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Live streaming of Breakthrough Prize symposia Nov. 10

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:13
Students, faculty and staff are invited to watch a streaming webcast of the Breakthrough Prize Symposia on Monday, Nov. 10, where more than 20 scientific luminaries will discuss the latest discoveries in fundamental physics, mathematics and the life sciences. UC Berkeley, Stanford and UC San Francisco are symposia partners.

UC reverses engines on Lick Observatory funding

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 15:22
UC has changed its mind and will continue funding the 126-year-old Lick Observatory, used by students, faculty and international scientists alike.

Synthetic biology could be big boost to interplanetary space travel

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 16:43
Amor Menezes of QB3 and Adam Arkin of bioengineering and Berkeley Lab argue that synthetic biology can assist in our travel to other planets, with genetically engineered microbes helping to produce fuel, food, medicines and building materials on site, so that astronauts do not have to carry all supplies from Earth.

Coexist or perish, wildfire analysis says

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:00
An international team of fire experts led by UC Berkeley's Max Moritz concluded that it is time to stop fighting fires and instead develop strategies to coexist with fire. For example, zoning and building codes and evacuation protocols should be developed to allow people to live with fire, just as they now live with earthquakes and tornadoes.

How important is long-distance travel in the spread of epidemics?

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 10:14
A new model of epidemic spread by biophysicists Oskar Hallatschek of UC Berkeley and Daniel Fisher of Stanford shows that how common long-range jumps are makes a big difference in the dispersal of a disease, that is, whether you get slow, rippling spread or metastatic spread.

Creating the coldest cubic meter in the universe

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 16:20
In an underground laboratory in Italy, an international team of scientists has created a cooled chamber about the size of a vending machine chilled to near absolute zero in preparation for an experiment that will study neutrinos, ghost-like particles that could hold the key to the existence of matter around us. UC Berkeley & LBNL physicist Yury Kolomensky is the team's U.S. spokesperson.

Physicist Marvin Cohen receives highest honor from Materials Research Society

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 15:44
The Materials Research Society has given solid state theorist Marvin L. Cohen its highest honor, the 2014 Von Hippel Award, Cohen, a professor of physics and LBNL scientist, is being recognized for “explaining and predicting properties of materials and for successfully predicting new materials using microscopic quantum theory.” He will receive the award Dec. 3 in Boston.

How do chemicals affect breast-cancer risk?

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:57
Improved testing of the multitude of chemicals we encounter daily will help us understand if and how these exposures contribute to development of breast cancer, says Megan Schwarzman, a research scientist at the School of Public Health's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. She and two coauthors offer commentary in the journal Reproductive Toxicology.

Physicist Hitoshi Murayama addresses UN on science and peace

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 09:24
In a keynote address at an Oct. 20 UN event highlighting the role of science in bridging nations, UC Berkeley physicist Hitoshi Murayama argued that "basic scientific research is a true peacemaker for humankind." The event celebrated the 60th anniversary of CERN. Murayama also is director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Tokyo.

New post-bac at Berkeley may be hottest ticket to grad school

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:00
Aaron Fisher was a nanny for a successful actor in Manhattan when he applied for a post-baccalaureate in psychology. Emily Becklund was working in L.A., as a personal assistant for the reality-TV Kardashian family, when she did the same. Today their academic dreams have converged at UC Berkeley, where Fisher just launched a post-bac, inspired by his own success.

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.