Feed aggregator

American Academy elects seven from UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Science News - 3 hours 26 min ago
Seven of UC Berkeley’s finest — including Robert Reich and Chancellor Nicholas Dirks — have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the academy has announced.

Commonly available blood-pressure drug prevents epilepsy after brain injury

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 08:21
UC Berkeley neuroscientist Daniela Kaufer and colleagues in Israel and Germany have shown in rats that a drug commonly prescribed for hypertension can nearly eliminate the epilepsy that often follows severe head injury. Nearly one in five cases of epilepsy is the result of head trauma.

Brain size matters when it comes to animal self-control

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:00
Chimpanzees may throw tantrums like toddlers, but their total brain size suggests they have more self-control than, say, gerbils or fox squirrels, according to a new study of 36 mammal and bird species ranging from orangutans to zebra finches.

Neuroengineers bring science cred, Berkeley feel to ‘Transcendence’ film

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:15
When Hollywood knocked on the doors of UC Berkeley engineering professors Michel Maharbiz and Jose Carmena, the researchers answered. Director Wally Pfister tapped their expertise in neural engineering and brain-machine interfaces during the filming of his movie, "Transcendence," which opens in theaters April 18.

Bigger, more frequent wildfires burn Western United States, study finds

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 17:15
Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years, a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become more severe in the coming decades, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Utah and UC Berkeley.

Chancellor Dirks hosts clean-energy talks with DOE, industry

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 20:03
UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks hosted Department of Energy Assistant Secretary David Danielson and representatives from the clean-energy industry, university and DOE research labs to focus on the future of U.S. innovation and competitiveness.

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:28
As a boy, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment to test whether plants grow better sprinkled with water or orange juice. Today, as a Berkeley professor — and one of Forbes magazine's "brightest stars" in the field of law and policy — he applies complex statistical strategies to examine the same basic question: How will environmental change affect life?

Adam Arkin receives DOE’s Lawrence Award for synthetic biology work

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 09:42
Bioengineering professor Adam Arkin, director of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, was named one of six recipients of DOE's Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for his work advancing biological and environmental sciences. Arkin is a leading authority on the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and their application to systems and synthetic biology

Guggenheim fellowships go to eight Berkeley faculty

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 09:46
Eight UC Berkeley faculty are among 178 artists, scientists and scholars nationally who have been awarded 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships, the foundation announced.

On memory’s trail

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:30
Berkeley neuroscientist Ehud (Udi) Isacoff and his colleagues are working to solve one of the brain's mysteries: how memories form, and how they might be restored in people who have lost them, such as Alzheimer's victims.

UC Berkeley professor and structural biologist Thomas Alber dies at 60

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 08:00
Thomas Alber, a UC Berkeley structural biologist known for his striking ability to choose important biological problems and attack them with elegant biochemical and structural studies, died peacefully on March 28, 2014, at his home in Berkeley, Calif.

Hummingbird evolution soared after they invaded South America 22 million years ago

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 12:19
A newly constructed family tree of the hummingbirds, led by Jimmy McGuire of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, tells a story of a unique group of birds that originated in Europe, passed through Asia and North America, and ultimately found its Garden of Eden in South America 22 million years ago.

Scientists pinpoint how we miss subtle visual changes, and why it keeps us sane

UC Berkeley Science News - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 10:00
Ever notice how Harry Potter’s T-shirt changes from a crewneck to a henley shirt in the "Order of the Phoenix"? Probably not. Vision scientists at UC Berkeley and MIT have discovered an upside to the brain mechanism that can blind us to subtle visual changes in the movies and in the real world.

Wind power cost competitive with natural gas, study finds

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:02
The costs of using wind energy and natural gas for electricity are virtually equal when accounting for the full private and social costs of each, according to a new study on the federal tax credit for wind energy by UC Berkeley's Greg Linden and Syracuse University's Jason Dedrick. This makes wind a competitive energy source for the United States, they argue.

UC astronomers debut new robotic planet-hunting telescope

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:20
UC Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy and UC Santa Cruz astronomer Steve Vogt will be sharing a new robotic telescope at Lick Observatory, in operation since January, that will continuously scan the night sky for new planets. The first robotic telescope devoted to planet hunting, the Automated Planet FInder has the ultimate goal of finding Earth-size planets.

In memoriam: Sydney Kustu, Berkeley microbiologist

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 03/24/2014 - 12:50
Professor Emeritus Sydney Kustu, a distinguished faculty member in UC Berkeley’s Plant and Microbial Biology Department, died in Berkeley on March 18. She was 71.

CHAMACOS: How pesticides harm young minds

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 11:23
Children born to mothers who work in California’s pesticide-treated fields show signs of developmental problems, according the pathbreaking CHAMACOS study, led by UC Berkeley professor Dr. Brenda Eskenazi in the Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health. The study is spotlighted in the new "Nation."

Corporate-funded academic inventions spur increased innovation, analysis says

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:00
The assumption that corporate funding yields academic work that is less useful and less accessible to other researchers is challenged by an analysis of two decades of data from more than 12,000 inventions in the University of California system. The paper is published in the peer-reviewed journal "Nature." Read about how new technology is spreading from campus faster than ever.

Map of fruit fly’s active genes has implications for understanding stress

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 08:50
A group led by scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has conducted the largest survey yet of how information encoded in an animal genome is processed in different organs, stages of development and environmental conditions. Their findings about the fruit fly paint a new picture of how genes function in the nervous system and in response to environmental stress.

Fierce solar magnetic storm barely missed Earth in 2012

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:41
UC Berkeley physicist Janet Luhmann & former postdoc Ying Liu report that a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections – the most intense eruptions on the sun – sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space & through Earth’s orbit on July 23, 2012. Had it hit Earth, it could have disrupted the electrical grid, satellites, GPS & our increasingly electronic lives.