UC Berkeley Science News
News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.