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Randy Schekman named to Institute of Medicine

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 09:36
Nobelist Randy Schekman, a UC Berkeley professor of cell and developmental biology, has been named to the prestigious Institute of Medicine, one of the highest national honors in the fields of health and medicine.

POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 05:30
The POLARBEAR experiment, directed by UC Berkeley physicist Adrian Lee, is studying the B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation. He hopes to determine the structure of matter in the universe, the masses of neutrinos and the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

Campus mourns the loss of David Wessel, pioneer in music and science

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:40
David L. Wessel, who forged new territory in the arena of cognitive science, computer programming and music, has died at the age of 72. He was a leader in the campus's Center for New Music and Audio Technology and its music department.

New front in war on Alzheimer’s, other protein-folding diseases

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 11:00
Many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, have been linked to the accumulation of improperly folded proteins in the brain. How they collect is a mystery, but Andrew Dillin and his lab have found a new mechanism cells use to prevent misfolding that could lead to new types of therapies for these diseases.

MAVEN spacecraft begins exploration of climate change on Mars

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:00
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft settled into its planned orbit around Mars on Sept. 21 and is already sending back data about the upper atmosphere, according to UC Berkeley space scientist Davin Larson. The instrument Larson helped build detected a flux of solar energetic particles on Sept. 29.

Video Q&A: Lessons learned from Loma Prieta

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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

UC Berkeley Science News - 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.