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What if robots had whiskers?

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 08:58
Researchers with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have created e-whiskers – highly sensitive tactile sensors made from carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles that should have a wide range of applications including advanced robotics, human-machine interfaces, and biological and environmental sensors.

Urging women in physics to stay in physics

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 23:00
UC Berkeley, LBNL and LLNL are hosting the 2014 West Coast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, a three-day event designed to encourage attendees to pursue careers in a field where women are still a minority.

Eel River Observatory seeks clues to watershed’s future

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 01/15/2014 - 09:40
UC Berkeley geologists, ecologists and engineers are embarking on a five-year, $5 million project to study the Eel River watershed. Their goal: to try to understand and predict how its vegetation, geology and topography affect water flow all along its path to the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists to monitor California kelp for Fukushima radiation

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 15:51
Researchers from Cal State-Long Beach, Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have launched “Kelp Watch 2014,” a scientific campaign to determine the extent of radioactive contamination of the state’s kelp forest from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

Q&A with Claude Steele

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 09:15
An experienced administrator as well as a teacher and scholar, Steele was provost at Columbia University from 2009 to 2011, when he returned to Stanford to become dean of its Graduate School of Education. Steele met with the NewsCenter to discuss his work, his life and his future at UC Berkeley.

Sanjay Kumar and Niren Murthy get Keck grant for cancer cell research

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 17:00
Bioengineering professors Sanjay Kumar and Niren Murthy have been awarded $500,000 from the W.M. Keck Foundation to help improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain cancer. The researchers will focus on identifying the protein "fingerprints" that characterize glioblastoma tumors.

Symposium spotlights clean-technology solutions

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 10:45
Through the Cleantech to Market program, scientists and students are working together to bring new, environmentally friendly innovations to the world.

Study dispels theories of Y chromosome’s demise

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 01/09/2014 - 15:00
Berkeley population geneticists Melissa Wilson Sayres and Rasmus Nielsen compared the Y chromosome in eight African and eight European men and found that its puny size resulted from strong natural selection to remove harmful genes, not because it is losing its importance and likely to disappear.

Science magazine calls Berkeley discoveries top breakthroughs of 2013

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:30
Science magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 2013 – cancer immunotherapy – emerged from work conducted at UC Berkeley in the 1990s by James Allison, while a 2012 UC Berkeley discovery by Jennifer Doudna was named one of nine runners-up for the annual honor.

4 million-year-old ‘Ardi’ fossil more human than ape, study confirms

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 17:00
Ever since Tim White & his team reported the discovery of Ardipithicus ramidus in 1994, anthropologists have debated whether the 4 million-year-old creature was an ape with human features or a human ancestor retaining some ape-like features. A detailed analysis of the fossils by White & William Kimbel of the Institute of Human Origins confirms that it belongs to the human lineage.

Galaxy teems with sub-Neptune planets that are missing in our own solar system

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 12:11
UC Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy led a large team of Kepler space telescope scientists in analyzing data on newly discovered exoplanets, three-quarters of which are in a size range - larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune - that is missing in our solar system.

Suburban sprawl cancels carbon-footprint savings of dense urban cores

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 11:23
Interactive carbon-footprint maps developed by UC Berkeley researchers show that while population-dense U.S. cities contribute lower greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, these cities' extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.

‘How global warming works,’ in 35 words, or 52 seconds

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 01/03/2014 - 15:08
A nutshell description, or a super-short video, can be a powerful tool in helping people understand the science behind global warming, says Michael Ranney, a cognitive psychologist at the Graduate School of Education. Ranney and his research team recently published five short explanatory videos (one just 52 seconds long), which quickly went viral.