UC Berkeley Science News
News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 7 min 22 sec ago
An international research team studying the mortar used to build such Roman architectural marvels as the Pantheon, Trajan’s Markets and the Colosseum has found a secret to the material's resilience. Led by scientists at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab, the team found that as the mortar cures, it forms a crystalline binding hydrate that prevents microcracks from propagating.
Attosecond lasers provide the shortest light pulses yet, allowing observation of nature’s most short-lived events. Berkeley researchers have used these lasers for the first time to take snapshots of electrons jumping from silicon atoms into the conduction band of a semiconductor, the key event behind the transistor.
The Berkeley Food Institute is drawing food and agriculture experts to campus from across the country to address challenges and find solutions to problems in the food sector. Among the luminaries headed to campus this spring is New York Times columnist and writer Mark Bittman, who will co-host the popular Edible Education 101 course. Also: Q&A with Mark Bittman
An analysis of 115 studies comparing organic and conventional farming finds that the crop yields of organic agriculture are higher than previously thought. Researchers also found that taking into account methods that optimize the productivity of organic agriculture could minimize the yield gap between organic and conventional farming.
The Kast spectrograph on the 3-meter Shane Telescope at UC's Lick Observatory will receive a much-needed upgrade thanks to a $350,000 donation by the Kast family & the Heising-Simons Foundation. Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko says the upgrade will help the automated supernova search in the quest to understand dark energy & the accelerating expansion of the universe.
A new genetic therapy developed by UC Berkeley scientists has not only helped blind mice regain light sensitivity sufficient to distinguish flashing from non-flashing lights, but also restored light response to the retinas of dogs, setting the stage for future clinical trials of the therapy in humans. The therapy involves inserting photoswitches into retinal cells that are normally "blind."
Graduate student Danny Goldstein created a computer algorithm that can sort through thousands of 570-megapixel images taken each night in search of tiny points of light indicating a distant supernova explosion. He created the algorithm, which runs on the Energy Department'’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Berkeley Lab, for the Dark Energy Survey.
Integrative biology professor Anthony Barnosky not only has a new book out, Dodging Extinction, but also appears in a new documentary airing Nov. 30 on the Smithsonian Channel. The film, Mass Extinction, Life at the Brink, also features UC Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez and Barnosky's wife, Stanford ecologist Elizabeth Hadly.
Urban residents in neighborhoods lacking stores with fresh, affordable produce need to look no further than their own yards to find wild edibles to add to the dinner table. Two Berkeley professors and a team of students are foraging in three East Bay communities as part of a unique project that is surveying, logging data, testing soil and aiming to educate neighborhoods about the value of these greens.
The Society for Neuroscience presented a Young Investigator Award to Diana Bautista, UC Berkeley assistant professor of integrative biology, at its annual meeting Nov. 17 in Washington, DC. The $15,000 award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions by young neuroscientists who have recently received advanced professional degree.