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February, 2007  Science@Berkeley Lab Web Feed

S@BL Suppositions

"Quest," derived from a Latin word for search, has been around in English since the 14th century. In the 21st century, in the San Francisco Bay Area, QUEST means a new approach to science education.

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Catching the Heat

It sounds like a thriller, but it's real: The Seebeck Effect could produce clean energy from waste heat by turning temperature differences directly into electricity. Scientists have measured the Seebeck effect in cheap organics, which could overcome the inefficient processes and expensive materials which have prevented practical applications in the past.

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The Fly in 3-D

Two hours after fertilization, a fruit fly's embryo is a hotbed of activity — and a favorite target of researchers studying gene expression and development. Scientists can now image the embryo in 3‑D at cellular resolution, as thousands of cell nuclei move over the surface and express the genes that shape the unfolding organism.

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Channel Tunnel

To trade nerve impulses, ions move in and out of neurons' membranes through channels equipped with voltage-sensing domains. Channels are controlled by a crucial segment that tunnels through the channel on a tilt, spiraling like a screw.

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Gaming the Genome

Biologists can insert DNA at numerous random locations in the fruit fly genome or target specific genes. Methods for manipulating genes are fast maturing; some techniques, like P[acman], can be adapted to many organisms, bringing precision gene engineering a step closer.

  A S@BL Special: Charging Ahead  
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A two-part special report on Berkeley Lab's participation in the Department of Energy's efforts to develop power sources for the next generation of electric vehicles.

Trial-and-error engineering isn't good enough for the batteries of the future; scientists use computer models to design the best possible battery.

Future transportation batteries must last for years, which means overcoming thermodynamic instability. The first step is to probe battery chemistry on the nanoscale.
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  Inspector Detector  
With the delivery of the first germanium-crystal module for GRETINA, what will be the world's most sensitive gamma-ray detector for nuclear science is starting to come together.

Not a detector but a source of the particles that collide to produce something worth detecting, superconducting VENUS has achieved record beams of high current, high-charge-state ions.
  S@BL Selects  
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