9118

'85 WESTFALIA CAMPER VAN, built-in stove, sink, fridge, sleeps 4, 19 mpg, new heads, water pump, catalytic converter, tires & int exc, 136K mi, 50K on rebuild, 130 psi compression on all cyl, runs strong, $5,900/bo, Donn, X4162, (415) 499-8999

'84 VW RABBIT Diesel, exc cond, premium wheels/tires, am/fm/cass, Recaro seat, $1,500/bo, Dick, X6204, 528-0112


'99 SUZUKI SV650X V-twin, blue, showroom cond, low mileage, adult owned, street only, $5,200/bo, Rich, X7031days, (925) 689-1714 eves 5-10 pm

'82 YAMAHA 400 Special II, 15K mi, runs great, dependable, saddle bags, luggage bar/net, kick/ electric start, owner & service manuals, pics at http://home.pacbell.net/sablair/cycle1.jpg & cycle2.jpg, $750, Steve, X5927, (925) 254-2402


ALBANY studio apt, clean, garden view, bed, no pets/smoking, walk to bus, BART, shopping, $850/mo+utils, John, X5524

NORTH BERKELEY room avail in small B&B, short term stay 1-6 mos, walk to shuttles, Helen, 527-3252

NORTH BERKELEY, 1627 Bonita Ave, lge 2 bdrm/1 bth on second floor of triplex, quiet residential street, 1200 sq ft, fridge, stove/ oven, dw, free w&d, new carpets, modern design, w/in walking dist of campus, BART, bus & markets, offstreet reserved parking, avail from 4/1, initial lease until 7/31, subsequent extension neg, no pets/smoking, $2,100/mo + utils & garbage, 2 months rent security dep, Vinay or Nandini Singh, 647-5027, 643-1531, [email protected] home.com

ROCKRIDGE AREA, room in house, 10 min walk to LBNL shuttle bus, priv bath, nice view over bay, very quiet, $695/mo, Mrs. Wilcox, 655-2534

Housing Wanted

VISITING POSTDOC from Italy seeks furn room for 3-4 mos start June, pref close to shuttle line, Michela, [email protected], Brionna, X7689

VISITING PROFESSOR & WIFE looking for sabbatical home, approx 6/01-8/02, pref in between Berkeley & Livermore, [email protected] uiuc.edu, Mike, X2231

VISITING SCHOLAR from Russia seeks room near Lab for 2 mos beginning 4/12, Alex, X7533

Misc Items For Sale

APPLE STUDIO DISPLAY, brand new & never used, 15" flat panel monitor for G4, very nice, must be purchased w/ valid Lab project number for Lab use only, Madeline, X6246

BOAT, 17' Glasspar Runabout, 70 hp Johnson outboard, great for bay fishing, $1,500, Diana, X6444

CHAISE LOUNGE, stylish and contemp, photo avail, $200 ($950 retail), Barbara, X4589, 1 to 5 pm, 652-7044

DESKTOP PC, Pentium processor, 32 MB RAM, Mitsumi CD-ROM, 14'' CM-1430 Seiko Instruments monitor, $200, Jacek, X6254

EXERCISE BENCH, multi-purpose incline, incl bench press, leg lift, arm & shoulder weights, older model, new & in box, $75, Ron, (925) 837-3914

FUTON, queen size in very good cond, oak frame, lt brown w/ navy abstract print cover, $50, Carol, X6307, 528-5333

LINCOLN AC welder, 25-225 amp output - stinger, ground, AC lines fitted w/ plugs, incl misc, Rod & welder's mask, $150, Gary, X7530

SEARS Kenmore fridge, 20 cu ft, white, exc cond, 2.5 yrs old, top freezer, paid $900, asking $300, Steve, X7685, (925) 516-7260

SHARP 20" color TV, $90; Sharp VCR, $40; Aiwa cd/stereo mini system, $75; Panasonic 900mHtz cordless answering system, $75, all items in exc cond, Clare, X5733, (415) 239-6076

TOOLS, air compressor, portable 110V Sears Craftsman direct drive, 20 gal tank, exc cond, $150, Rich, X7031days, (925) 689-1714 eves 5-10 pm


MALE CHOW mixed w/ shephard, 1 yr in April, beige body, med size w/ exact chow features except for the black tongue, fluffy fur & curly tail, good watch/yard dog, I don't have enough time to spend w/ him and he needs a loving owner who has more time, Parish, X4464, 393-4133


KIHEI, MAUI, 1 bdrm condo, across the street from Kam 2 beach (best beach on Maui), fully equipped, view the ocean & Haleakela, $400/wk, Fred 981-2073 days, 523-4150 eves

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, spacious chalet in Tyrol area, close to Heavenly, fully furn, peek of the lake from the front porch, sleeps 8+, sunny deck, pool & spa in club house, close to casinos & other attractions, $150/day, Angela, X7712, Pat/Maria, 724-9450

TAHOE KEYS at S. Lake Tahoe, 3 bdrm house, 2-1/2 bth, fenced yrd, quiet, sunny, close to attractions, priv dock, great view, $175/ night, 2 night min, Bob, (925) 376-2211

Lost & Found

FOUND: motorcycle helmet near Lab, Mike, X5143


FAIRFIELD carpool, driver(s) wanted to share driving w/ other Lab commuters, work hours from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Marcella, X6304

Flea Market Policy

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

Submissions must include name, affiliation, extension, and home phone number. Ads must be submitted in writing via e-mail ([email protected]), fax (X6641), or delivered/mailed to Bldg. 65B.

Ads run one week only unless resubmitted, and are repeated only as space permits. They may not be retracted once submitted for publication.

The deadline for the April 20 issue Thursday, April 12.