UC Berkeley Science News

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News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 41 min 27 sec ago

The sleep-deprived brain can mistake friends for foes

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 14:00
If you can't tell a smile from a scowl, you're probably not getting enough sleep

Karen Chapple to talk on ties between state tax policy, environmental goals

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 07:00
In Bacon Lectureship, planning professor will explore links between taxes, climate goals.

Ultra-low-cost solution to a big water problem

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 17:00
Engineering grad student's proposal for cleaning up toxic groundwater in India wins Designing Solutions for Poverty contest.

An art folly, ‘Invisible Barn,’ materializes in Sagehen woods

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 16:27
Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station a barn covered with reflective panels that make the structure nearly disappear among the surrounding pines. A similar structure was first installed in NYC last year as an art folly, but the enthusiasm of Sagehen director Jeff Brown convinced the firm to bring the art piece to Truckee.

Research profile: Small salmon, big threat

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 16:14
Drought and the growing water demands of agriculture and a changing climate are creating a “knife edge” of survival for young salmon and steelhead, says UC Berkeley fish ecologist Stephanie Carlson. She is working to determine minimum water levels needed to sustain the fish.

Bats do it, dolphins do it. Now humans can do it, too.

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 12:00
UC Berkeley physicists have used graphene to build lightweight ultrasonic loudspeakers and microphones, enabling people to mimic bats or dolphins’ ability to use sound to communicate and gauge the distance and speed of objects around them.

Add water and ‘resurrection plants’ spring to life in seconds

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 11:30
KQED's "Deep Look" team visited UC Berkeley's University and Jepson Herbaria to learn about so-called "resurrection plants" from one of the world's moss experts, Brent Mishler, director of the herbaria and a professor of integrative biology.

Chemist Christopher Chang receives $250,000 Blavatnik Award

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:14
Christopher Chang, the Class of 1942 Chair in the College of Chemistry, was one of three University of California recipients of the 2015 Blavatnik Award, given yearly to exceptional young scientists and engineers. Chang was honored for his discoveries in chemistry that span both neuroscience and energy science and will receive an unrestricted prize of $250,000.

Botanical Garden celebrates 125 years of research, romance

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:00
Celebratory events starting this Sunday will highlight the outdoor attractions and research contributions of the UC Botanical Garden, which is the spectacular home of one of the country's oldest, largest and most diverse plant collections.

UC Berkeley, Sungevity launch solar partnership

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 14:48
Striking another blow for sustainability, UC Berkeley has selected Sungevity, Inc., a leading global solar service based in Oakland, as its official solar energy partner for the next decade, campus officials announced today.

Streamlined cockroaches inspire highly maneuverable robots

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 10:53
Outfitting a robot with a rounded shell helps it scoot through clutter as easily as a cockroach, UC Berkeley researchers have found.

Environment takes big hit from water-intensive marijuana cultivation

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 09:00
The debate over the legalization of marijuana has focused primarily on questions of law, policy and health. But a new paper co-authored by UC Berkeley researchers shines a spotlight on the environmental damage caused by illegal marijuana plantations in sensitive watersheds.

Doudna and Charpentier share $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:48
UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna and microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany and of Umeå University in Sweden have received the 2015 Gruber Genetics Prize for their invention of a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas9, which has revolutionized the field of molecular genetics.

Controversial ‘Kennewick Man’ was an 8,500-year-old Native American

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 10:00
The discovery of an ancient human skeleton on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996 ignited a controversy when local Native Americans claimed the remains for reburial and scientists protested that they should first be studied. A new analysis of DNA from the bones by a team that includes IB professor Rasmus Nielsen concludes that the man probably was an ancestor of local tribes.

Humans’ built-in GPS is our 3-D sense of smell

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 11:00
Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information, new research shows. Similar investigations have been conducted on birds and rodents, but this is the first time smell-based navigation has been field-tested on humans. The results evoke a GPS-like superpower one could call an “olfactory positioning system.”

Oh Joy! Berkeley consults on ‘Inside Out’ emotions

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 09:00
UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner consulted on the new Pixar movie, 'Inside Out,' explaining the physiology and purpose of such emotions as joy, sadness, anger,fear and disgust that team up in the head of the main character, 11-year-old Riley.

Scientists use molecular ‘lock and key’ for potential control of GMOs

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 05:00
UC Berkeley researchers have developed a way to put bacteria under a molecular lock and key as a way to contain its accidental spread. The method involves a series of genetic mutations that render the microbe inactive unless the right molecule is added to enable its viability.

Why anti-depressants can make you itch

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 08:48
Anti-depressants, which prevent serotonin from being broken down, can also make people itch. UC Berkeley's Diana Bautista and Buck Institute investigators think they know why: at least in mice, there are itch receptors in the skin triggered by serotonin. The finding could lead to new anti-itch drugs.

Newfound groups of bacteria are mixing up the tree of life

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 08:00
Jill Banfield, professor of EPS and ESPM, and grad student Christopher Brown discovered a large number of new groups or phyla of bacteria, suggesting that the branches on the tree of life need some rearranging. The more than 35 new phyla equal in number all the plant and animal phyla combined.

World’s science journalists are coming to Berkeley in 2017

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 08:58
The 2017 meeting of the World Federation of Science Journalists will be held in San Francisco, co-hosted by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.