|January 10, 2003|
The best rookie year ever for a supernova search
By Paul Preuss
Last Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the 201st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, the Nearby Supernova Factory (SNfactory) based at Berkeley Lab announced that it had discovered 34 supernovae during its first year of operation — all but two of them in the last four months alone.
“This is the best performance ever for a ‘rookie’ supernova search,” said Greg Aldering of the Lab’s Physics Division, principal investigator of the SNfactory. “We have shown we can discover supernovae at the rate of nine a month, a rate other searches have reached only after years of trying.”
The SNfactory’s goal is to find and examine up to 600 nearby Type Ia supernovae, many more than have been studied so far. Knowing more about nearby supernovae will help scientists put observations of very distant supernovae to better use in understanding the history of the universe — particularly the mysterious dark energy that is causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate.
A torrent of data
Aldering credits the SNfactory’s remarkable discovery rate to “data pipeline” software developed by Michael Wood-Vasey of the Physics Division. The pipeline fills with up to 50 billion bytes of data a night from wide-field cameras built and operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Near Earth Asteroid Tracking program (NEAT). NEAT uses remote telescopes at Mount Palomar Observatory in Southern California and at the U.S. Air Force’s Maui Space Surveillance System on Mount Haleakala.
With the help of Palomar officials and Hans-Werner Braun of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the SNfactory was able to establish a custom-built, high-speed link with Mount Palomar through the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network.
Existing links to SDSC and to Maui complete the connection to the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab. “The SNfactory owes much of its success to NERSC’s ability to store and process the vast amounts of data that flow in virtually every night,” says Aldering.
“NEAT sends us images of about 500 square degrees of the sky each night,” Wood-Vasey explains. “The software we’ve developed automatically archives these at NERSC and notifies NEAT, which is one of the services we provide in exchange for the use of their images.”
Catch an exploding star
A decade ago, the Berkeley-Lab-based Supernova Cosmology Project developed the technique of finding very distant supernovae “on demand,” by systematically searching the same patches of sky at intervals, then subtracting the images from one another. Any bright spots left over, once spurious signals had been eliminated, were supernova candidates.
The Nearby Supernova Factory employs a similar method, using images generated by NEAT. NEAT’s primary mission is to discover and track asteroids and comets, especially those that could pose a threat to Earth. While its automated telescopes search the solar system, they incidentally image many thousands of galaxies. The telescopes revisit the same regions roughly every six days during a typical 18-day observing period; when a supernova appears in one of those galaxies, the SNfactory can find it.
“The subtraction software must sift through billions of objects. It does well, but as always the challenge is getting it to work all the time,” says Wood-Vasey.
At present, because the SNfactory is still in its prototype phase, supernova candidates must be confirmed by human eye; undergraduates at UC Berkeley have been trained to pick out the real supernovae. “The better the subtraction software performs,” Wood-Vasey says, “the more time our dedicated undergraduates will have for more interesting supernova studies.”
Standard candles to light the universe
Astronomers and physicists depend on distant Type Ia supernovae as “standard candles” to study the ancient universe because of their exceeding brightness and remarkably similar optical characteristics. A few dozen distant Type Ia’s were enough to reveal that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, which the Supernova Cosmology Project announced and the competing High-Z Supernova Search Team confirmed in 1998.
At present, astronomers can determine the distance to a well-studied Type Ia supernova with an accuracy of five percent, an accuracy the SNfactory expects to improve. “Our motive is to establish a much better sample of nearby Type Ia supernovae, against which the brightness of distant supernovae can be compared to obtain relative distances,” says Aldering.
What researchers want to measure, says Aldering, also includes “the intrinsic colors of a Type Ia at every stage, so we’ll know the effects of intervening dust. And we want to know what difference the ‘metallicity’ of the home galaxy makes — that is, the presence of elements heavier than helium.”
The NEAT search strategy has distinct advantages for finding the nearby supernovae of most interest, Aldering says. “It’s a blind search. It doesn’t target specific galaxies but looks at whatever galaxies happen to be in an image.”
At 40 galaxies per image, these are more likely to include metal-poor galaxies overlooked by other nearby supernova searches and galaxies “in the Hubble flow” — those whose redshifts are better indicators of their distance than closer galaxies, whose redshifts may be disturbed by the gravitational pull of their neighbors.
The next step: SNIFfing out supernovae
The SNfactory has found so many supernovae so quickly that follow-up observations — to confirm supernova types, determine redshifts, study full spectra, and identify home-galaxy conditions — have not been possible for all of them. This will change when the French members of the collaboration complete construction of a revolutionary new spectrograph, to be installed next September on the University of Hawaii’s 2.2-meter telescope on Mauna Kea.
Dubbed SNIFS, for Supernova Integral Field Spectrograph, the fully automated instrument will simultaneously obtain over 200 spectra of each supernova, its galaxy, and the surrounding sky, through two channels equipped with separate CCDs optimally sensitive to blue light and red light. SNIFS will simultaneously correct telescope tracking and, to account for changing weather, measure light absorption by the atmosphere.
“We’ve already proved that the SNfactory can handle a huge amount of data and identify nearby supernovae in the Hubble flow at a high, predictable rate,” says Aldering. “We’re well on our way to providing an essential tool in the effort to identify the nature of the dark energy.”
For more information visit the Nearby Supernova Factory at http://snfactory.lbl.gov/.
By Lynn Yarris
Paul Alivisatos, a physical chemist and a pioneering leader in the burgeoning field of nanoscience, has been named director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division (MSD). He succeeds Daniel Chemla, who has served as MSD director since 1991 and will now devote full-time to directing the Advanced Light Source.
“This is an extremely propitious time for Paul Alivisatos to lead MSD, as we begin to establish the Molecular Foundry project at Berkeley Lab,” said Berkeley Lab director Charles Shank in announcing the appointment.
“He is recognized internationally as one of the fathers of nanoscience, having led the way in the synthesis, characterization, and understanding of semiconductor and metal nanocrystals, and having been among the first to publish results in this field more than a decade ago.”
Alivisatos received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1981 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1986. He went to AT&T Bell Labs as a post-doctoral fellow and returned to Berkeley in 1988 as an assistant professor of chemistry. He was promoted to associate professor in 1993 and full professor in 1995. He served as UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Professor from 1998-2001, and added an appointment as a professor of materials science and engineering in 1999. He joined Berkeley Lab’s MSD staff in 1991.
Moving into the new millennium, the research group that Alivisatos heads has scored a number of landmark successes in nanoscience. For example, in 2000 they created the first semiconductor nanocrystals to be shaped like rods rather than spheres. This breakthrough led to a variety of even more exotic shapes, including teardrops, tetrapods and even arrowheads, all of which demonstrated the group’s ability to control nanocrystal shapes and sizes. Most recently, Alivisatos and his group produced a hybrid solar cell that advantageously combines nanotechnology with plastic electronics.
Alivisatos has published more than 100 papers on the structural, thermodynamic, optical, and electrical properties of nanocrystals. Among the many awards he has received are the Presidential Young Investigator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship, the American Chemical Society’s Exxon Solid State Chemistry Fellowship, the Coblentz Award, the Wilson Prize at Harvard, and U.S. Department of Energy Awards for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Materials Chemistry and for Sustained Outstanding Research in Materials Chemistry. He is a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and editor of American Chemical Society’s journal Nano Letters. He also serves on several editorial advisory boards.
In recognition of his impressive accomplishments, Alivisatos was named to head Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, one of the proposed new U.S. Department of Energy centers for nanoscience research.
“I welcome Paul Alivisatos’ vision and energy in leading the Materials Sciences Division at this very important point in its history,” said Shank.
For his part, Alivisatos expressed his appreciation to outgoing MSD director Chemla.
“I would like to thank Daniel Chemla, who has been an inspiring leader,” he said. “I look forward to working with the great staff and great scientists of MSD to continue a great tradition, so that we are in a position to prosper during the coming years.”
Shank also expressed his appreciation to Chemla, who in 1998 took on the responsibility for directing the ALS in addition to his MSD directorial duties.
“I want to express my deepest appreciation for the extraordinary efforts of Daniel Chemla in dynamically leading two Berkeley Lab divisions over the past four years,” Shank said. “The Laboratory is greatly in his debt, and fortunately we will continue to benefit from his leadership at the Advanced Light Source.”
By Lynn Yarris
Mary Kimberly Lawrence, better known as “Molly,” widow of Berkeley Lab founder and namesake Ernest O. Lawrence, has died. She passed away Monday, Jan. 6, at the ManorCare nursing home in Walnut Creek. She was 92.
Berkeley Lab Director Charles Shank offered his condolences to the Lawrence family. “It was my extraordinary pleasure to have met and talked with Molly Lawrence,” he said. “She was a unique presence, and her vivid impressions of Ernest Lawrence and the Laboratory were profoundly moving and meaningful for me.”
Molly Lawrence’s health had declined since she suffered a stroke in 2001. She moved into the nursing home last year after having spent nearly 70 years in the Berkeley Hills home she and Ernest shared after their marriage in 1932.
Molly, the daughter of Dr. George and Mabel Blumer, was 16 in 1926 when she met Ernest, who was 25, on a blind date. Dr. Blumer was the dean of the Yale medical school at that time and Ernest was a new member of the Yale physics faculty. Molly was a brilliant student with near-perfect recall who would enter Vassar College that year and go on to earn a degree in bacteriology.
She continued her graduate education at Radcliffe College but took most of her courses at Harvard’s medical school. According to her family, so rare were women students at that time, the Harvard faculty excluded her from some anatomy lectures to shield her feminine sensibilities, a bit of nonsense she never forgave. She married Ernest on May 14, 1932 at the historic Trinity Church in their home town of New Haven, Connecticut.
The Lawrences became a celebrity couple in Berkeley, as Ernest would win the 1939 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention of the cyclotron, making him the first University of California Nobel laureate, and become a major figure in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. He founded his Radiation Laboratory in 1936 which would eventually become the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and, in 1952, he founded what today is the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Molly’s sister, Elsie, married UC Berkeley physicist Edwin McMillan, who would go on to also win a Nobel prize and succeed Ernest as director of Berkeley Lab.
Molly and Ernest had two sons, Eric and Robert, and four daughters, Margaret, Mary, Barbara, and Susan. After Ernest’s death in 1958 at the age of 57, Molly not only raised their children but also took in two teenage neighbor girls the night their mother died. Even though her hands were full as a single parent, Molly served on the boards of such organizations as the United Way of the Bay Area, the East Bay Children’s Activity Center, the Berkeley Day Nursery, and the Travelers Aid Society. She also served until her death on the advisory board for the Lawrence Hall of Science.
Molly Lawrence is survived by her sister Margaret (Peggy) Biles of Bradbury, California, sons J. Eric Lawrence of Culver City, California, and Robert Lawrence, M.D. of Stockton; daughters Margaret Norman of Long Beach, Mary Prud’homme of San Francisco, Barbara Petit of Berkeley, and Susan Lawrence of Berkeley; Cheryl Larmore of Alamo and Darlene Bruno of Berkeley; plus 11 grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will held be at the Lawrence Hall of Science (100 Centennial Drive in Berkeley) on Friday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations may be made to the Lawrence Hall of Science. Checks can be mailed to the University of California, Berkeley Resource Development, Lawrence Hall of Science #5200, Berkeley, CA 94720-5200.
Abraham Welcomes UC Action on Los Alamos
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham welcomed the sweeping management changes being implemented by UC at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and praised John Browne, who resigned as LANL director as part of the changes, for “recognizing the need for fresh leadership at this crucial time.”
In a press statement, DOE said that Abraham has been closely monitoring the situation and met with UC President Richard Atkinson in early December to personally deliver the message that the government holds the University accountable for its management of the laboratory. In a Dec. 24 letter to Atkinson, Abraham noted the possibility of a “systemic management failure” at Los Alamos and said, “I expect the University to continue its efforts to ensure these failures are corrected.”
While expressing his approval of the actions taken so far, the Secretary called for continued action to rectify the underlying problems at Los Alamos. “For 60 years the scientists and engineers of Los Alamos have played a vital role in ensuring the security of the United States,” he said. “It is crucial that we restore public confidence in the management of the laboratory so that they can continue to play that role. The nation needs the same confidence in the business management and security at Los Alamos as it has in the Laboratory’s weapons design and basic science.”
Universities Ask Supreme Court to Reverse Patent Ruling
A number of major research universities have joined Duke University in asking the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling made last October in a federal appeals court in the case of Madey v. Duke University.
The ruling effectively ended the 170-year-old practice of allowing scientists to freely borrow patented technologies for limited use in basic research that is not aimed at commercial ventures. John Madey, inventor of the free electron laser while at Stanford University, sued to prevent Duke researchers from using his laboratory devices after he left that university. A lower court ruled in favor of Duke, but the appeals court said that Duke is a “businesslike entity” that profited from the use of the lasers.
Duke and the other research universities are asking that this decision be reviewed and overturned on the basis that it will hamper basic research by forcing scientists to stop and conduct expensive, time-consuming patent searches and make licensing deals every time they want to bring a new technology or technique into the laboratory. If the high court decides to take the case, it likely will be heard sometime after October 2003. — Lynn Yarris
On Wednesday, UC President Richard C. Atkinson named longtime UC senior administrator Bruce B. Darling as interim vice president for laboratory management. Darling, who currently serves as systemwide senior vice president for university affairs, will take on the additional responsibilities of overseeing the university’s administration of the national laboratories UC manages for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
“By making this appointment of Bruce Darling, one of my oldest and closest associates, I am sending a very clear signal that the University of California’s management of the national laboratories is among my highest priorities,” Atkinson said. “Bruce has been intimately involved in getting to the bottom of recent allegations surrounding business practices at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has worked closely with the Department of Energy and the NNSA on these matters, and has proved again and again that he is a trusted and effective manager and problem solver.”
Darling, 50, replaces John P. McTague, who returned to UC Santa Barbara to serve as a professor of materials science. A nationwide search will be conducted for a permanent vice president for laboratory management. Atkinson will soon name members of a search committee.
Darling joined UC in 1980 after six years at the National Science Foundation. He was appointed systemwide vice president for university and external relations in 1996 and promoted to senior vice president for university affairs in May 2002.
Most recently Darling chaired a special review team of senior UC officials charged with making an independent review of the business practices and controls in place at Los Alamos. The team visited the laboratory in November and made recommendations at that time to improve the laboratory’s business practices, and then again in December to understand the facts surrounding various allegations related to the dismissal of two laboratory investigators.
Sweeping changes at Los Alamos National Laboratory
The announcement of Darling’s appointment comes less than a week after UC unveiled a sweeping set of management changes at Los Alamos (LANL). On Jan. 2 Atkinson announced the resignations of laboratory director John C. Browne and Joseph Salgado, LANL’s principal deputy director.
Atkinson appointed as interim director retired Vice Admiral George P. “Pete” Nanos, the former commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and of the Navy’s strategic nuclear program. Nanos is currently principal deputy associate director for Los Alamos’ Threat Reduction Directorate. He will serve as interim director while the University conducts a search for a permanent director.
Atkinson stressed that Browne’s resignation, submitted on Dec. 23, 2002, was “a mutual decision,” but went on to say that he “deserves full credit for recognizing that recent allegations regarding LANL business practices were distracting from his many accomplishments and the work of the laboratory’s extraordinary scientific community.”
Atkinson added that the University continues to have confidence in the high quality of the weapons program and the scientific and technical work of Los Alamos.
A number of oversight changes involving administrative and business operations at the laboratory will also be implemented, such as the appointment of an oversight board to guide the interim laboratory director on general laboratory management issues. Nanos’ appointment requires approval by the Board of Regents, which will meet on Jan. 15-16. — Monica Friedlander
If you start to hear emergency sirens coming from the UC Berkeley campus the first Wednesday of every month, don’t panic. It is only a test of the Cal Alert and Warning System.
The system is a network of safety sirens and communications links that warn and inform the community of what to do in an emergency or disaster. The campus has four hazard warning sirens around the main site, and they will be activated for the first time at noon on Feb. 5. Subsequent months will have similar siren testing.
When the siren goes off, employees on campus are asked to go inside their offices, a nearby building, a car, or other shelter. All windows and doors should be shut. Then they should listen to instructions via one of three methods: phone (1-800-705-9998), computer (http://emergency.berkeley.edu/) or radio (KALX 90.7 FM). This response procedure is referred to as “Shelter, Shut and Listen.”
UC Berkeley is joining similar systems being set up in East Bay cities, including San Leandro, Oakland and Alameda, so far. Once the partnership (“Corridor of Safety") is completed, it will include 40 sirens covering about 83 square miles. Hazards that could activate the system include chemical spills, flooding, fires, storms, power outages, transportation incidents, and other public safety crises.
UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports invites all UC faculty and staff to attend one of three Open House weeks: Jan. 13-17, Feb. 10-14, and March 10-14. The facilities will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. An employee ID will be required, and visits are limited to one Open House week per person.
Visitors can work out at the RSF, take a selected fitness class, tour the facility, talk to fitness professionals, and participate in brown bag lunch events. For more information, schedules of events, and facility locations call 642-8556 or visit.
Published twice a month by the Communications Department for the employees and retirees of Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Ron Kolb, Communications Department head.
EDITOR: Monica Friedlander, (510) 495-2248, [email protected]
STAFF WRITERS: Lisa Gonzales, 486-4698; Dan Krotz, 486-4109, Paul Preuss, 486-6249; Lynn Yarris, 486-5375
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Jon Bashor, X5849; Allan Chen, X4210
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
Berkeley Lab is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy.
By Paul Preuss
Not long ago Uli Dahmen and his colleagues were studying the behavior of very small inclusions of lead in a matrix of aluminum, using the Analytical Electron Microscope at the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), which allows the sample’s temperature to be varied while it is being imaged.
They watched the behavior of different sizes of particles as they turned up the heat. Dahmen, head of NCEM and a member of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, says that what they saw when the temperature rose above 423 degrees Celsius came as a big surprise.
“We knew that really small particles of lead in aluminum — particles only a few nanometers wide — superheat enormously before they melt,” says Dahmen, explaining that while lead in bulk melts at 327 degrees Celsius, a five-nanometer inclusion can get 100 degrees hotter before it melts. “But when they do melt, they jump at you! They move so fast they make you blink.”
Since bulk aluminum’s melting point is 660 degrees Celsius, this frantic movement of tiny blobs of liquid lead was occurring within a still-solid aluminum matrix — a startling phenomenon seen only once before, by Bjarne Schmid, who 10 years earlier was a graduate student of Dahmen’s collaborator, Erik Johnson, at the University of Copenhagen. Although an adequate analysis of the particle motion wasn’t possible at the time, electron microscopes and computers have come a long way since.
Dahmen and his coworkers videotaped the movement of the liquid particles as they zipped about under the Analytical Electron Microscope, which is operated by Tamara Radetic. By applying image-analysis software created with the help of John Turner, the collaborators confirmed what their eyes had led them to suspect: the rapid motion of the lead particles was an example of classic “Brownian motion.”
In 1827, using a magnifying glass to examine pollen grains in water, the Scottish botanist Robert Brown “observed many of them very evidently in motion” — motions not due to water currents or evaporation but apparently belonging “to the particle itself.” At first attributing the activity to life, he eventually found that any sufficiently small particles, even particles of ground-up rock or glass, moved in the same way.
For almost 85 years Brownian motion was argued about but never explained, until in 1905 Albert Einstein published a theory giving precise formulas for the behavior of small particles of a given size suspended in liquid at a given temperature. His explanation, in a nutshell, was that the particles were being randomly knocked about by collisions with energetic molecules of the liquid.
In the case of nanoscale inclusions of melted lead in aluminum, it’s energetic liquid that’s jumping around inside the crystalline structure of the solid. Nevertheless, by analyzing that movement in their videos, the researchers determined that Einstein’s formulas describe it to a T.
“One measure of random movement, as Einstein described it, is that when you add up the displacement of the particle in each unit of time, the mean displacement should be zero,” says Dahmen. That is, in Brownian motion, the magnitude of any bounces in one direction will eventually be offset by bounces in other directions, true for all directions.
Another way to test whether a particle’s motion is Brownian is to determine its fractal (or fractional) dimension. Brownian motion in the plane is a fractal “dimension” halfway between a one-dimensional line and a two-dimensional plane. The direction and distance of each step in the particle’s “drunkard’s walk” is random and unpredictable.
NCEM’s image-analysis software had to grab every frame of a thousand frames of videotape, follow the center of mass of specific particles, and correct for drift of the image. Even on a fast computer the process consumed hours.
Having confirmed the Brownian character of the particle motion they first observed, the researchers also noted circumstances when it was definitely not random.
“These are the most interesting,” Dahmen says. For example, “in some cases there is interaction — the particles ‘talk’ to each other.” Particles of some sizes seem to travel as a group, while smaller particles (though rarely) even seem to repel one another. Why do some coalesce and others keep their distance? Promising ideas are under investigation, but at this point “I wonder too,” Dahmen laughs.
A number of other exciting questions are still open, including the diffusion mechanisms by which liquid particles move through a solid matrix, and nonrandom particle activity near defects or grain boundaries in the matrix. Says Dahmen, “We have found a zoo of behaviors with a simple binary system of lead and aluminum.”
Meanwhile, there’s a practical result. Since Einstein’s theory allows one to calculate the rate of diffusion of a Brownian particle through the surrounding medium, Dahmen says, “this may allow us to determine diffusion constants for different alloys by observing the behavior of individual particles.”
Raymond Carlo Gatti, a retired scientist formerly of the Earth Sciences Division, passed away on Dec. 23 at the age of 73.
A nuclear chemist, he was an employee of Berkeley Lab for more than 35 years and a graduate of UC Berkeley in chemistry. He worked in what was then the Nuclear Chemistry division, engaged in target preparation and chemical separation related to heavy element research. In the late 1970s, he moved to the Engineering Division, where he worked in x-ray fluorescence analysis of environmental samples such as air particles for an EPA-sponsored project. Later, he worked in the Earth Sciences division, conducting radiochemistry research related to nuclear waste disposal.
Gatti was also a tutor and mentor to many in his love of science and math.
By Ron Kolb
Little did anyone know when President Bush inaugurated his management agenda last year that its impact would extend all the way down to the systems at Berkeley Lab. But beginning this month, virtually everyone here is going to be participating in the President’s initiative to improve financial reporting.
That’s because the monthly reporting of revenue and disbursement transactions will be due to the Department of Energy three days earlier than before — “accelerated close,” it’s called. This not only means that division budget staff will be scrambling to assemble figures a lot faster; it also means that employees will have to report their work time earlier.
“This is a government-wide initiative that affects all federal agencies,” says Dwayne Frey, the Laboratory’s general accounting manager. “The driver was the Treasury Department’s desire to report financial information more promptly.”
The DOE and other federal agencies deliver monthly financial statements called “SF 224 Statement of Transactions” to the Treasury. Facilities such as Berkeley Lab have to funnel their reports through DOE regional offices for consolidation in Washington. And now, the whole process moves up three business days.
For January, that means delivering the Management Analysis and Reporting System (MARS) transmission to DOE no later than the 31st. Getting to that point takes three days. So Berkeley Lab’s effective date for closing its financial reporting system for the month will be Jan. 28. For February, it’s the 25th, and for March, the 28th. And forever thereafter, three days earlier than before.
Within Laboratory operations, this change will mean various adjustments to financial systems, reprogramming and general process re-engineering, according to Frey. For example, meter readers and other recharge service providers will have to adjust their data gathering and fee calculation schedules accordingly. The “feeders” that report financial activity into the accounting system will need to be evaluated to assure accurate information is reported under the new accelerated schedule.
The most pervasive impact from this change will be in the area of worktime (or effort) reporting, via the Laboratory Electronic Time System (LETS). Adherence to the new schedule will require a behavioral change from every member of the lab community. That means moving from a calendar-month mindset to a new “fiscal-month” reality.
For January, the “sweep” of all LETS reporting time will be the 29th, or Day 1 under the new process. For most employees, time will have to be entered by the 28th. According to Frey, the three “lost” days to month’s end will be made up at the end of the fiscal year in September.
Current plans are to retain the LETS system without making any system changes and to require employees to project their time for any remaining days during the month following cut-off. That means on January 28, monthly employees will enter time worked up to that day, plus anticipated work time on Jan. 29, 30 and 31.
To minimize the impact of the compressed time period, the Laboratory will be keeping the bi-weekly sweep schedules, so that only monthly employees will need to estimate time for the remaining days of the month.
For employees who have enough trouble trying to remember to turn in their time reports by the last day of the month, they will now be challenged to establish a new deadline date. Randy Scott, manager for human resources, realizes that it won’t be easy.
“If people are out on leave, or on vacation, or the approver is away, it will mean a whole adjustment process,” he said. “Even now, people wait until the last day to enter their time. The shift to three days earlier will probably compound the problems and increase the number of required changes.” To alleviate this, an e-mail LETS reminder is planned to be sent out one day prior to labor sweeps to all monthly employees.
So there will be a period of adjustment until the new accelerated close becomes part of the Laboratory culture, a period which will require commitment and patience on the part of those responsible for making it work.
Financial Services has posted to its website the fiscal year’s close schedule under the new guidelines. Employees can find links to the quarterly charts at http://www.lbl.gov/Workplace/FSM/ContactInformationandImportantLinks.htm, along with a link to Frey’s own PowerPoint presentation about the accelerated close.
LETS monthly employees should mark the following dates on their calendars for final reporting: Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and March 26. Their reporting period will begin the last three days of the prior month and conclude on the submission date, constituting an entire month of time reporting. The exception, as noted above, is January, which begins January 1 and concludes on Jan. 28. The three extra days will be added in September, when the year-end close will run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 30.
For questions about the new accelerated close, contact Frey (X4273, [email protected]), Helena Cheng (X4044) or Vanessa Lee (X4250) in the Accounting office.
Tech Transfer News
By Robin Johnston
“IT’S BEEN REWARDING TO WATCH A
When the start-up company Symyx Technologies, Inc. licensed a combinatorial chemistry technology developed in the Material Sciences Division (MSD), Berkeley Lab took stock — literally. In the 1994 licensing agreement, the Technology Transfer Department negotiated to accept Symyx stock in lieu of part of the up-front licensing fee. The agreement with Symyx to accept partial payment in the form of equity was the first of its kind negotiated by any UC-managed lab and among the first by any DOE laboratory.
The Symyx stock holdings have become quite valuable as the company has developed pioneering Berkeley Lab technology into an array of powerful research tools and improved materials. In addition to the licensing agreement being financially lucrative for the Lab, the arrangement has yielded other less tangible benefits.
Says Lab Director Charles Shank, “It’s been rewarding to watch a company develop this Berkeley Lab technology into tools that speed the discovery of materials that will be of great public benefit. Symyx’s success is a tribute to Berkeley Lab science and innovative technology transfer, as well as to all the dedicated people at the company.”
A win-win deal
Negotiators on both sides of the table feel the unique licensing agreement between Symyx and Berkeley Lab was a win-win deal. “It was inspired by the fact that we were looking for innovative ways to assist small businesses and start-ups,” says licensing manager Viviana Wolinsky. “This kind of transaction allows startups to devote more of their precious start-up capital to developing the technology we are licensing while still offering us a fair return,” explains Wolinsky.
Isy Goldwasser, the president of Symyx who negotiated the license with Berkeley Lab, is equally happy with the terms. “The agreement helped the company in the beginning because cash was so important. And the Lab got equity up front that has turned out to be valuable.”
UC still owns Symyx stock, and although the price has been volatile, at press time UC’s holdings were worth 1.2 million dollars.
Commercialized Lab technology proves profitable
Behind Symyx’s two consecutive years of profit is Berkeley Lab’s concept of combining miniaturizing with parallel processing to conduct super-efficient materials research. Before Symyx was started, combinatorial techniques had been successfully applied in the pharmaceutical industry to discover new drugs. Peter Schultz and his colleagues in MSD’s Molecular Design Institute proposed that the same approach could be extended to materials science. Present-day Symyx technology based on Schultz’s work can create and screen new materials hundreds to thousands of times faster than traditional research methods at a fraction of the cost. Chemical catalysts, genomic probes, fuel cell components, and battery electrodes are just some of the types of materials that can be developed with this methodology.
Symyx’s first commercialized product is a polymer used for coating proteomics arrays. In a collaborative effort with Dow Chemical, they have also identified several new classes of catalysts to enable the production of novel high-value plastics and reduce the cost of polymer manufacturing. In addition, Symyx has identified 12 new materials that are now being developed, and has entered into collaborative agreements with Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Company, Exxonmobil Chemical Company, Rhodia S.A, Celanese, ICI, Unilever, and others.
Robin Johnston is the science writer for the Technology Transfer Department.
New Diversity Council to Focus on Divisional Efforts
By Ron Kolb
Berkeley Lab Director Charles Shank has announced the establishment of the Best Practices Diversity Council. A key focus of this new group will be to strengthen Laboratory diversity efforts by taking advantage of accomplishments at the divisional level.
The Best Practices Diversity Council will provide a forum for identifying and sharing programs and practices that have proven their effectiveness in enhancing diversity.
“We intend to leverage the ‘best-in-class’ activities being undertaken by each division and implement these across the Laboratory,” Shank said, and added, “we aspire to be a leader in creating a diverse workplace.”
Among the examples of the creative and effective division-based programs that have been established are Computing Sciences’ School-to-Career program, which places Peralta College of Alameda students in training positions that have resulted in career placements; the Physical Biosciences’ Undergraduate Outreach Internship Program, a mentoring effort focused on underrepresented minorities; and the Earth Sciences language skills training program, designed to nurture a diverse lab culture by enhancing the verbal skills of foreign national technical and scientific staff.
Shank has asked each division director to appoint a representative to the Council, someone who is actively involved in developing the divisional diversity plan. Those plans, which are largely focused on recruitment and retention practices, can be found on the Berkeley Lab web site at http://www.lbl.gov/Workplace/WFDAP/.
“We need to raise our level of performance, and this means moving the process of finding promising ideas into the organization.”
Harry Reed, the Head of the Laboratory’s Workforce Diversity Office, will serve as principal staff to the new council.
Representatives from the human resources recruitment office, planning and strategic development, government and community relations, and science education will participate in the new council.
Shank commended the work of the LBNL Diversity Committee, which he established in 1991, and singled out for special praise the leadership and dedication of the two co-chairs, Kathie Hardy and Linda Smith.
When Diversity Council membership is complete, a first meeting will be scheduled early in the new year.
Unix/Linux Security Course
A day-long course entitled “Unix/Linux Security Hands-On” will be held on Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bldg. 51L.
The course is designed to help technical staff understand typical attacks that are launched against Unix and Linux systems and the types of measures that must be taken to make the systems better able to withstand these attacks.
Space is limited and enrollment is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To sign up, visit https://hris.lbl.gov/.
Monthly Education Outreach Workshops
The Center for Science and Engineering Education is organizing monthly workshops to inform employees about opportunities to participate in education outreach programs and activities. Another objective of the program is to provide a forum for expanding and developing education programs at Berkeley Lab, especially since educational activities are closely coupled to workforce diversity plans in many divisions. The workshops are open to all interested staff.
The next workshop will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Perseverance Hall (Bldg. 54-130) and will address two topics: (1) teacher workshops, tours and development, and (2) education outreach and workforce diversity activities pertaining to the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI). There will be updates on Department of Energy support for education, funding opportunities, and partnerships.
To attend the workshop contact Joe Crippen (X5816) by Friday, Jan. 17.
Headaches Brownbag Features Dr. Neil Raskin
Next Tuesday, Jan. 14, Health Services will present a brown bag lunch talk featuring Dr. Neil Raskin, a neurologist with UCSF and a renowned expert on the subject of headaches. The talk, entitled “Headaches: Current Concepts,” will be held at noon in the Building 50 auditorium. Everyone is invited.
Docent-Led Tour of Winslow Homer Exhibit
The Employees’ Arts Council is sponsoring a docent-led tour of "Casting a Spell: Winslow Homer, Artist and Angler" on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. The one-hour tour begins at 9:30 a.m. Space is limited to 30 people.
This exhibition of 65 paintings, mostly watercolors, by Winslow Homer is the first to look closely at the other life-long passion of this major American artist: fly fishing.
Additional information is available on the Legion of Honor's website at http://www.thinker.org/legion/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?exhibitionkey=120.
To reserve your tickets for the EAC’s tour, send an e-mail to Mary Clary, [email protected] Include information on how many adults, teens, children, or seniors will attend. Along with confirmation, you will receive a form to return with payment.
The deadline for reservations and payment is Jan. 22. Ticket prices are $4 for museum members and $12 for non-members ($10 for seniors and $4 for children).
Check Your OE Benefits Changes
The Lab’s HR staff would like to thank employees for their patience during this year’s Open Enrollment period, and remind everyone to check the paycheck stub for a quick confirmation of the benefits elections.
You can also view your complete benefit coverage online at the “At Your Service” website (http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/). Go to the “Your Benefits Online” tab on the right hand side to review your benefit selections or make changes to your 403(b) or DCP account. You will need your Social Security number and four-digit Benefits PIN to log in. If you have any questions or problems logging on to your account, call the Benefits Service Center at X6403 or send e-mail to Benefits @lbl.gov.
If you notice an error in your social security number, e-mail Payroll at [email protected]. If your address is wrong contact your HR Center or go to the Lab’s Employee Self Service website (https://hris.lbl.gov/) to make a change online.
You can also download and print payroll forms to change your tax withholding. Log in using the same user ID and password as your e-mail log-in.
The Facilities Department provides rush courier service with pick-up and delivery both on- and off-site. Transportation can deliver up to 2,000 pounds in the Bay Area or in central or northern California. Onsite materials will be delivered within one hour. For pick-up call X5404.
January 2003: Happy New Year
JANUARY 14, Tuesday
HEALTH SERVICES BROWNBAG ON HEADACHES
JANUARY 16, Thursday
UNIX/LINUX SECURITY COURSE
JANUARY 21, Tuesday
EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH WORKSHOP
Announcements for the General Calendar and Bulletin Board page may be sent to [email protected]. Seminar & Lectures items may be mailed to [email protected]. You may also fax items to X6641 or mail them to Bldg. 65. The deadline for the Jan. 24 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20.
Seminars & Lectures
JANUARY 14, Tuesday
PHYSICS DIVISION RESEARCH PROGRESS MEETING
LIFE SCIENCES DIVISION SEMINAR
JANUARY 15, Wednesday
LIFE SCIENCES DIVISION SEMINAR
JANUARY 17, Friday
LIFE SCIENCES DIVISION SEMINAR
JANUARY 21, Tuesday
LIFE SCIENCES DIVISION SEMINAR
JANUARY 23, Thursday
PHYSICS DIVISION RESEARCH PROGRESS MEETING
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS SPECIAL SEMINAR
Art to Part: Introduction to Rapid Prototyping
Steve Dellinges of the Engineering Division will be the speaker at a seminar on rapid prototyping, a three-dimensional printing process now available to all interested employees. The prototyping lab is located in Building 77 and is managed by Engineering’s DesignWorks Group.
For more information, contact Steve Dellinges of DesignWorks at 495-2539.
"RP" technology is an additive process that can generate physical, three-dimensional parts of arbitrary shape directly from 3D computer-aided design (CAD) data. The method consists of splitting the 3D CAD model into layers and then recreating them one layer at a time into a physical structure.
For more on this technology see http://www-eng.lbl.gov/%7Edw/services/RapidPrototyping/RP_services.htm.
* Includes EHS 392/405, followed by the orientation.
To enroll, contact Valarie Espinoza-Ross at [email protected] or enroll via the web at https://hris.lbl.gov/self_service/training/. Preregistration is required for all courses except EHS 10. For a full, updated schedule, see http://www-ia1.lbl.gov/schedule/.
AUTOS & SUPPLIES
‘01 FORD EXPLORER XLT, 26K mi, 2 wd, leather int, cruise/tilt, cd changer, exc cond, $19,000, George, X6339, (916) 683-4061
‘91 VOLKWAGEN JETTA, red, 142 K mi, 5 spd, sunrf, runs exc, good gas mi, new wheel bearings, muffler, brakes, $2,200/bo, must sell, John, (925) 229-3865
‘90 ACURA LEGEND LS, 5 spd, 119K mi, all pwr, leather, phone, $6,000/bo, Max, X4022, (925) 247-0001
ALBANY apt, 1 bdrm, parking, new paint & carpet, incl water & garbage, $995/ mo, 12-mo lease, no pets/ smoking, nice neighbrhd, close to pub trans & shops, avail 1/30/03, John, (415) 309-1288
BERKELEY, Park Hills, house in wooded neighbrhd, furn, 3 bdrms/2 bths, lge kitchen, living rm, din rm, study, priv yard, avail 02/01 – 08/10, $2,000/mo, Gisela, 841-2066, gisela101 @prodigy.net
CASTRO VALLEY, home for rent, 3 bdrm/1.5 bth, storage shed, covered patio, cute, quiet location, includes garbage, $1,350/ month + sec dep, avail Jan 10, Shelley, (925) 820-3172
CENTRAL BERKELEY, nice furn rms, kitchen, laundry, TV, DSL, hardwd floors, linens, dishes, brkfast, nr pub trans & shops, $950/mo incl util, $350/ wk, Paul, X7363, Jin, 845-5959, [email protected]
EL SOBRANTE, 4 bdrm/ 3 bth, unfurn house, 3-car garage, 1 of 2 homes on small ranch, rent incl water, gardener & pool service, no pets, $2,800/mo, Maxine, X6177, (530) 533-4394, [email protected]
EL SOBRANTE, lge 3 bdrm/ 3 bth, unfurn house, pool, 2-car garage, 1 of 2 homes on small ranch, rent incl water, gardener & pool service, no pets, $3,000/ mo, Maxine, X6177, (530) 533-4394, [email protected] lbl.gov
MONTCLAIR, spacious, cozy 3 bdrm house to share, 10x10, modestly furn rm w/ closet, phone, cable, full kitchen, bth, yard to share, avail now, $720/mo incl water, gas, garbge, Art, [email protected] cchem.berkeley.edu
NORTH BERKELEY HILLS, furn studio, sep ent, carpeted, laundry, partial view, dishes, linens, b&wt TV, priv phone line, avail 1/13, no smoking/ dogs, cats neg, parking for 1 car, $750/mo + util, Rachelle, (415) 435-7539, 649-1989
NORTH BERKELEY B&B for visiting scholars, $650 for 2 weeks, $850/mo, avail for 2 wks to 8 mos, 1 pers per rm, 2 rms in house, garden cottage, breakfast, bike, close to pub trans, avail now, Helen, 527-3252
NORTH BERKELEY, furn secluded studio/cottage, near UC, near pub trans, free w&d, built-in bed & bookshelves, hardwd flrs, skylight, 14x19, beamed ceiling, French door & garden windows, female pref, no smoking/pets, share util, $850, lease to 8/15 & beyond, Staffan, 526-7156
ROCKRIDGE, mo-to-mo, avail 2/03, furn, 2 bdrm/ 1 bth, flat in duplex, hardwd flrs, basement w/ storage & laundry, cable TV, priv deck, carport, yard, 2 blocks to BART/Lab shuttle, pets neg, $2,100/mo incl util, ideal for visiting scholar or couple, Barbara, X7367, 652-7044, [email protected]
WALNUT CREEK, 1601 Alvarado Ave, lrg 1 bdrm apt on ground flr of 4plex unit, patio, carport, pool, aek, avail 2/1/03, $850/mo, Bob (925) 376-2211
SCIENTIST, wife & 16-mo- old son seek a well kept house in Berkeley, Oakland or Albany, hardwd flrs, w/d hookup, nice yard, garage, Tom, X5319
MISC FOR SALE
AIR FILTER, Healthway 10100, enhanced media filtration, 12"x12"x22", eggplant, filters down to 0.15 microns, cleans 150 sq ft 6x per hr, $150/bo, Harvard, X5742, 526-5347
GE GAS RANGE XL44, w/self cleaning oven, digital timer, clock, timed bake, thermostat, high output stovetop burners, $200, Peter, X7653
SHARP 32" TV, stereo sound, blk fin, AV inputs front & back w/ remote, $350, Jason X7841, Sheril, X5327, 841-2707
KENMORE gas bbq w/ gas bottle, Gisela, 841-2066
KAPAA, KAUAI, 2 bdrm oceanfront condo at Kapaa Shore Resort, pool, spa, tennis, fully equipped, oceanview, 3rd floor lanai, sleeps six, walk to shops and dining, no smoking, $145/day, $850/wk + tax & outcleaning fee, pic at kauaicondorentaldirect.comRichard, 845-1723
TAHOE KEYS at S. Lake Tahoe, 3 bdrm house, 2-1/2 ba, fenced yard, quiet, sunny, close to attractions, priv dock, great view, $195/night, 2 night min, Bob, (925) 376-2211
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. 65.
Ads run one issue only unless resubmitted, and are repeated only as space permits. They may not be retracted once submitted for publication.
The deadline for the Jan. 24, 2003 issue is Thursday, Jan. 16.