UC Berkeley Science News
News from the University of California, Berkeley
Updated: 38 min 34 sec ago
Google Inc. has given $1 million to the UC’s Lick Observatory in what astronomer Alex Filippenko hopes is the first of many private gifts to support an invaluable teaching and research resource for the state. The funds will augment the $1.5 million the UC Office of the President gives annually to operate the mountaintop observatory for the 10-campus UC system.
Biomass conversion to electricity combined with new technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the Western United States by 2050. That prediction comes from an analysis by UC Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen and grad student Daniel Sanchez of the Energy and Resources Group.
The former city and now archaeological site called Cantona in the highlands east of Mexico City appears to have been abandoned nearly 1,000 years ago as a result of a prolonged dry spell that lasted about 650 years, according to a new study by geography graduate student Tripti Bhattacharya and professor Roger Byrne.
The flip side of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the energy time uncertainty principle, establishes a speed limit for transitions between two states. UC Berkeley physical chemists have now proved this principle for transitions between states that are not entirely distinct, allowing the calculation of speed limits for processes such as quantum computing and tunneling.
Thanks to historical data preserved in UC Berkeley's libraries, campus botanists have been able to compare tree survey data from the 1920s and '30s with forest service data today. They find a decline in large trees and an increase in the density of small trees in forests throughout the state. The large tree decline seems to be caused by water stress.
Is Earth at the dawn of a new geological epoch dominated by human-influenced geologic and environmental change? Anthony Barnosky is part of a group that proposes that this new era, called the Anthropocene, indeed began at the start of the nuclear era with the 1945 Trinity nuclear bomb test in New Mexico.
A tiny sliver of plutonium safely stored on the UC Berkeley campus is making news for its connection to a momentous point in history. Nuclear scientists have recently determined with near certainty that the plutonium was created by a team led by the late UC Berkeley chemist Glenn Seaborg as part of the Manhattan Project.
Two and a half million years ago, our hominin ancestors in the African savanna crafted rocks into shards that could slice apart a dead gazelle, zebra or other game animal. Over the next 700,000 years, this butchering technology spread throughout the continent and, it turns out, came to be a major evolutionary force, according to new research that combines the tools of psychology, evolutionary biology and archaeology.