UC Berkeley Science News

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News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 7 min 22 sec ago

Students show off ‘autonomous vehicles’ at L.A. Drone Expo

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 15:53
UC Berkeley engineering students joined civil engineering professor Raja Sengupta at the first-ever Drone Expo in Los Angeles on Saturday, demonstrating their "unmanned autonomous vehicles" to a crowd of some 4,000 hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Berkeley innovators named fellows of National Academy of Inventors

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 11:17
Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, chemical engineer Jay Keasling and chemist Richard Mathies were among 170 people named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. The organization honors innovators who have file patents in the United States.

Study reveals resilience of Roman architectural concrete

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:30
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.

Scientists measure speedy electrons in silicon

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:00
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.

Mark Bittman’s menu to include UC Berkeley

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:00
Mark Bittman, popular food writer and New York Times columnist, will be a distinguished visiting fellow on campus during spring semester, collaborating with faculty, staff and students connected to the Berkeley Food Institute.

Food luminaries to light up spring semester

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:00
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

Can organic crops compete with industrial agriculture?

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 17:01
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.

Lick supernova search gets critical instrument upgrade

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:57
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.

New therapy holds promise for restoring vision

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 15:11
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."

Scientists detect brain network that gives humans superior reasoning skills

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 10:00
When it comes to getting out of a tricky situation, we humans have an evolutionary edge over other primates. UC Berkeley scientists have found mounting brain evidence that helps explain how humans have excelled at “relational reasoning,” a cognitive skill we use to solve problems.

Student searches for supernovas, secret to dark energy

Sat, 11/29/2014 - 17:00
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.

Dodging a sixth mass extinction

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 15:48
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.

‘Sleepless in America’ documentary to feature Berkeley research

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:00
UC Berkeley neuroscientist and sleep researcher Matthew Walker will be featured Nov. 30 in Sleepless in America, a documentary on the National Geographic Channel that lays out in gripping detail the perils of getting too little sleep.

New mushroom discovered on campus — the first since 1985

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:16
For the first time in 30 years, a new species of mushroom has been discovered on the UC Berkeley campus, to the delight of the researchers who found it. Else Vellinga and Nhu Nguyen, the researchers, named it Helvella dryophila,

National Medal of Science ceremony streamed live from White House Nov. 20

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:13
President Barack Obama will honor three UC Berkeley faculty members on Thursday, Nov. 20, at a White House ceremony for the 19 new winners of the National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology & Innovation.

Education professor Barbara White dies at age 64

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:07
Professor Barbara White, a faculty member at UC Berkeley for 25 years whose broad ranging academic background encompassed education, computer science, psychology, and mathematics, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 64.

$45 million in grants fund new cybersecurity centers at UC Berkeley, MIT and Stanford

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:30
Berkeley's new Center for Long-Term CyberSecurity will map out what the cybersecurity problem will mean a few years down the road, and to stimulate interdisciplinary research efforts that will make a difference in resolving the threat.

Foragers find bounty of edibles in urban food deserts

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:00
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.

Diana Bautista receives Young Investigator Award from neuroscience society

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:48
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.

Lightning expected to increase by 50 percent with global warming

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:00
UC Berkeley atmospheric scientist David Romps and his colleagues looked at predictions of precipitation and cloud buoyancy in 11 different climate models and concluded that global warming will generate 50 percent more lightning strikes across the U.S. by the end of the 21st century.