UC Berkeley Science News

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News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 46 min ago

Video Q&A: Lessons learned from Loma Prieta

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 14:39
As the 25th anniversary of Loma Prieta earthquake approaches, Professor Richard Allen sat down with the NewsCenter's video team to talk about the lessons learned from the 6.9-magnitude temblor. Allen is director of the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 08:51
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.

Scientists create new protein-based material with some nerve

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 02:00
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.

UC Berkeley/UCSF center to focus on aging, prion diseases

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 15:25
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.

Lab-coat distribution event promotes safety culture

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 16:06
Environment, Health and Safety is distributing lab coats and other personal-protective equipment to new lab researchers and staff Oct. 7 and 8 at the foot of the Campanile.

Moore Investigator grant to physicist Joe Orenstein to explore quantum materials

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 10:50
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.

Three UC Berkeley faculty to receive NIH Innovator Award

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 08:39
Three UC Berkeley scientists -- Nicholas Ingolia, Michi Taga and Roberto Zoncu -- have been recognized as innovators in their fields through new research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

Three faculty members awarded National Medal of Science

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 08:00
President Barack Obama has chosen three UC Berkeley faculty members - chemist Judith Klinman, applied mathematician Alexandre Chorin and the late statistician David Blackwelll - to receive the 2014 National Medal of Science. They were among 10 honorees announced Oct. 3 by the White House.

$4.5 million for big-data projects in ecology, astronomy, microscopy

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 12:00
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.

Ice Age fossils to get new digs in tower

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 10:00
The Campanile has been home for about 100 years to more than 20 tons of fossils from California tar pits. Storage for some of the dusty bones will be updated thanks to a much-needed grant.

Why we can’t tell a Hollywood heartthrob from his stunt double

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 09:00
Johnny Depp has an unforgettable face. Tony Angelotti, his stunt double in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” does not. So why is it that when they’re swashbuckling on screen, audiences worldwide see them both as the same person? UC Berkeley scientists have pinpointed the brain mechanism by which we latch on to a particular face even when it changes.

NIH awards UC Berkeley $7.2 million to advance brain initiative

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 06:57
The National Institutes of Health announced its first research grants through President Barack Obama's BRAIN Initiative, including 3 awards to UC Berkeley totaling nearly $7.2 million over 3 years. The White House also announced a $5.6 million private-public partnership between UC Berkeley and Carl Zeiss Microscopy to improve neural microscopy.

Three Bay Area institutions join forces to seed transformative brain research

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 08:52
As scientists rally around President Barack Obama's BRAIN Initiative, three Bay Area research institutions - UC Berkeley, UCSF and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab - have decided to invest in high-risk, high-gain projects that could jump-start our understanding of the brain. Six new interdisciplinary projects take advantage of new technology, in particular nanotech and optogenetics.

Berkeley and the making of Yosemite

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 17:00
Yosemite National Park would be something quite different were it not for UC Berkeley and its visionary scientists, alumni and leaders. That's the blue-and-gold current flowing through Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, a just-published e-book that brings to vivid life the first national park in celebration of its 150th birthday.

Shake your silk-maker: The dance of the peacock spider

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 10:27
The radio show "Science Friday" profiled UC Berkeley graduate student Madeline Girard and her study of peacock spiders, using Girard's amazing video of the rhythmic, disco-like courtship dances males employ to entice and placate females.

Berkeley’s ‘Rosetta Stone’ for fire science imperiled by Sierra blaze

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 14:18
Blodgett Research Forest, a key UC Berkeley research station, is under threat from the King Fire in El Dorado County. The 4,270-acre forest, located 56 miles east of Sacramento, is a critical site for a wide variety of research projects, including wildfire-management techniques. Nobody is watching developments with more interest than Berkeley's forest experts.

Media Advisory: Sept. 21 party to celebrate MAVEN spacecraft’s arrival at Mars

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:50
A celebration of the arrival at Mars of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft carrying four instruments built at the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.

Counting fish teeth reveals DNA changes behind rapid evolution

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:30
Threespine sticklebacks undergo rapid evolutionary change when they move from the ocean into freshwater, losing their armor and gaining more teeth in as little as 10 years. UC Berkeley biologist Craig Miller now shows that this rapid change results not from mutations in functional genes, but changes in regulatory DNA. He pinpoints a gene that could be responsible for jaw deformities in humans.

Human faces are so variable because we evolved to look unique

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:40
Why are human faces so variable compared to other animals? Berkeley biologists Michael Nachman & Michael Sheehan analyzed human faces and the genes that code for them and found a variability that could only be explained by selection for uniqueness, probably because of the importance of social interactions in human relationships and the need for all of us to be recognizable.

2014 Berkeley-Rupp Prize for boosting women in architecture, sustainability announced

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:00
Sheila Kennedy, an internationally recognized architect, innovator and educator, is the 2014 recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize. The award is given by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design to a design practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to advance gender equity in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and community.