UC Berkeley Science News

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News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

New super-resolution microscope empowers bioscientists

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 14:29
With a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the campus's Biological Imaging Facility is purchasing a structured-illumination microscope — an instrument so powerful it allows bioscientists to visualize the arrangement of proteins and magnetic particles inside bacteria.

Rep. Waxman to FERC: ‘Read UC Berkeley climate-change study’

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 08:30
In a Congressional hearing July 29, Congressman Henry Waxman had a rare chance to speak to all five sitting members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning climate change. He urged them to read a recent UC Berkeley report on FERC's authority to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and placed the report into the Congressional Record.

Paleontologist entices diverse students to dig her field

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 17:00
We love to see giant dinosaur fossils in museums, but microfossils are everywhere, geoscientist Lisa White tells school kids. An African-American woman in one of the least diverse scientific fields, White directs education and public programs at the Museum of Paleontology. Read California Magazine's profile.

Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths wins early career impact award

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 13:54
UC Berkeley cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths is the 2014 winner of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences Foundation's "Early Career Impact Award." The award recognizes scientists who have made major research contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.

Watching Schrodinger’s cat die

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:13
A famous quantum physics paradox states that a cat is both dead and alive until someone opens the box to find out. UC Berkeley scientists have demonstrated that you can actually watch the cat die (or live), providing new techniques for error correction in quantum computers.

Berkeley, Stanford biologists make foray into politics of climate change

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:19
BERKELEY — UC Berkeley biologist Anthony Barnosky’s 2012 Nature paper warning of an impending tipping point in Earth’s climate resonated with California Governor Jerry Brown, who called Barnosky out of the blue to ask his help in spreading the message to politicians and policy makers. As reported in the July 24 issue of Nature, Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology and member […]

Birthday bash to celebrate laser inventor Charles Townes’ 99th

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:47
Laser inventor and Nobel laureate Charles Hard Townes, professor emeritus of physics, turns 99 on Monday (July 28), and an adoring campus is throwing him a long-overdue birthday party. In a new video, he says he's still having fun with physics.

On Capitol Hill, Keasling calls for ‘national initiative’ to boost bioengineering

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 17:00
UC Berkeley professor and synthetic-biology pioneer Jay Keasling was on Capitol Hill Thursday, stressing the need for a federal strategy to ensure continued U.S. leadership in a field he said can yield significant medical benefits for people throughout the world, “and even save lives.”

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 10:00
UC Berkeley researchers are developing ultra-sensitive bomb detectors using tiny laser sensors. Experiments showed that the nanoscale plasmon sensors could detect airborne explosives at concentrations below one part per billion, a result that is much more sensitive than published results to date for other optical sensors.

Scientists enlist big data to guide conservation efforts

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 04:55
UC Berkeley's Brent Mishler and Australian colleagues have created a model of biodiversity that takes into account both the number and distribution of species and their evolutionary relationships in order to identify lineages that need preservation, in particular rare endemics.

Giant laser recreates extreme conditions inside planets

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:16
Using the world's largest laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility, scientists including UC Berkeley's Ray Jeanloz have created the extreme temperatures and pressures found inside planets like Jupiter. These experiments are vital for understanding how dirty, carbon-rich planets, including newly discovered exoplanets, formed.

Professor and nuclear chemist Heino Nitsche has died at 64

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 09:49
Heino Nitsche, professor of chemistry and LBNL senior scientist, passed away unexpectedly at home July 14. A native of Germany, Nitsche was a nuclear chemist who focused on the synthesis and chemistry of superheavy elements. He was part of a team that confirmed superheavy elements 114 and 117, so far unnamed

How posture and gestures affect state of mind

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 17:00
Most are aware of the mind-body connection — how mental processes can affect a person's physical state. But what about the reverse? Berkeley Wellness reports on how body position, posture, gestures, even facial expressions may influence how we think, feel and behave.

Berkeley seismologists tie Louisiana sinkhole to gas-charged quakes

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 16:09
UC Berkeley seismologists Doug Dreger and Avinash Nayak looked at seismic records of quakes that preceded the formation of a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne, La., in 2012, and determined that they came from strong underground gas discharges, which may have caused the collapse of a salt dome now flooded with water.

Extinct human cousin gave Tibetans advantage at high elevation

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 10:00
Tens of thousands of years ago, the common ancestors of Han Chinese and Tibetans interbred with a mysterious human-like group known as Denisovans and picked up a unique variant of a gene for hemoglobin regulation that later helped them adapt to a low-oxygen environment on the high Tibetan plateau, reports UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology Rasmus Nielsen.

Worm, fly development surprisingly similar, Berkeley study finds

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:00
Grad student Jingyi Jesscia Li, plant and microbial biology professor Steve Brenner and colleagues compared the genes activated during development in the early fruit fly and nematode (C. elegans) and found them to be surprisingly similar. Fruit flies actually use these genes twice, once during larval development and again during metamorphosis. The research is part of the modENCODE project.

Drunken monkeys: what animals tell us about our thirst for booze

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:15
Robert Dudley, an evolutionary physiologist and professor of integrative biology, discusses his new book, "The Drunken Monkey, Why we drink and abuse alcohol" (UC Press 2014). Dudley talks about his motivations for writing the book, the evidence that our attraction to alcohol is an evolutionary adaptation, and what this means for efforts to prevent alcohol abuse.

Berkeley a big part of new UC initiative on global food needs

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:45
The University of California is launching an initiative to marshal resources across the UC campuses — including Berkeley's 90 courses, 150 faculty and staff and multiple institutes and centers devoted to the study of agriculture and food — to address global food challenges.

Fact sheet on food/ag studies and research at UC Berkeley

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:34
UC Berkeley offers a wide array of programs and initiatives related to food and agriculture systems, encompassing many disciplines, departments, academic program areas, institutes, centers, student initiatives and services spanning the campus and the community. A fact sheet.

Blind lead the way in brave new world of tactile technology

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:00
Imagine feeling a slimy jellyfish, a prickly cactus or map directions on your iPad display. Virtual textured touchscreens are where tactile technology is headed. New research has found that people are faster at navigating tactile technology when using both hands and several fingers. Moreover, blind people in the study outmaneuvered their sighted counterparts.