UC Berkeley Science News

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News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

Major milestone for Richmond Bay Campus

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 11:07
The promise of a gleaming waterfront Richmond Bay Campus grew brighter last week, as the UC regents signed off on an ambitious proposal to expand research collaborations between UC Berkeley, LBNL and private industry — and bring sorely needed employment opportunities to surrounding communities.

Discovery of how Taxol works could lead to better anticancer drugs

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 08:54
A team led by biophysicist Eva Nogales has discovered how Taxol, one of the most widely used anticancer drugs, works. The finding could lead to better drugs to attack a variety of fast-growing cancers.

Search for extraterrestrial intelligence gets hearing on Hill

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 15:51
Dan Werthimer, who directs Berkeley's new SETI Research Center, summarized current efforts to search for extraterrestrial intelligence at a May 21 hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Observations confirm link between massive stars and weird supernovas

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 12:54
Nearly three decades ago, UC Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko observed a weird supernova that puzzled him and his colleagues. Some theorized that it was caused by the explosion of an aged but massive star called a Wolf-Rayet star. A supernova observed last year confirms this suspicion.

Central Valley groundwater depletion raises Sierra and may trigger small earthquakes

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 10:04
The weight of water pumped from California's agricultural heartland, the Central Valley, over the past 150 years was enough to allow Earth's crust to rebound upward, raising surrounding mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, some six inches. Winter rains and summer pumping cause annual up and down movements that could affect earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault.

Top graduating senior makes a splash in water policy

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 02:00
Rebecca Peters’ IQ score measured so low in fourth grade that her school did not deem her to be college material. Her parents didn’t buy it, and neither did she. Today she's a diehard clean-water-access warrior, the winner of three of America's top 10 scholarships -- and UC Berkeley's top graduating senior Also: University Medal runners-up find ‘turning point’ at Berkeley

Polar bear genome gives new insight into adaptations to high-fat diet

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 09:25
The polar bear diverged from the brown bear, or grizzly, as recently as several hundred thousand years ago, according to a genome comparison by UC Berkeley, Chinese and Danish researchers. They pinpointed genes involved in fat metabolism that could provide insights that will help humans deal with health problems caused by high-fat diets.

New in ‘Breakthroughs’ from CNR: Food banks shift to better nutrition, UC team stamps out fires, and more

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 11:53
Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health reports that America's food banks are making progress in their efforts to give out more fresh, healthful foods, according to the College of Natural Resources' new edition of Breakthroughs magazine, which also features articles on a UC team fighting fires, the "king of quinoa" and more.

Kelp study finds no ocean-borne Fukushima radiation

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 10:30
Initial results from Kelp Watch 2014, a project that tests kelp along the western U.S. coast for signs of radioactive seawater, has found no signs of ocean-borne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. The project is a collaborative effort led by researchers at California State University, Long Beach, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley.

Study says green buildings don’t create happier workers, yet

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 15:33
People working in buildings certified under LEED’s green building standard appear no more satisfied with their indoor workplaces than those in conventional buildings, new research finds.

Seismic early-warning: What Mexico has, California is lacking

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 11:55
Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Romania, Turkey and several other nations in seismically active areas operate early-warning systems, but not the United States, notes "Seismo Blog" at UC Berkeley's Seismological Laboratory.

Chemist Robert Bergman wins 2014 Welch Award

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 10:57
Chemistry professor Robert Bergman has been named the 2014 recipient of the Welch Award in Chemical Research for “pioneering work in alkane activation and mechanisms of organometallic reactions.”

Research on the literal edge of 2D semiconductors

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:05
Researchers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have recorded the first observations of a strong nonlinear optical resonance along the edges of single layers of molybdenum disulfide. The existence of these edge states is key to the use of molybdenum disulfide in nanoelectronics, as well as a catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction in fuel cells, desulfurization and other chemical reactions.

Astronomers check prescription of cosmic lens

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:00
Physicist Saul Perlmutter led one of two large teams of astronomers who discovered distant supernovas lensed through massive galaxies. The discoveries offer an unprecedented opportunity for astronomers to study these gravitational lenses, which are used to provide a magnified view of the remote universe.

Bottom-up model predicts depth to fresh bedrock under hillslopes

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 10:17
When estimating runoff and erosion on hillslopes, most scientists consider only the soil. But the weathered bedrock underneath may play an equally important role in channeling water, nourishing plants and shaping the landscape, according to Berkeley geologists William Dietrich and Daniella Rempe.

Among wasps, bigger eyes evolved the better to see social cues

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 14:00
Some paper wasps have variable facial patterns recognized by their sister wasps. Postdoc Michael Sheehan has now shown that these wasps developed better vision in order to read these social cues.

UC drought summit dives deep in state Capitol

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:15
California is prone to droughts, some lasting 50 years. Given that reality, the state needs to get the most out of every drop of rainfall, UC experts said at a daylong summit in Sacramento April 25.

Five faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 10:12
Mathematicians Richard Borcherds and L. Craig Evans, statistician Bin Yu, molecular biologist Richard Harland and population geneticist Montgomery Slatkin were elected this month to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), bringing to 139 the total number of NAS members at UC Berkeley.

Study shows how Brazilian cattle ranching policies can reduce deforestation

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:00
A new study by UC Berkeley researchers and international collaborators finds that policies to support sustainable cattle ranching practices in Brazil could put a big dent in the beef and food industry's greenhouse gas impact by reducing deforestation.

Berkeley discovery named one of year’s 10 key breakthrough technologies

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 07:57
The magazine Technology Review named genome editing, invented by UC Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues, as one of 2014's top 10 technological breakthroughs. The magazine wrote that "the ability to create primates with intentional mutations could provide powerful new ways to study complex and genetically baffling brain disorders."