UC Berkeley Science News
News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 17 min 40 sec ago
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.
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.
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.
In a keynote address at an Oct. 20 UN event highlighting the role of science in bridging nations, UC Berkeley physicist Hitoshi Murayama argued that "basic scientific research is a true peacemaker for humankind." The event celebrated the 60th anniversary of CERN. Murayama also is director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Tokyo.
Aaron Fisher was a nanny for a successful actor in Manhattan when he applied for a post-baccalaureate in psychology. Emily Becklund was working in L.A., as a personal assistant for the reality-TV Kardashian family, when she did the same. Today their academic dreams have converged at UC Berkeley, where Fisher just launched a post-bac, inspired by his own success.
Many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, have been linked to the accumulation of improperly folded proteins in the brain. How they collect is a mystery, but Andrew Dillin and his lab have found a new mechanism cells use to prevent misfolding that could lead to new types of therapies for these diseases.
UC Berkeley geophysicist Paul Renne, grad student Courtney Sprain and their Italian and French colleagues found that Earth's last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years – roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip is much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought.
UC Berkeley scientists have taken proteins from nerve cells and used them to create a "smart" material that is extremely sensitive to its environment. This marriage of materials science and biology could lead to new types of biological sensors, flow valves and controlled drug release systems, the researchers said.
Andy Dillin of UC Berkeley & Nobelist Stan Prusiner of UCSF will lead a new integrated center for research on neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on the ways proteins can malfunction within cells. Funded by $3 million from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, the center will pave the way for novel treatments for diseases linked to misfolded proteins and/or prions.
Joseph Orenstein, professor of physics, was one of 19 researchers named Moore Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials. Investigators receive five-year grants to pursue ambitious, high-risk research, including the development of new experimental techniques that could transform our understanding of quantum materials.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has upped its support of data-driven science at UC Berkeley by awarding three professors $1.5 million each over five years to pursue big-data projects in ecology, astronomy and microscopy. The faculty members - Laura Waller, Joshua Bloom and Laurel Larsen - were named Moore Investigators in Data-Driven Discovery.