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Antimalarial drug based on Berkeley technology shipped to Africa

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:09
The road from lab bench to market can be long, but UC Berkeley's Jay Keasling has been patient. Thirteen years after he discovered how to make an antimalarial drug in microbes, the product - the world's first semisynthetic antimalarial drug - has been shipped from Italy to Africa to bolster the fight against this killer disease.

Botanist Alan Smith receives award for lifetime work on ferns

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:38
The American Society of Plant Taxonomists awarded Alan R. Smith, emeritus research botanist of the University Herbarium, its 2014 Asa Gray Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of plant systematics. Smith is an expert on ferns from around the world and is widely recognized as the greatest living student of fern diversity and the undisputed expert of fern identification.

A hellacious two weeks on Jupiter’s moon Io

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:00
During a yearlong series of observations of Jupiter's volcanically active moon, Io, UC Berkeley astronomers Imke de Pater and graduate student Katherine de Kleer observed within a two week period three of the largest outbursts ever observed on the moon, all probably involving lava erupting through fissures in curtains of fire. They used the Keck and Gemini telescopes in Hawaii.

Global economic losses from cyclones linger for decades, study finds

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 09:30
A new study co-authored by a UC Berkeley public policy professor debunks the idea that cyclones have no long-term, lasting economic impacts, and suggests the urgent need for revamping disaster policy around the world.

Berkeley to host international neuroscience database to speed brain discoveries

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 08:19
UC Berkeley, a partner in "Neurodata Without Borders," will host a neuroscience database to make the digital information more usable and accessible and accelerate the pace of discoveries about the brain in health and disease. The work is funded by the Kavli Foundation, GE, HHMI and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

New super-resolution microscope empowers bioscientists

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 14:29
With a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the campus's Biological Imaging Facility is purchasing a structured-illumination microscope — an instrument so powerful it allows bioscientists to visualize the arrangement of proteins and magnetic particles inside bacteria.

Rep. Waxman to FERC: ‘Read UC Berkeley climate-change study’

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 07/31/2014 - 08:30
In a Congressional hearing July 29, Congressman Henry Waxman had a rare chance to speak to all five sitting members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning climate change. He urged them to read a recent UC Berkeley report on FERC's authority to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and placed the report into the Congressional Record.

Paleontologist entices diverse students to dig her field

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 17:00
We love to see giant dinosaur fossils in museums, but microfossils are everywhere, geoscientist Lisa White tells school kids. An African-American woman in one of the least diverse scientific fields, White directs education and public programs at the Museum of Paleontology. Read California Magazine's profile.

Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths wins early career impact award

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 13:54
UC Berkeley cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths is the 2014 winner of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences Foundation's "Early Career Impact Award." The award recognizes scientists who have made major research contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.

Watching Schrodinger’s cat die

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:13
A famous quantum physics paradox states that a cat is both dead and alive until someone opens the box to find out. UC Berkeley scientists have demonstrated that you can actually watch the cat die (or live), providing new techniques for error correction in quantum computers.

Berkeley, Stanford biologists make foray into politics of climate change

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:19
BERKELEY — UC Berkeley biologist Anthony Barnosky’s 2012 Nature paper warning of an impending tipping point in Earth’s climate resonated with California Governor Jerry Brown, who called Barnosky out of the blue to ask his help in spreading the message to politicians and policy makers. As reported in the July 24 issue of Nature, Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology and member […]

Birthday bash to celebrate laser inventor Charles Townes’ 99th

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:47
Laser inventor and Nobel laureate Charles Hard Townes, professor emeritus of physics, turns 99 on Monday (July 28), and an adoring campus is throwing him a long-overdue birthday party. In a new video, he says he's still having fun with physics.

On Capitol Hill, Keasling calls for ‘national initiative’ to boost bioengineering

UC Berkeley Science News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 17:00
UC Berkeley professor and synthetic-biology pioneer Jay Keasling was on Capitol Hill Thursday, stressing the need for a federal strategy to ensure continued U.S. leadership in a field he said can yield significant medical benefits for people throughout the world, “and even save lives.”

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity

UC Berkeley Science News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 10:00
UC Berkeley researchers are developing ultra-sensitive bomb detectors using tiny laser sensors. Experiments showed that the nanoscale plasmon sensors could detect airborne explosives at concentrations below one part per billion, a result that is much more sensitive than published results to date for other optical sensors.

Scientists enlist big data to guide conservation efforts

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 04:55
UC Berkeley's Brent Mishler and Australian colleagues have created a model of biodiversity that takes into account both the number and distribution of species and their evolutionary relationships in order to identify lineages that need preservation, in particular rare endemics.

Giant laser recreates extreme conditions inside planets

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:16
Using the world's largest laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility, scientists including UC Berkeley's Ray Jeanloz have created the extreme temperatures and pressures found inside planets like Jupiter. These experiments are vital for understanding how dirty, carbon-rich planets, including newly discovered exoplanets, formed.

Professor and nuclear chemist Heino Nitsche has died at 64

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 09:49
Heino Nitsche, professor of chemistry and LBNL senior scientist, passed away unexpectedly at home July 14. A native of Germany, Nitsche was a nuclear chemist who focused on the synthesis and chemistry of superheavy elements. He was part of a team that confirmed superheavy elements 114 and 117, so far unnamed

How posture and gestures affect state of mind

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 17:00
Most are aware of the mind-body connection — how mental processes can affect a person's physical state. But what about the reverse? Berkeley Wellness reports on how body position, posture, gestures, even facial expressions may influence how we think, feel and behave.

Berkeley seismologists tie Louisiana sinkhole to gas-charged quakes

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 16:09
UC Berkeley seismologists Doug Dreger and Avinash Nayak looked at seismic records of quakes that preceded the formation of a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne, La., in 2012, and determined that they came from strong underground gas discharges, which may have caused the collapse of a salt dome now flooded with water.

Extinct human cousin gave Tibetans advantage at high elevation

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 10:00
Tens of thousands of years ago, the common ancestors of Han Chinese and Tibetans interbred with a mysterious human-like group known as Denisovans and picked up a unique variant of a gene for hemoglobin regulation that later helped them adapt to a low-oxygen environment on the high Tibetan plateau, reports UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology Rasmus Nielsen.