IMAGE: Berkeley Lab Press Release
For Immediate Release
February 28, 2007

Four Berkeley Lab Award Winners Launch ‘Science at the Theatre’

A new community lecture series featuring four of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s most distinguished scientists will debut on Monday, March 5, with 2006 Nobel Laureate George Smoot. All lectures, free and open to the public, will be held in the Berkeley Repertory Theatre – hence the series name “Science at the Theatre.”

The talks begin at 5:30 p.m. The theatre is located at 2025 Addison St.

Berkeley Lab’s newest of its 11 Nobel Prize-winners, Smoot will open the series with a presentation about the work that led to his international award. Entitled “The Big Bang, COBE, and the Relic Radiation Traces of Creation,” the talk will focus on how Smoot and colleagues discovered “cosmic microwave background,” the astronomical fossils of the early universe.

IMAGE: George Smoot

Smoot’s 1992 discovery silenced all the scientific critics of the Big Bang theory and helped change the course of future investigations into the origin and evolution of the universe.He and his research team, after analyzing hundreds of millions of precision measurements in the data they’d gathered from an experiment aboard NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, had produced maps of the entire sky which showed “hot" and "cold" regions with temperature differences of a hundred-thousandth of a degree. These temperature fluctuations, produced when the universe was smaller than a single proton, were consistent with Big Bang predictions and are believed to be the primordial seeds from which grew our present universe.

Subsequent talks in the series, sponsored by Berkeley Lab’s Friends of Science organization, will focus on the Laboratory’s “Helios” initiative, a broad-based program to convert solar energy into carbon-neutral forms of energy that will sustain our world in an environmentally friendly manor. Speakers and topics include:

  • April 23, Steve Chu, 1997 Nobel Prize winner and Director of Berkeley Lab, on "The Energy Problem: What the Helios Project Can Do About It"

  • May 14, Paul Alivisatos, 2006 E. O. Lawrence Award winner and Associate Laboratory Director at Berkeley Lab, on "Nanoscience at Work: Creating Energy from Sunlight"

  • June 4, Jay Keasling, 2006 Discover Magazine "Scientist of the Year" and Berkeley Lab Director of Physical Biosciences, on "Renewable Energy from Synthetic Biology"
IMAGE: Steve Chu IMAGE: Paul Alivisatos   IMAGE: Jay Keasling
Chu Alivisatos Keasling

Co-sponsors of the series include the University of California-Berkeley, Chabot Space and Science Center, The Exploratorium, and the science departments at Berkeley, Oakland and Albany High Schools.

For more information, contact the Berkeley Lab Community Relations Office at 510-486-7292.

IMAGE: Communications Department contact information