May 18, 2001 Search the Currents Archive

New Oakland Scientific Facility Ready to Open its Doors

OÅM: World-Record Resolution at 0.78 Å

New Oakland Scientific Facility Ready to Open its Doors

By Ron Kolb

Berkeley Lab's first off-site facility in the city of Oakland, which will house Computing Sciences employees and the high-performance computing and data storage systems of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), will be dedicated by officials from the Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the city, and industry partners on Thursday, May 24.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown will join Lab Director Charles Shank, Acting DOE Office of Science Director James Decker, and other dignitaries at 10:30 a.m. for brief tributes. The dedication will include a ceremonial "network connection" linking the site to ESnet - DOE's Energy Sciences Network, which connects thousands of researchers at national laboratories, universities and research organizations nationwide.

The four-story Oakland Scientific Facility at the corner of Franklin and 20th streets is on the site of a former Wells Fargo Bank building. It provides 16,000 square feet of computer area, with an additional 4,000 square feet to be built out over the next two years. The site was selected and leased in August 1999 and underwent extensive remodeling and seismic retrofitting. NERSC moved its main systems and employees into the facility last October.

In January, NERSC installed its new 2,528-processor IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer, which is currently undergoing acceptance testing. When the IBM machine goes on line, it will be the world's most powerful unclassified supercomputer.

The facility also houses a 696-processor Cray T3E supercomputer, three Cray SV1 machines, and two cluster systems: the 278-processor Parallel Distributed Systems Facility for physics research and the new 160-processor IBM cluster. Researchers using NERSC computers archive their data in the High Performance Storage System (HPSS), which has capacity of 1.3 petabytes (a quadrillion bytes).

The May 24 ceremony will include tours of the first floor computer room. Lab employees who wish to participate in the tours and reception will be offered two bus excursions, leaving at noon and 12:30 p.m. from the Building 65 bus stop and returning at 1:30 and 2 p.m., respectively.

Reservations for the tours must be made by Friday, May 18, by calling Yeen Mankin (X7580) or via a web-based form at

The building is 27,000 square feet in size, with the third and fourth floors scheduled to be occupied by employees from UC's Office of the President.

The entire building boasts the latest in energy efficiency technologies.

OÅM: World-Record Resolution at 0.78 Å

By Paul Preuss

Michael O'Keefe is shown at NCEM's One Angstrom Microscope, whose ultra-high resolution is unsurpassed.

Michael O'Keefe of the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), working with Chris Nelson at the One Ångstrom Microscope (OÅM), has made images of columns of atoms in silicon separated by only 0.78 angstrom - the highest-resolution image ever achieved by a transmission electron microscope. An angstrom is a ten-billionth of a meter, smaller than many atoms.

The researchers achieved the world-record resolution with a method O'Keefe developed called "alpha-null defocus." O'Keefe will announce their results at the annual meeting of the Microscopy Society of America later this year.

NCEM head Uli Dahmen notes that improvements in electron microscope resolution "are extremely important in terms of materials science. They will help us to understand how materials behave on the atomic scale, an ever more important consideration as we enter a new era of nanostructures and nanotechnology."

O'Keefe designed the OÅM as a specially modified Philips CM300 transmission electron microscope (TEM) using custom software developed at the Institut für Festkörperforschung, Forschungs-zentrum Jülich, Germany. By employing the technique known as focal-series restoration, the OÅM has already attained better resolution with its medium-voltage TEM than the world's highest voltage machines.

Previously the OÅM has unambiguously imaged columns of carbon atoms in diamond only 0.89 angstrom apart. It has also imaged columns of nitrogen and gallium atoms in gallium nitride only 1.13 angstroms apart - the first images of lightweight and heavy atoms in such close proximity (see Currents, July 30, 1999).

Separating the blobs

"The little white or black blobs that look like atoms in an electron micrograph really represent columns of atoms in the crystal, seen end on," explains O'Keefe. "Depending on which way you look, the columns may appear to be widely separated or close together."

For example, columns of atoms in a silicon crystal are 1.36 angstroms apart in one orientation, but the crystal can be rotated until the nearest columns are only 0.78 angstrom apart in projection. Until now, no image of this orientation of silicon has been able to separate the nearby columns of atoms.

A TEM sends an electron beam through a sample, which diffracts from planes of atoms; the microscope lens brings the scattered electrons together as they exit the surface, creating interference patterns from which the image is constructed.

Resolution is traditionally defined as the smallest elements that can be distinguished when all the image components are in phase. A microscope can actually produce much finer information, however, although the phases may be scrambled; thus its "information limit" may be better than the limit of its nominal resolution.

"To reach theoretical limits, you have to get rid of anything that reduces information," O'Keefe says. "You have to minimize vibration. You want a beam in which the energy of all the electrons is virtually the same. You want to get rid of aberrations. And the higher the resolution, the thinner the sample has to be: to reach 0.78 angstrom, theory requires a sample thickness of 65 angstroms or less."

To minimize noise and vibration, NCEM built a unique environment for the OÅM, including a massive, 34-ton concrete foundation isolated by blocks of rubber (see Currents, Dec. 19, 1997). The power supplies of the Philips CM300 were optimized to reduce the spread of energies in the beam.

To reach the OÅM's 0.78-angstrom information limit, further steps were needed. "We reduced spatial incoherence" - caused by slightly different angles of incidence - "by determining the optimum defocus for the plane of atoms whose diffracted beams we needed to include," O'Keefe says. "And we further reduced energy spread."

Although electrons from a field-effect gun like that in the Philips CM300 are extracted by an electric field with a high gradient (not boiled off a hot filament which gives a wide range of energies), they still have slightly different energies because they leave the gun tip from different parts of its surface. "These differences can be reduced by lowering the gun extraction voltage," says O'Keefe. "The trouble is, you extract a lot fewer electrons - which means a lot less illumination."

Feeling for atoms in the dark

Fortunately, science engineering associate Chris Nelson - who was "used to working with the low illumination of some of our other microscopes," says O'Keefe - was on hand to operate the OÅM. To get the images, the two researchers worked one long day a week for over a month.

Before each session invisibly thin slices of silicon only 30 to 50 angstroms thick were allowed to sit overnight in the microscope to reach equilbrium with the environment. In early attempts, vibration wiped out the separation of atoms in the image, but Nelson changed the way the sample was mounted so that, even though it still moved, it didn't smear the image along the axis of interest.

Another problem, says O'Keefe, was that "an electron beam hitting a sample really attracts crud," contaminating it with residual molecules from the microscope vacuum, mainly hydrocarbons, as well as chewing up the crystalline structure. The specimens had to be vigorously and repeatedly cleaned with argon-oxygen plasma.

But finally, at the extreme limit of the microscope's performance, after spending "whole days below one angstrom," in Nelson's phrase, the researchers produced the needed diffractograms. While noisy, the resulting image clearly shows the dumbbell shape of separation between adjacent columns only 0.78 angstrom apart.

The resolution of things to come

In the near future O'Keefe hopes to combine a series of such images into one crystal clear, super-resolution image. The technique of focal-series restoration uses a computer to combine images made with the beam progressively "defocused" at various depths within the crystal - allowing diffraction patterns from different planes of atoms to be combined.

The more planes of atoms whose diffraction can be included, the more information is obtained and the greater the resolution. O'Keefe has images of silicon at several focus values, but to combine them will require software tweaking, now underway.

Meanwhile an image that already unmistakably establishes 0.78-angstrom resolution "is a harbinger of those to be expected from the coming generation of computer-controlled, aberration-corrected, transmission electron microscopes with available sub-angstrom resolution," says O'Keefe. He notes that mid-energy transmission electron microscopes with better capabilities than the Philips CM300 are already on the way.

For more about the One Ångstrom Microscope, visit NCEM's website at

Lab Stresses Commitment to Workforce Diversity

By Ron Kolb

As Berkeley Lab's Diversity Committee approaches its tenth anniversary, Director Charles Shank has announced the newest appointments to the 18-member panel. Established in December 1991, the committee is charged with providing candid and practical advice on diversity in the work force and to consider the importance of diversity in recruitment, hiring practices, and the work environment.

"The efforts of the Diversity Committee have been extremely valuable in increasing awareness of diversity in the work place," Shank said. "I greatly value my interactions with this group. I greatly appreciate their support of activities that encourage a work environment in which all employees feel valued and included."

Each division contributes a representative to the committee, each of whom serves a three-year term. The group meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Members serve on either the recruitment, hiring, or retention/quality of life subcommittee.

For the first time this year, all divisions have been required to submit diversity plans to Director Shank. The plans can be found on a new Workforce Diversity Action Plans website at http://

The Diversity Committee's web site, which includes additional information about the panel's activities, is at

Under the co-chairmanship of Kathie Hardy of the Physics Division and Linda Smith of Information Technologies and Services, the committee includes the following members:

  • Enrique Henestroza, AFRD
  • Barbara Phillips, Administrative Services Department
  • Elizabeth Moxon, ALS
  • Musahid Ahmed, Chemical Sciences Division
  • Valeri Korneev, Earth Sciences Division
  • Al Salazar, Engineering Division
  • Kathy Striebel, EETD
  • Roshan Shadlou, EH&S
  • Mack Morgan, Facilities Department
  • Kristen Kadner, Genomics Division
  • David Gilbert, Life Sciences Division
  • Keith Jackson, Materials Sciences Division
  • William Harris, NERSC
  • Yuen-Dat Chan, Nuclear Science
  • Eva McNeil, Operations
  • Philip Williams, Physical Biosciences Division

Ex-officio members of the committee are William Barletta of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, who is management liaison, and Harry Reed, head of the Work Force Diversity Office.

Employees are encouraged to make suggestions to their representative in the division or department and to become familiar with their division's diversity action plan.

The committee has had a successful decade of accomplishments, and currently has a set of recommendations for review before Lab management. Past achievements include promotion of the Laboratory's tuition reimbursement program, development of mentoring programs, enhanced outreach efforts (e.g., the "Careers at LBNL" brochure), and member participation in the development of the divisional diversity plans.

In its mission statement, the advisory committee has listed goals that include: developing ideas for changes that improve diversity in the work place; promoting awareness, understanding and valuing of diversity; and serving as the ears and voice for all employees by encouraging communication at all levels of the Laboratory.

Washington Report

President Bush Releases Energy Plan

Warning that the United States faces its most serious energy crisis since the 1973 oil embargo, the Bush administration this week released its national energy plan.

The plan puts forth five specific national goals aimed at increasing energy supplies. Technology will be the key to achieving these goals, the plan's authors said.

The five goals called for in the plan are as follows: "America must modernize conservation, modernize our energy infrastructure, increase energy supplies, accelerate the protection and improvement of the environment, and increase our nation's energy security."

These five national goals are presented in the context of three basic principles: they will reflect a long-term, comprehensive strategy; will advance new environmentally friendly technologies to increase energy supplies and encourage cleaner, more efficient energy use; and will raise the living standards of the American people.

Said Vice President Dick Cheney, who chaired the National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) group that authored the report, "We submit these recommendations with optimism. The tasks ahead are great but achievable. To meet our energy challenge, we must put to good use the resources around us and the talents within us."

Among the NEPD group's specific recommendations for achieving its proposed goals was a call on federal agencies to "conserve energy use at their facilities," especially during periods of peak power demand. The group also called for "increased funding of renewable energy and energy efficiency research programs" that are "performance-based and cost-shared." Also called for was an extension of DOE's Energy Star efficiency programs to include schools, retail buildings, health care facilities, and homes; and an expansion of the Energy Star labeling program to additional products and appliances.

"The NEPD group recommends that the President direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a national priority for improving energy efficiency," the report said. "The priority would be to improve the energy intensity of the U.S. economy as measured by the amount of energy required for each dollar of economic productivity. This increased efficiency should be pursued through the combined efforts of industry, consumers, and federal, state, and local governments."

In all the plan offers 105 specific recommendations, 42 of which encourage alternative fuels, conservation and environmental protection, and 35 of which focus on increasing energy supply (largely through coal and nuclear power) and modernizing the nation's electricity grid and other energy transmission infrastructures, according to administration spokespersons.

The entire report or portions thereof can be downloaded as a pdf file from the DOE homepage ( by following the links. — Lynn Yarris

Lab Delegation Visits Yucca Mountain Site

On Monday, 36 Berkeley Lab employees visited Nevada's Yucca Mountain, the proposed site for a permanent high-level radioactive waste underground repository. The group of scientists and staff from the Earth Sciences Division's Nuclear Waste Program, plus members of Lab and DOE management, are shown here in front of the massive drill bit used to tunnel into the mountain. The group spent all day at the site looking at hydrologic and thermal field tests in tunnels inside the mountain. They also went to the top of the mountain to look at the surface geological conditions.

Berkeley Lab's portion of the Yucca Mountain project is led by Bo Bodvarsson and involves about 75 employees at an annual budget of approximately $13 million. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt

New Vice President for Laboratory Management Approved by Regents

The University of California Board of Regents yesterday approved the appointment of John P. McTague as vice president for laboratory management - a new, senior management position with primary responsibility in the University's continued management of Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories.

A former vice president of Ford Motor Company, McTague has had extensive experience with DOE, its national laboratories, academia, and governmental science policy. He was founding co-chair of the DOE National Laboratories Operations Board, a former member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, and chair of the National Research Council's report on "Balancing Scientific Openness and National Security Controls at the Nuclear Weapons Laboratories."

He will start on June 1.

Said University President Richard C. Atkinson, "I am delighted that John McTague has agreed to take this position. His stature and experience make him ideally suited to lead the University's and the laboratories' efforts to provide the best in science and technology."

Creation of the new position was specified in contracts signed in January by the DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration (created last year) and the University of California as one of the steps to strengthen UC management of the laboratories.

"It is important that the University continue on the track of closer lab management and oversight that began with the latest contracts," said Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, "and John is an excellent choice to guide that process."

McTague is a physical chemist with degrees from Georgetown and Brown Universities. From 1970 to 1982 he was a professor of chemistry and a member of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. - Monica Friedlander

Ban on Affirmative Action Revoked

In an anonymous vote, the UC Regents yesterday rescinded their 1995 resolutions prohibiting consideration of race and sex in admissions and hiring. The action is designed to "repair the reputation of the university," said Regent William Bagley, who had long pushed for this outcome. Bagley did acknowledge that the action was mostly symbolic, as Proposition 209 still blocks the use of affirmative action in admissions policies.

Approved 22-0, the resolution was supported by those who had voted for the ban in 1995. Regent Ward Connerly, who has led the fight against affirmative action, said that Proposition 209 gave him what he wanted. "This resolution is not about my convictions," he said.

Student Regent Justin Fong, who was instrumental in brokering the deal, said "Today, I'm proud to be a member of the UC community. I'm proud to be a regent."

Four Lab Scientists Elected to the
National Academy of Sciences

By Paul Preuss

On May 1, 72 new members and 15 foreign associates were elected to the National Academy of Sciences during the academy's 138th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The new members include three staff scientists now at Berkeley Lab and one who will join the Lab later this year. The four also have faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley.

Stuart Freedman

Inez Fung

Alexander Glazer

John Kurlyan

Stuart J. Freedman of the Nuclear Science Division is a renowned experimentalist who has approached the famous puzzles of physics empirically. In 1972 he and a colleague performed one of the earliest tests of Bell's Inequality, which predicts that certain measurements will produce different outcomes depending upon whether quantum theory or a classical theory incorporating "hidden variables" is the more correct description of nature. (Quantum theory won.) More recently Freedman has used the Gammasphere to test the Standard Model by studying the Fermi decay of carbon 10 and has studied the beta decay of carbon 14 and oxygen 14 with the BEARS radioactive beams at the 88-Inch Cyclotron. These and many other experiments have implications for the life history of stars, neutrino mass, and numerous other unsolved questions.

Freedman got his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1972, taught at Princeton, Stanford and Chicago, and joined UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab in 1991. He is a professor of nuclear physics at UC, where he currently holds the Luis W. Alvarez Memorial Chair in Experimental Physics.

Inez Y. Fung is a member of the Atmosphere and Oceans Group in the Geochemistry Department of the Earth Sciences Division. An expert in global computer modeling, space-based and other remote sensing, and the chemistry of the air, seas and land, Fung has pioneered numerous methods of tracking the source, transport and fate of greenhouse gases and other energy wastes and byproducts to assess their likely effects on a changing climate. She is credited with being the first scientist to demonstrate quantitatively that wide-ranging changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane are regulated by interactions between the circulation of the atmosphere, the ocean, and the terrestrial biosphere.

Fung received her Sc.D. from MIT in 1977; her thesis had the evocative title "The organization of spiral rainbands in a hurricane." She taught at the University of Victoria, B.C., and was a scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies before becoming a professor of geophysics and director of the Center for Atmospheric Science at UC Berkeley.

Alexander N. Glazer of the Lab's Physical Biosciences Division is best known for his studies of fundamental problems in photosynthesis. His research has centered on cyanobacteria and red algae, particularly their light-catching "antennas" known as phycobilisomes. (Cyanobacteria account for up to 20 percent of the primary productivity of the oceans.) Glazer established that the photosynthetic apparatus of these organisms is markedly different from that of their soil and fresh water relatives. Known for his literate reviews of the field, Glazer has written that "one of the charms of research in biology is that it mines the infinite wealth of unique aspects of different organisms."

After receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Sydney, Australia, Glazer moved to the United States and got his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Utah in 1960. He is a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley and the director of UC's Natural Reserve System, comprised of 33 environmental reserves across the state.

On July 1, John Kuriyan will join UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab, where he will be division deputy for structural biology in the Physical Biosciences Division. Kuriyan is a renowned x-ray crystallographer who has solved the structures of proteins crucial to signal transduction and DNA replication. These include the regions of tyrosine kinases that control their catalytic activity; similar domains control interaction between units of the DNA "clamps" known as STATs, which serve both as signal transducers in the body of the cell and regulate gene expression in the nucleus. Kuriyan has also studied the DNA polymerases that replicate chromosomes during cell division, making use of ring-shaped protein "tethers" that encircle both the enzyme and the DNA.

Kuriyan got his Ph.D. from MIT and worked on protein dynamics at Harvard before moving to Rockefeller University. He is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. At UC Berkeley he will be a professor in the College of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

For more about the National Academy of Sciences, visit

Energy Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

Energy efficiency has become a hot topic in light of the ongoing energy crisis. But are we basing our decisions about how to save energy on fact or fiction? Lab researchers Rick Diamond, Mithra Moezzi and Evan Mills of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division have reviewed some common beliefs about energy efficiency measures and offer us the hard facts about them.

When I turn my applience off, it's off.

Fact: Most devices, it turns out, continue to consume power when they're switched "off" - sometimes as much power as when they're on. A surprisingly large number of electrical products, from air conditioners to VCRs, are not switched off completely unless they are unplugged, and draw power 24 hours a day.

Cleaning refrigerator coils improves energy efficiency

Fact: This may seem intuitively logical, and very small savings may indeed result from cleaning those coils. But efforts to actually measure this effect have come up empty-handed.

Leaving lights, computers, and other appliances on uses less energy and helps them last longer than turning them on and off.

Fact: The small surge of power created when devices are turned on is vastly smaller than the energy used to run them when not needed. This used to be a problem in the past, but has been largely overcome through better design.

Halogen lighting is super-efficient.

Fact: Halogen lights do use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. However, compact fluorescent lights are nearly three times more efficient than halogens and do not have the halogen transformers that use extra energy -even when the light is off.

Electric heating is more efficient than fuel-based heating.

Fact: It is true that most of the electricity that goes into an electric heater is transformed to useful heat in your home. However, producing that electricity in the first place is an inefficient process, with as much as two-thirds of the input (coal, natural gas, etc.) being lost in the process. This is why electricity is so much more expensive for the consumer than direct fuels.

Fluorescent lighting is unhealthy.

Fact: Fluorescent lighting has changed dramatically in the last few years. Today's fluorescents have greatly improved color quality, and their former annoying flicker and hum have been eliminated. Moreover, because they require less electricity, fluorescents generate less powerplant pollution. So give fluorescent lights another chance.

Switching to electric room heaters will reduce your energy bill.

Fact: This is true - under certain circumstances. If you have central electric heating, room heaters will most likely save you money. But if you have central gas heating (far cheaper per unit of useful heat), you can match or even raise your heating bill by switching to electrical units.

Energy efficient products increase the initial cost of houses.

Fact: Some do and some don't. Most efficient products are also premium products (in terms of features, warranty, etc.), so it's difficult to tell to what extent the energy efficiency features are responsible for raising the price. In some instances, however, energy efficient products can actually reduce costs - such as the use of highly efficient, down-sized heating and cooling systems.

Insulating the ceiling will just result in heat leaking out of the windows.

Fact: Adding insulation to one part of a home will not increase the "pressure" or result in heat loss through other parts. Poorly insulated areas, on the other hand, will still cause major heat losses and often merit attention before improving already well-insulated parts of the home.

Efficient air conditioners and furnaces will reduce utility bills.

Fact: This is true to some extent, but consumers will not realize the full savings if the equipment is not sized or installed properly. Studies have shown that typical air conditioner and duct systems are improperly installed, wasting one third or more of the energy. Replacement equipment and upgrades need to be properly designed and installed to result in energy savings.

Installing foam gaskets in electrical outlets will significantly reduce air leakage.

Fact: Measurements have shown that less than one percent of a home's air leakage is due to electrical outlets.

Artists, Scientists Convene Salon Under a Full Moon

By David Gilbert

Sonya Rapoport discussed her computer assisted art, based on a genetic engineer's interpretation of mystical literature and Hebraic tradition.

On the balmy evening of May 7, a full moon cast a provocative shadow on Perseverance Hall, where a group of 50 artists, scientists and those who fancy themselves a little of both engaged in discourse that ranged from breeding irises to genetically engineering Golem.

The "Leonardo Salon" was hosted by Life Sciences Director Mina Bissell, a member of the board of directors for Leonardo/International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.

The organization seeks to provide a channel of communication for artists who use science and emerging technologies in their work. Activities include publication of the art, science and technology journal Leonardo, the Leonardo Music Journal, the Leonardo Electronic Almanac and Leonardo On-Line ( - all published by MIT Press.

George Gessert, the first of the evening's two presenters, characterizes himself as a "genetic artist." A painter and printmaker with degrees in English and fine arts, Gessert's work has been shown around the world - from the Exploratorium in San Francisco to the Smithsonian Institution and the Vasarely Museum in Budapest. His work has evolved over the last 15 years to combine fine arts with genetics in developing an elaborate flower breeding program.

He is especially interested in plant aesthetics and the ways in which human aesthetic preferences affect evolution. His work consists of photographs of the diverse floral patterns and colors he has generated crossing native iris species and installations of the plants themselves.

"When I first exhibited plant hybrids as art I expected to have to defend my work against criticism that plants were not art, but no one has raised that question," he said.

His installation at the Exploratorium, "Art Life," invited his audience to participate in making aesthetic decisions that affect the lives and deaths of plants. Gessert says that these decisions evoke images of eugenics. The exhibit consisted of a broad sampling of coleus hybrids Gessert had generated. The public became engaged in the process of genetic selection by expressing preference for particular plants, which determined the fate of the other plants - the compost heap - which was incorporated in the exhibit.

Says Gessert, "Our ornamental plants, pets, sporting animals, and spice plants constitute a vast genetic art, or art involving DNA, in which aesthetic qualities determine survival. As we move into the era of biotechnics, an aesthetics of evolution is imaginable."

Presenter Sonya Rapoport, whose husband Henry works in the Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, moved the discourse to a genetic engineer's interpretation of the Kaballah - the mystical literature of the Hebraic tradition. In her latest piece, "Redeeming the Artist's Gene, Molding the Golem, Folding the Protein," Rapoport creates a "mythic parody" of the creation of the Golem, a sort of "being" created by a learned scholar and designed to protect the community from danger, persecution and evil. The Golem - originally considered a benign character - was said to be the inspiration for Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

George Gessert's art focuses on plant aesthetics and evolution.

Rapoport's computer-assisted artwork dates back to the mid-1970s, when she pioneered art/science collaborations with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley's Department of Anthropology. She started her art career as an abstract expressionist and has exhibited her work at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, the National Library in Madrid, and the Stedelijk Museum in the Netherlands. Her early computer works have evolved into multimedia interactive exhibits that have been presented internationally. Examples can be viewed at:

Rapoport referred to the ancient texts that describe the actual recipe for making a Golem, which required that virgin soil be kneaded with pure spring water and that the people making the Golem first purify themselves physically and spiritually. While creating a Golem was considered an advanced meditative technique, once the conceptual Golem was completed, this spiritual potential in clay could actually become animated.

Rapoport puts her own molecular genetic spin on the age-old question of how one creates a Golem. By using DNA sequences derived from the biblical Eve and Lilith (the first wife of Adam according to the Kaballah), Rapoport designed a cloning vector strategy to create a virtual "cyber Golem."

Though members of the Salon audience did offer suggestions on how Rapoport's strategy could actually be tested, under the full moon that evening, no Golem — clay, cyber or otherwise — did reveal itself.

Relative of Young Meningitis Victim Helps
Raise Funds for Girl's Funeral Expenses

By Monica Friedlander

Since May 1, when nine-year-old Nandi Phelps died of meningitis, health official in Berkeley have been busy administering antibiotics to her family and school mates, while friends dedicated a mural at her school. Phelps' family, however, has been struggling simply to pay for the burial of the little girl whose life and death touched so many hearts.

The responsibility for finding a means to cover those expenses fell on relative Stephanie Martinez - a bus driver here at Berkeley Lab and cousin to Phelps' mother, Christina Haines.

After Haines set up a trust fund to help with her daughter's funeral expenses, Martinez got the ball rolling. She contacted the City of Berkeley, Councilwoman Margaret Breland, and the Director's Office here at the Lab soliciting donations.

Phelps was the sixth young victim to die of this form of bacterial meningitis (meningococcemia) in Northern California this year. Health officials said the incidence of the disease in the Bay Area is not abnormally high and that the disease is not highly contagious. Phelp's three siblings who lived with her were not affected.

The fourth grader began feeling sick at school on Friday, April 27. The following Tuesday she was rushed to Oakland Children's Hospital where she died that day. Her funeral was held at the Bethany Baptist Church in Oakland.

Antibiotics were administered to people who came in contact with the girl - school mates, other children, members of her family, as well as emergency workers, doctors, and nurses.

Meningococcal disease is most common in infants and children, and is fatal in 10 to 15 percent of the cases. Each year in California about 50 middle and high school age students contract the bacteria, and about five to 10 of them die from it.

The effort to help with logistics and fundraising, Martinez says, has helped her deal with her own grief. Being a good Samaritan is not new to her, however. For years Martinez has been active in organizations such as the local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, which helps out the sick and elderly in the community - and has also donated to the Phelps trust fund.

Nandi Phelps' death is not the only tragedy to strike the girl's family. Three of her uncles on her mother's side died in recent years to gun violence and AIDS, and another one is suffering from Parkinson's disease. Phelps' parents are also dealing with the hassles of moving after being forced out of the home they've been renting in Berkeley.

Martinez describes the young victim as "a sweet, caring outspoken little girl who loved everybody."

Nandi Phelps Trust Fund

Donations to help with Nandi Phelps' funeral expenses may be sent to:
Bank of America
Account #0555901411
c/o Jamia Richards
2546 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702

Phelps' last school project was to help paint a playground mural. The day after her death, her classmates at Oxford Elementary in Berkeley decided to dedicate the mural to her. Principal Kathleen Lewis was very fond of the nine-year-old who had spent most of her life at Oxford Elementary, and said the school will incorporate some way to remember her in every activity organized through the rest of the year.

Meanwhile, Martinez says, Phelps' family is struggling to get their lives back together. Nandi was the baby of the family and held a special place in everyone's hearts.

"Her parents named her after one of the queens of Africa," Martinez says. "She was their little queen."

Bulletin Board

Lab Parents Raise Funds at School Carnival

Five Lab employees contributed their time and talents to making the annual Kensington Hilltop School carnival a big success. The event is expected to net almost $10,000 to help pay for programs in art, science and music - programs otherwise not provided by the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

"I was struck by the cadre of Lab employees who were working long hours before, during and after the event," said Jon Bashor of Computing Sciences, and co-chair of the carnival. "It demonstrates how many of us are active members of our communities."

Bashor and Anna Smith, who is coordinating this summer's International Nuclear Physics Conference for the Nuclear Science Division, will serve as co-presidents of the PTA next year. The day before the event, Smith drove to the San Francisco Flower Mart at 2 a.m. to buy nearly 500 dollars' worth of flowers to sell at the carnival.

Also helping were Russell Wells (above, at the computer), who works in Engineering and has served as treasurer for the carnival and school's Dads' Club for several years; Marc Fischer of EETD (left picture, top right), who staffed booths during the day and stayed to help clean up the school grounds afterwards; and Iwona Sakrejda of NERSC, who spent Friday night slicing piles of onions for lunch and bundling flowers into bouquets.

Avoid Power Surges During Blackouts

Due to the possibility of continued rolling blackouts at the Laboratory, employees are encouraged to use a surge protector for each office computer. Isobar Surge protectors are available from the Central Storeroom at a cost of $51.29. You may place an order through the Stores online Catalog (part # 5995-68760) or visit the Central Storeroom in Building 78, between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For questions call X5087.

Weight Watchers Starts New Series

An open informational meeting will be held at noon on Friday, June 8 for the new Weight Watchers series, which begins on June 16. Participants may register for the program at the open meeting, to be held in Bldg. 26, Room 109.

For more information contact Cathy Sage at X6266.

Free Skin Cancer Screening Clinic

Health Services will conduct its annual free skin cancer screening clinic again this summer on Friday, June 8 from 8 a.m. to noon. Health Services physicians and dermatologist Elizabeth Ringrose will be on hand to do the screening.

All employees who believe they may be at risk for skin cancer are encouraged to participate. To make an appointment, call Health Services at X6266.

UC Flying Club BBQ And Hangar Party

Stan Klezmer, a Lab retiree and flying enthusiast (see Currents, Feb. 20, 1998) invites everyone interested in his hobby to join the UC Flying Club for a barbecue/hangar party tomorrow, May 19, from 12 to 3 p.m. at Oakland's North field. The UC Flying Club, founded in 1939, is the oldest in the country. For more information see the club's web site at

Space Weather at Hall of Science

Starting May 26 the Lawrence Hall of Science will present a dynamic new exhibit that explores solar cycles, space weather, the cause of the auroras, and recent discoveries by leading scientists and astronomers. Visitors will have access to near real-time data from the Sun and from space, will view interactive videos, and find out about solar activities.

The exhibit was created by the Space Science Institute of Boulder, Colorado, and will run through September.

Social Security Brown Bag Next Month

One of the largest paycheck deductions for many people is the one going towards Social Security. But do you know where those dollars go - or how and when you can access them?

To help employees understand these issues and make informed decision about their retirement strategies, the Benefits Department is organizing a one-hour seminar with the local Social Security office on June 12 at noon in the Building 50 auditorium.

Among the topics to be covered are the various components of the Social Security deductions. For US OASDI (Old Age Survivor Disability Insurance) and US MED (Medicare) combined employees pay 7.65 percent of their gross salary up to $76,200. The Lab makes a matching contribution for a total contribution towards Social Security and Medicare of 15.3 percent of each employee's gross salary. These contributions are often referred to as FICA (for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, the law that authorized Social Security's payroll tax).

For more information contact the Benefits Call Center at X6403.

Postal Rate Increases Effective July 1

The Mail Room (X5353) would like to remind employees, particularly those responsible for bulk mailings, that the U.S. Postal Service will raise its domestic rates starting on July 1. The changes are as follows:

  • Post Cards: Increases from $0.20 to $0.21.
  • First Class: First ounce remains at $0.34, but the cost for each additional ounce will go up from $0.21 to $0.23.
  • Priority Mail: Remains the same up to 2 pounds. For weights over 2 pounds, there is an increase of 1 percent.
  • Express Mail: Increase by approximately 1.6 percent across the board.
  • Certified Mail: Increases from $1.90 to $2.10.
  • Domestic Periodicals: Increases by an average of 1.6 percent.
  • Nonprofit Periodicals: Increases by 2.4 percent.
  • Standard Mail Regular: Increase by an average of 1.4 percent.
  • Standard Nonprofit: Increases by 2.5 percent.

Tuesday Workshop On Investment Strategies

The Benefits Department is bringing back a representative of Fidelity Investments for a workshop on Investment Strategies on Tuesday, May 22, from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Bldg. 66 auditorium.

The session is designed for employees who are more than 10 years from retirement. The presentation will help participants plan their retirement strategies and describe the importance of reviewing, reevaluating, and rebalancing portfolios on a regular basis.

To register, call Fidelity Investments at (800) 642-7131.


General Interest

MAY 19, Saturday

7:30 p.m., International House

MAY 22, Tuesday

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

MAY 24, Thursday

10:30 a.m., Franklin & 20th Streets in Oakland

MAY 28, Monday



JUNE 4, Monday

12-1 p.m., cafeteria parking lot

Send us your announcements

Announcements for the General Calendar and Bulletin Board page may be sent to Seminar & Lectures items may be mailed to currents_ You may also fax items to X6641 or mail them to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the June 1 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, May 28.

Seminars & Lectures

MAY 22, Tuesday

Transcriptional Control of Drosophila and Ciona Embryogenesis
Speaker: Michael Levine, UC Berkeley
4 p.m., Bldg 84, Room 318

May 23, Wednesday

Heavy Ion Fusion: A Program Overview
Speaker: C.M. Celata, AFRD
11 a.m., Bldg 50 auditorium

Using a Systems Approach to Understand EGF Receptor Function
Speaker: Steven Wiley, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Noon, Bldg 62, Room 203

MAY 24, Thursday

TESLA: The Superconducting Electron-Positron Collider with Integrated X-ray Laboratory - Science, Technology and How to Proceed
Speaker: Albrecht Wagner, DESY, Hamburg, Germany
4 p.m., Perseverance Hall

MAY 31, Thursday

Light Microscopy Beyond the Diffraction Limit
Speaker: Mats Gustafsson, UC San Francico
4 p.m., Bldg 84, Room 318

Topic TBA
Speaker: Lam Hui, Columbia University
4 p.m., Bldg. 50A, Room 5132

Italian Delegation Visits Berkeley Lab

Uli Dahmen of the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) led a 40-person delegation of Italian material scientists on a tour of the facility last Friday, May 11. The group, representing major institutes, universities and industry in Italy, visited Berkeley Lab to learn about the research being conducted here and to establish contacts for future collaborations. In addition to NCEM, their visit included tours of the Advanced Light Source and NERSC.

Symposium and Dinner to Honor Art Poskanzer

May 30, Berkeley Lab

A one-day symposium will be held on Wednesday, May 30, to honor physicist Art Poskanzer on the occasion of his 70th birthday and retirement. The symposium will be held in the Building 50 auditorium, starting at 9 a.m.

A member of the Nuclear Science Division, Poskanzer has been with Berkeley Lab since 1966. He was influential as head of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Program, worked on the STAR detector, and heads the Lab effort in the NA49 collaboration at CERN in Switzerland

Presentations at the symposium will include "A Nuclear Chemist's Adventures on the Manhattan Project," overviews of experiments at CERN and Berkeley Lab, and a retrospective on nuclear matter research at Berkeley Lab. Poskanzer will address the symposium in the morning and will be followed by speakers Gerhart Friedlander, Robert Klapisch, Hans-Ake Gustafsson, Reinhard Stock, John Harris, and Horst Stoecker.

To register, contact Lorri St.Claire at LMStClaire@

The dinner, catered by Lalime's restaurant, will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria and will be preceded by a reception at 5:45. The cost is $30 per person. The deadline for registering for the dinner is Tuesday, May 22. Checks, payable to "Lalime," may be sent to Lorri St.Claire at MS 70-319.

Accommodations have been arranged in conjunction with the RHIC/INT Workshop. Information can be found at

For more information about the symposium contact Hans Georg Ritter at X4138.

Flea Market

Autos / Supplies

'94 FORD ASPIRE, 47K mi, great cond, all reg maint at dealer, $2,500/bo, Claudia, X6174

'91 VOLVO 940 TURBO 4 dr sedan, near mint cond, exc mechanical, leather, ac, auto, pwr, 196K freeway mi, $5,800/bo, Tom, X5487, (925) 634-5956


ALBANY 1 bdrm in 2 bdrm apt near El Cerrito Plaza BART for male room mate, avail 6/3 -7/21, share bth, kitchen, lvg rm, laundry in complex, $550/mo/bo (prorated), Shri,, 558-0643

BERKELEY 3 rooms at B&B avail 5/31, fully furn, $300/wk or $850/mo, near Walnut & Eunice, Helen, 527-3252, Lorri, X7493

BERKELEY HILLS furn house, 3+bdrm, piano, view, backyard, 2 cats, avail 6/23 - 7/27, $3,000 for total period, fax 525-1748

BERKELEY HILLS, fully furn, room in 4 bdrm house, 5 blks to campus & shuttle to Lab, share w/ 2 visiting scholars from Lab, $625/mo, avail now, Igor, 548-1278

BERKELEY HILLS, room in house, walking dist to Lab/campus, north of Claremont Hotel, shared kitchen, street parking, views of SF/both bridges, UCB/ LBNL faculty/scientist living in downstairs apt, mature & quiet person pref, $500/mo, avail after 5/16, Jay, 848-4022

BERKELEY, room in home near Walnut Square, $850/mo incl breakfast daily & utilities, nice area, Helen, 527-3252

BERKELEY, several furn rooms avail in comfortable 6 bdrm rooming house starting 6/1 & 7/1, incl house phone, active DSL line, w/d, common lvg rm, deck in lge garden, $700-$850/mo + partial util, Anushka, 486-8153,

BERKELEY, summer sublet, pleasant, spacious 3 bdrm, 2 bth house avail 6/13 - 7/13, convenient location, walk to downtown & BART, fully equipped kitchen w/ dw & microwave, lvg rm, music rm w/ piano, laundry, garden, bikes, $2,200, Philip, PHaves@, X6512, 649-9744

NORTH BERKELEY, spacious (~1000 sq ft) 1 bdrm unit in the hills, full kitchen, dinette area, lge lvg rm, lge platform closet, spacious bth w/ separate shower & tub, quiet neighborhd, garden, on bus line, walking dist to Kensington shops & Tilden Park, no pets/smoking, avail now, $1,300/ mo incl util, Chuck or Diana, 524-4913

OAKLAND HILLS, lge & sunny studio apt in home, priv entry, lge balcony, whirlpool tub, brand new kitchen, tiled entry & kitchen, 9' ceilings, ample street parking, $900/mo + $80 util (PG&E, water, garbage, basic cable), avail 6/1, 339-8857 msg

RICHMOND ANNEX, bright, furn room in 2 bdrm house to sublet, 20 min by car to Lab, 15 min walk to BART, nice view of SF, share kitchen, bth, lvg/dining rms, yards, non-smoker, avail 7/1, $800/mo incl util (neg), must like animals, Sonia, X5944, 528-7923,

Housing Wanted

ACADEMIC COUPLE visiting Lab from CERN for summer 6/1 - 8/1 or 15 seeking furn 1 bdrm apt, prefer N. Berkeley or along route of Rockridge shuttle, non-smokers, quiet & responsible, John March-Russell, jmr@mail., (41) 22 767-2137

APARTMENT NEEDED, visiting scholar from France seeks housing near Lab 8/01-12/01, can exchange for 2 bdrm apt in Paris near Bastille w/ view of Eiffel Tower, perfect for family, lvg rm, study, full kitchen, cable/Internet/TV, 1300 sq ft, full furn, Chris, (925) 423-2834

HOUSE/PET SITTER, exc local references, avail to take care of your home, pets, & yard, short or long term, John, X7549, (925) 938-7865,

INCOMING PHYSICS GRAD STUDENT working at Lab over summer (6/1-8/31) seeks room to rent near campus, no pets/smoking, studious yet sociable, clean & neat, responsible, will consider extending lease into academic year, Alex,

VISITING PROFESSOR & WIFE from Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, seek 1 - 2 bdrm furn accommodation in area from mid-July to mid-Sept, Sreela, X4391

VISITING SCHOLAR from France seeks 3+ bdrm furn house for Aug 8-30, Berkeley Hills pref, possible exchange w/ 2 bdrm apt in Paris, 5th arrondissement near Jardin des Plantes,

VISITING SUMMER UNDERGRAD seeks apt or shared housing for summer, Monica, mop3@, (607) 253-2206


'00 MOUNTAIN BIKE Marin Bear Valley Front Suspension, 17" frame (lge), great trail and/or city bike, 1 yr old, features: Manitou Magnum fork, 27-speed, V-brakes, LX Deore components, & clipless pedals, recently replaced & upgraded rear wheel, free-wheel & tire, $400, Erik, X6435

DINING ROOM SET, 2 leaves & 6 chairs, matching china cabinet, coffee table & 2 end tables, $800 for all, Denny, X4598, 237-8171

LENOX CHINA, blue flower/silver rim (12 dinner plates, 8 cereal, 9 salad, 5 cup/saucers) $275; computer desk w/ hutch, $70/bo; matching bookcase, $30/bo, both w/ wash oak finish, Duo, X6878, 528-3408

MULTIPLE-FAMILY YARD SALE: huge sale, collectibles, objects d'art, household items, kitchen gadgets, designer & vintage clothes, shoes, books (rare & other), textiles, garden items, furniture, baskets, exercise equip, CDs, paintings, junque, Saturday, 5/19, 8:30-1:30, Susan, X5437

PIANO, Yamaha U1 48" upright, ebony, 3 yrs old, like new, $4,500, Weiming, X5449, (925) 932-4503

WOMEN'S ROLLERBLADES, sz 9 US/8 EU, $50/bo, Claudia, X6174

ZAPPY ELECTRIC GO-PED, exc cond, less than 1 yr old, paid $600, asking $350, Betsy, X7681, (925) 634-0538

SCRAPBOOKING PARTY, "Creative Memories," $10 per person, bring pictures & learn to create a beautiful book of memories, June 3, 1 - 5 pm, 1345 Culver Place, San Lorenzo - Ravenwood Townhomes Clubhouse, refreshments, Denise X6011, 532-0782 or Deborah, X372, 317-7423


HOUSE/DOG SITTER, 6/9-6/24, well-behaved Scotty, Rockridge area, walking dist to BART & College Ave shops (Market Hall), Heino, X5615, 653-3122 eves

PIANO STOOL OR BENCH, pref dark color, Mike, X4610, 886-5527

RABBIT HUTCH & accessories, will pay a fair price, Amelia, X5236, 482-9718

THAI LANGUAGE TUTORING wanted in exchange for tutoring in English, physics, or math, Fred, X4892

VW CAMPER VAN, any model, want to rent for a weekend, John, X5307, 841-7875


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

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 (, 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 June 1 issue Thursday, May 24.