Feed aggregator

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.

Berkeley’s ‘Rosetta Stone’ for fire science imperiled by Sierra blaze

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 14:18
Blodgett Research Forest, a key UC Berkeley research station, is under threat from the King Fire in El Dorado County. The 4,270-acre forest, located 56 miles east of Sacramento, is a critical site for a wide variety of research projects, including wildfire-management techniques. Nobody is watching developments with more interest than Berkeley's forest experts.

Media Advisory: Sept. 21 party to celebrate MAVEN spacecraft’s arrival at Mars

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:50
A celebration of the arrival at Mars of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft carrying four instruments built at the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.

Counting fish teeth reveals DNA changes behind rapid evolution

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:30
Threespine sticklebacks undergo rapid evolutionary change when they move from the ocean into freshwater, losing their armor and gaining more teeth in as little as 10 years. UC Berkeley biologist Craig Miller now shows that this rapid change results not from mutations in functional genes, but changes in regulatory DNA. He pinpoints a gene that could be responsible for jaw deformities in humans.

Human faces are so variable because we evolved to look unique

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:40
Why are human faces so variable compared to other animals? Berkeley biologists Michael Nachman & Michael Sheehan analyzed human faces and the genes that code for them and found a variability that could only be explained by selection for uniqueness, probably because of the importance of social interactions in human relationships and the need for all of us to be recognizable.

2014 Berkeley-Rupp Prize for boosting women in architecture, sustainability announced

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:00
Sheila Kennedy, an internationally recognized architect, innovator and educator, is the 2014 recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize. The award is given by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design to a design practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to advance gender equity in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and community.

Lessons for saving our forests

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:01
UC Berkeley professor Scott Stephens lost 400 research sites in last year's Sierra Nevada Rim Fire, but the harm to the forest ecosystem is incalculable. Now fires are raging again in Yosemite. Stephens offered advice on how to reduce future catastrophes, in a NewsCenter story that first ran in October 2013; it is reposted here.

Changing how we farm can save evolutionary diversity, study suggests

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:00
A new study by biologists at Stanford University and UC Berkeley highlights the dramatic hit on evolutionary diversity when forests are transformed into agricultural lands. The findings point to using diversified farming as a way to preserve the evolutionary history embodied in wildlife.

Follow noon TweetChat with Janssen Award winner Jennifer Doudna

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 08:30
Johnson & Johnson will host a TweetChat featuring Jennifer Doudna (@UCBerkeleyNews) and Emmanuel Charpentier from noon to 1 p.m. Wed., Sept. 10, on the occasion of their receiving the 2014 Janssen Award in Biomedical Research. The chat will be moderated by former Scientific American Editor-in-Chief John Rennie. Follow @JNJInnovation and submit questions using the hashtag #DPJAward.

Biologists try to dig endangered pupfish out of its hole

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 02:00
A UC Berkeley biologist is giving important guidance in the efforts to rescue a critically endangered fish found only in Devils Hole, about 60 miles east of Death Valley National Park. It is estimated that fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish remain. Considered the world's rarest fish, the wild pupfish faces a 28 to 32 percent risk of extinction over the next 20 years.

Bakar research fellows make their case in Silicon Valley

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 17:00
Sixteen faculty members from UC Berkeley's Bakar Fellows Program recently took their research ideas to Sand Hill Road — the heart of Silicon Valley's venture capital community — for a coveted meeting with some of the nation's top angel investors.

Study links honesty to prefrontal region of the brain

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 13:50
Lead author of new study linking honesty to a certain region of the brain says the findings have significant implications for understanding social interaction and cooperation within business organizations and beyond.

Shining light on brain circuits to study learning, memory

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 08:05
NSF has given Ehud Isacoff, director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, $300,000 over two years to develop a new technology that uses light to tweak the synapses of brain cells to determine how they process information during learning and memory.

Can UC’s Lick Observatory be saved?

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 14:55
"I’m fighting in part for the next generation," says UC Berkeley Professor of Astronomy Alex Filippenko in a Daily Californian feature on the future of UC's Lick Observatory, near San Jose. UC Office of the President recently announced it plans to phase out funding for the facility by 2018.

Chemist and Manhattan Project alum Robert Connick has died at 97

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:00
Chemistry professor emeritus Robert E. Connick, who studied the chemistry of plutonium while working on the Manhattan Project during World War II, died peacefully at his home in Kensington on Aug. 21. He was 97.

Flapping baby birds offer clues to origin of flight

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:30
The origin of flight is a contentious issue: Some argue that dinosaurs climbed trees and learned to fly in order to avoid hard falls, others that birds ran along the ground and pumped their forelimbs to gain lift, eventually taking off. New evidence from UC Berkeley biologists favors the tree-dweller hypothesis.

John Harte: A whole-Earth approach

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:58
Symmetry magazine profiles John Harte, professor of energy and resources, who applies his physics background to deep questions of ecology and work to save the planet.

10-second alert: the view from the Berkeley Seismo Lab

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:10
Scientists at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory were alerted 5-10 seconds before Sunday morning's 6.0 magnitude temblor on the Napa Fault, courtesy of the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system.

Girls in Engineering program launches

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 17:00
Berkeley Engineering has been hosting 60 fifth, sixth and seventh-graders in a new Girls in Engineering camp this summer. The program seeks to inspire middle-school girls to explore careers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).

Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from interstellar space

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:58
UC Berkeley physicist Andrew Westphal led a team of scientists and citizen-scientists — through Stardust@home — in analyzing dust collected by the Stardust spacecraft in 2004, and reports finding seven dust particles that probably came from interstellar space. These may be the first confirmed visitors from another star.