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Dodging a sixth mass extinction

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 15:48
Integrative biology professor Anthony Barnosky not only has a new book out, Dodging Extinction, but also appears in a new documentary airing Nov. 30 on the Smithsonian Channel. The film, Mass Extinction, Life at the Brink, also features UC Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez and Barnosky's wife, Stanford ecologist Elizabeth Hadly.

‘Sleepless in America’ documentary to feature Berkeley research

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:00
UC Berkeley neuroscientist and sleep researcher Matthew Walker will be featured Nov. 30 in Sleepless in America, a documentary on the National Geographic Channel that lays out in gripping detail the perils of getting too little sleep.

New mushroom discovered on campus — the first since 1985

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:16
For the first time in 30 years, a new species of mushroom has been discovered on the UC Berkeley campus, to the delight of the researchers who found it. Else Vellinga and Nhu Nguyen, the researchers, named it Helvella dryophila,

National Medal of Science ceremony streamed live from White House Nov. 20

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:13
President Barack Obama will honor three UC Berkeley faculty members on Thursday, Nov. 20, at a White House ceremony for the 19 new winners of the National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology & Innovation.

Education professor Barbara White dies at age 64

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:07
Professor Barbara White, a faculty member at UC Berkeley for 25 years whose broad ranging academic background encompassed education, computer science, psychology, and mathematics, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 64.

$45 million in grants fund new cybersecurity centers at UC Berkeley, MIT and Stanford

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:30
Berkeley's new Center for Long-Term CyberSecurity will map out what the cybersecurity problem will mean a few years down the road, and to stimulate interdisciplinary research efforts that will make a difference in resolving the threat.

Foragers find bounty of edibles in urban food deserts

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:00
Urban residents in neighborhoods lacking stores with fresh, affordable produce need to look no further than their own yards to find wild edibles to add to the dinner table. Two Berkeley professors and a team of students are foraging in three East Bay communities as part of a unique project that is surveying, logging data, testing soil and aiming to educate neighborhoods about the value of these greens.

Diana Bautista receives Young Investigator Award from neuroscience society

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:48
The Society for Neuroscience presented a Young Investigator Award to Diana Bautista, UC Berkeley assistant professor of integrative biology, at its annual meeting Nov. 17 in Washington, DC. The $15,000 award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions by young neuroscientists who have recently received advanced professional degree.

Lightning expected to increase by 50 percent with global warming

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:00
UC Berkeley atmospheric scientist David Romps and his colleagues looked at predictions of precipitation and cloud buoyancy in 11 different climate models and concluded that global warming will generate 50 percent more lightning strikes across the U.S. by the end of the 21st century.

ICON satellite cleared for development to study ionosphere

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:44
NASA has given the go-ahead for UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory to develop the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission, which will explore a swath of Earth's atmosphere where weather close to the ground impacts the dynamic space environment above. SSL's Thomas Immel is mission leader .

Amateur, professional astronomers alike thrilled by extreme storms on Uranus

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:00
A team led by Berkeley astronomer Imke de Pater has been observing Uranus regularly for years, and recently found that the normally bland face of the planet has become increasingly stormy, with enormous cloud systems so bright that for the first time ever, amateur astronomers are able to see details in the planet's hazy blue-green atmosphere.

Jennifer Doudna, cosmology teams named 2015 Breakthrough Prize winners

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:01
Jennifer Doudna was named a winner of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at a star-studded gala in Silicon Valley on Nov. 9, while Saul Perlmutter and former Berkeley post-doc Adam Riess accepted the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on behalf of the two teams they led.

Live streaming of Breakthrough Prize symposia Nov. 10

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:13
Students, faculty and staff are invited to watch a streaming webcast of the Breakthrough Prize Symposia on Monday, Nov. 10, where more than 20 scientific luminaries will discuss the latest discoveries in fundamental physics, mathematics and the life sciences. UC Berkeley, Stanford and UC San Francisco are symposia partners.

UC reverses engines on Lick Observatory funding

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 15:22
UC has changed its mind and will continue funding the 126-year-old Lick Observatory, used by students, faculty and international scientists alike.

Synthetic biology could be big boost to interplanetary space travel

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 16:43
Amor Menezes of QB3 and Adam Arkin of bioengineering and Berkeley Lab argue that synthetic biology can assist in our travel to other planets, with genetically engineered microbes helping to produce fuel, food, medicines and building materials on site, so that astronauts do not have to carry all supplies from Earth.

Coexist or perish, wildfire analysis says

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:00
An international team of fire experts led by UC Berkeley's Max Moritz concluded that it is time to stop fighting fires and instead develop strategies to coexist with fire. For example, zoning and building codes and evacuation protocols should be developed to allow people to live with fire, just as they now live with earthquakes and tornadoes.

How important is long-distance travel in the spread of epidemics?

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 10:14
A new model of epidemic spread by biophysicists Oskar Hallatschek of UC Berkeley and Daniel Fisher of Stanford shows that how common long-range jumps are makes a big difference in the dispersal of a disease, that is, whether you get slow, rippling spread or metastatic spread.

Creating the coldest cubic meter in the universe

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 16:20
In an underground laboratory in Italy, an international team of scientists has created a cooled chamber about the size of a vending machine chilled to near absolute zero in preparation for an experiment that will study neutrinos, ghost-like particles that could hold the key to the existence of matter around us. UC Berkeley & LBNL physicist Yury Kolomensky is the team's U.S. spokesperson.

Physicist Marvin Cohen receives highest honor from Materials Research Society

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 15:44
The Materials Research Society has given solid state theorist Marvin L. Cohen its highest honor, the 2014 Von Hippel Award, Cohen, a professor of physics and LBNL scientist, is being recognized for “explaining and predicting properties of materials and for successfully predicting new materials using microscopic quantum theory.” He will receive the award Dec. 3 in Boston.

How do chemicals affect breast-cancer risk?

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:57
Improved testing of the multitude of chemicals we encounter daily will help us understand if and how these exposures contribute to development of breast cancer, says Megan Schwarzman, a research scientist at the School of Public Health's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. She and two coauthors offer commentary in the journal Reproductive Toxicology.