It’s tough to rustle up a new story about the most written-about restaurant in Berkeley, but California Magazine has dipped deep into the Chez Panisse archive at the Bancroft Library and come up with a fascinating look at its early days.
Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) researchers have developed computer assisted design (CAD)-type tools for engineering RNA components to control genetic expression in microbes. This holds enormous potential for microbial-based production of advanced biofuels, biodegradable plastics, therapeutic drugs and a host of other goods now derived from petrochemicals.
One of the most vexing challenges in the battle against dengue virus, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne virus, is that getting infected once can put people at greater risk for a more severe infection down the road. A new study with UC Berkeley researchers details how the interaction between a person’s immune response and a subsequent dengue infection could mean the difference between getting a mild fever and going into a fatal circulatory failure.
UC Berkeley scientists Jack Gallant and Shinji Nishimoto have wowed the world by using brain scans and computer modeling to reconstruct images of what we see when we’re watching movies. UC Berkeley broadcast manager Roxanne Makasdjian has produced a video of how they achieved this breakthrough, and where they’re headed.
A Single Cell Endoscope: Berkeley Researchers Use Nanophotonics for Optical Look Inside Living Cells
Berkeley researchers have developed a nanowire endoscope that can provide high-resolution optical images of the interior of a single living cell, or precisely deliver genes, proteins, therapeutic drugs or other cargo without injuring or damaging the cell.
Berkeley Lab study identifies steps that can deliver significant savings on home energy bills for middle-income households.
Computer science graduate student Aditi Muralidharan has developed a sophisticated text-analyzing tool that could speed literary searches for humanities scholars and other researchers.
Emotional differences between the rich and poor, as depicted in such Charles Dickens classics as “A Christmas Carol” and “A Tale of Two Cities,” may have a scientific basis. Researchers at UC Berkeley have found that people in the lower socio-economic classes are more physiologically attuned to suffering, and quicker to express compassion than their more affluent counterparts.
Those old or unpartnered socks clogging up your sock drawer are wanted by a Berkeley-led team of wildlife scientists studying the rare and elusive Pacific fisher in its Sierra habitat. Meat-stuffed socks are catnip to the furry little weasels, and chewing through the socks keeps them around long enough to be photographed. The project goes through 2,000 socks a year, so the researchers are appealing for sock donations.
Luke Lee, professor of bioengineering and co-director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center, gets nearly $1.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a portable microfluidic chip that can be used to diagnose multiple infectious diseases, such as HIV, TB and malaria, at the same time.
Thanks to images obtained over the past nine years by the Hubble Space Telescope, UC Berkeley astronomers were able to narrow down the identity of the companion star to a supernova first observed in August. It was not a bright red giant or helium star, but probably a more modest star like the sun, a subgiant or even a white dwarf.
Astronomers led by UC Berkeley’s Reinhard Genzel, also of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, have observed a cloud of gas several times the mass of Earth approaching the 4.3 million solar-mass black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Theorist Eliot Quataert calculates that the cloud will not survive the encounter, but will be heated and shredded in 2013.
Trees are dying in Africa’s Sahel, and human-caused climate change is to blame, according to a new study led by a scientist at UC Berkeley. Using climate change records, aerial and satellite images and field data, researchers found that one in five tree species disappeared in the past half-century. They attribute the tree deaths to the historic drops in rainfall and increased temperatures in the region.
UC Berkeley neuroscientist John Ngai and colleagues have discovered a genetic trigger that makes the nose renew its smell sensors, providing hope for new therapies for people who have lost their sense of smell due to trauma or old age.
Could cultivating dense fields of weeds help mitigate climate change by soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Berkeley scientists Dennis Baldocchi and Whendee Silver are exploring that possibility in California’s agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley. National Public Radio reports.
A nurse refuses to help an ailing alcoholic who is upset to find a hospital detox unit closed. A hospital clerk brushes off a deceased woman’s grieving family as they try to pay her bills and claim her belongings. A charge nurse keeps the mother of gunshot victim from seeing her son, saying the emergency room is “too busy.” These harsh, real-life scenarios helped inspire Eve Ekman, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in social welfare, to study empathy burnout in the workplace, a condition expected to skyrocket this year due to the stress caused by the nation’s financial crisis.
Leaders from academia, government and industry gathered at UC Berkeley Monday to discuss partnership strategies to re-establish the United States as a global leader in advanced manufacturing.
UC Berkeley astronomer Chung-Pei Ma, graduate student Nicholas McConnell and colleagues have discovered the largest black holes to date ‑- two monsters with masses equivalent to 10 billion suns that are threatening to consume anything, even light, within a region five times the size of our solar system.
A report co-released by the International Human Rights Law Clinic calls on Cambodia’s UN-backed tribunal to grant reparations to victims of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Three Berkeley Law students helped author the report, “Victims’ Right to Remedy.”
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded $6 million to three West Coast universities to create a prototype earthquake early warning system for the Pacific Coast of the United States.
Jay Keasling and his colleagues at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered bacteria to turn switchgrass – a hard to digest plant – into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This could vastly reduce the cost of producing plant-based fuels to replace fuels from oil and coal.
They say time heals all wounds, and new research from UC Berkeley indicates that time spent in dream sleep can help. UC Berkeley researchers have found that during the dream phase of sleep, also known as REM sleep, our stress chemistry shuts down and the brain processes emotional experiences and takes the painful edge off difficult memories.
When the dinner menu includes endangered species, human nutritional needs must contend with efforts to manage wildlife resources, according to a new UC Berkeley study. Researchers estimate that a loss of access to bushmeat as a source of food would lead to a 29 percent jump in the number of children suffering from anemia.
The University of California will double the size of its research forests as a result of a land donation approved Nov. 16 in Sacramento. The transfer is the largest single acquisition of forestland in the University’s history.
The College of Engineering at Berkeley is partnering with the Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park to develop a platform for expanding industrial and academic research collaborations in Asia and fostering global learning opportunities with Berkeley students.
Honey bees get most of the buzz, but some native bees are better at spreading pollen. Berkeley biologists Gordon Frankie and Claire Kremmen say that natives may hold the solution to world pollination problems that affect important crops.
There’s definitely something to be said for first impressions. New research from UC Berkeley suggests it can take just 20 seconds to detect whether a stranger is genetically inclined to being trustworthy, kind or compassionate. See if you can guess which people shown in the video have the empathy gene.
Devices that create ionized plasmas could be life-savers in the developing world or on the battlefield, providing an inexpensive way to sterilize water and medical instruments.
UC Berkeley-led researchers have found a dramatic one-third reduction in severe pneumonia diagnoses among children in homes with smoke-reducing chimneys on their cookstoves. Reducing wood smoke could have a major impact on the burden of pneumonia, the leading cause of child mortality in the world, the researchers said. A separate pilot study also found a link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and poorer performance in markers for IQ among school-aged children.
How to feed a fast-growing world where 900 million people are undernourished? Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist, sees traditional, sustainable practices as the solution. She and a group of Berkeley colleagues are establishing a new Berkeley Center for Diversified Farming Systems to find ways to scale up agroecological practices around the globe. A special report from the College of Natural Resources.
Ever wonder how birds are able to fly in the rain? Robert Dudley and Victor Ortega-Jimenez showed that hummingbirds shake their heads with 34 g’s of force, much like a dog flings off water. But hummingbirds do this in flight in the heaviest downpour without losing control.
In 2005, Charlie Huizenga and two UC Berkeley MBA graduates started Adura Technologies to install energy efficient wireless lighting systems in buildings. Their technology, based on innovations by UC Berkeley architects and engineers, has significantly reduced lighting costs in more than 2 million square feet of public and private buildings, including UC Berkeley’s undergraduate library.
School of Information professor Marti Hearst predicts the future of online search interfaces in an article in “Communications of the ACM.” According to Hearst, “user interfaces will involve support for natural human interaction.”
Newly minted Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter is among the physicists and astronomers interviewed in the premier episode of a four-part NOVA series, “The Fabric of the Cosmos,” which aired November 2, 2011 on PBS stations around the country. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the one-hour episode was viewed on KQED-TV at 9 p.m.
David Graves, UC Berkeley professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is experimenting with low-temperature plasmas as a way to remove tenacious infectious molecules, such as the prions that cause mad cow disease, from surgical instruments. He hopes low-cost plasma devices can be used in developing countries to sterilize water, wounds and medical supplies.
What drives addicts to choose drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, overeating or kleptomania — despite the risks? Campus neuroscientists have pinpointed the locations in the brain where calculations are made that can result in addictive and compulsive behavior. Their astonishing findings could lead to improved treatments for many addictions and disorders.
The deep cultural ties that bind UC Berkeley and Norway inspired a call-to-action for greater collaboration on global energy challenges at the launch of Transatlantic Science Week 2011.
Watching a scary movie can motivate you to sell your stocks earlier than you would have otherwise. That’s the frightening evidence shown in a series of studies from the Haas Marketing Group.
A statewide survey by researchers at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science indicates that elementary school teachers don’t have the time or training to adequately teach science. “High quality science learning opportunities are only available in about 10 percent of California elementary school classrooms on a regular basis,” says lead researcher Rena Dorph.
UC Berkeley graduate student Greg Goldsmith may have his head in the clouds, but he is firmly grounded in the reality of global warming and the danger it poses to the Central American cloud forests he loves. He developed an elementary school curriculum as a way to help save them.
Record attendance at last week’s fifth-annual Energy Symposium at UC Berkeley demonstrated the swelling interest among students on campus and nationwide in bridging the gap between universities’ renewable energy research and the private sector.
UC Berkeley’s Solar Vehicle Team, is one day from successfully completing the 3,000-kilometer trans-Australia World Solar Challenge, which brought 37 solar cars to the Aussie outback. This is the first time Berkeley has competed.
The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry will develop a new college course on the public ethics of green chemistry. The effort, funded by a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant, highlights the role of ethics in understanding why and how legal, market, business, political and societal systems can affect the chemical production system.
Plants called cycads flourished during the dinosaur era, but unlike the dinosaurs, they survived into the present and have been collected and treasured as “living fossils.” A new study by UC Berkeley biologists demolishes that idea. Living cycads are not “fossils” – they evolved only within the past 12 million years.
Campus dedicates Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, philanthropist receives Berkeley Medal
The Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences was dedicated on Friday, and international philanthropist and business leader Li Ka-shing, who made the lead gift of $40 million in 2005, was given the Berkeley Medal, the campus’s highest honor.
UC Berkeley researchers have turned a benign virus into building blocks for assembling structures that mimic collagen, one of the most important structural proteins in nature. The “self-templating assembly” process they developed could eventually be used to manufacture materials with tunable optical, biomedical and mechanical properties.
Low birth weight, poverty affect disease in adulthood, says new study co-authored by UC Berkeley economist
Vulnerability to asthma, heart disease, hypertension and stroke in adulthood begins very early in life and is linked to low birth weight and poverty, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health and co-authored by an economist at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
Even as the social safety net frays and the number of people needing care swells, the ranks of traditional family caregivers are steadily shrinking. Who will absorb the cost and impact of care? Women, writes Evelyn Nakano Glenn, professor of ethnic and women’s studies, in her newest book, “Forced to Care: Coercion and Caring in America.”
Newly elected to the Institute of Medicine, chemistry professor Carolyn Bertozzi answers questions about her research and teaching and the creative atmosphere at UC Berkeley.
Often it’s an unexpected pothole or a bumpy road that draws our attention to pavement conditions. But for Professor Carl Monismith, co-director of the campus’s Pavement Research Center, the technology of road surfaces has been his passion for the past 60 years.
When UC Berkeley engineers outfitted a six-legged robotic bug with wings in an effort to improve its mobility, they unexpectedly shed some light on the evolution of flight. The wings nearly doubled the running speed of the 25-gram robot. Find out why that wasn’t good enough for takeoff.
Professor Barbara Abrams, newly elected to the Institute of Medicine, engages in a Q&A about her research on prenatal nutrition.
Barbara Abrams, professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health, and Carolyn Bertozzi, professor of chemistry and of molecular and cell biology, have been named to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the highest national honors in the fields of health and medicine.
Video shows how Berkeley scientists use amazing equipment to develop materials to make future nuclear power plants more reliable and durable.
The end of a California program granting free access to carpool lanes by solo drivers of hybrid cars has unintentionally slowed traffic in all lanes, according to a new report by researchers at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies. It turns out that when regular-use lanes became more congested with the addition of more hybrids, the carpool lanes slowed down as well. The transportation engineers explain this counterintuitive result.
Emmanuel Saez, a UC Berkeley economist, received a 2010 MacArthur “genius” award for his research on the growing income gains of super-wealthy American households and the parallel income erosion of the other 99 percent of the nation. In a Q & A, Saez talks about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, in light of his work.
For Berkeley physicist Saul Perlmutter, Tuesday, Oct. 4 began before 3 a.m. with a press call from Sweden, and soon a meaningful moment with his sleepy but excited 8-year-old. Then — quickly and inevitably — came the deluge of phone calls and e-mails, celebratory events and photo ops. And, it goes without saying, a coveted parking pass.
One white dwarf or two? That’s what astronomers have been asking about Type Ia supernovae, the key to measuring cosmic distance. Is the explosion from one white dwarf grown fat from feeding off another star, or are two white dwarfs merging? A new study suggests the latter.
Saul Perlmutter, UC Berkeley professor of physics and LBNL senior scientist, will share the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with two other scientists, including former UC Berkeley postdoc Adam Riess, for their discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. This discovery in 1998 led to the realization that the universe is largely composed of an enigmatic “dark energy.”
The deadly pathogen known as sudden oak death is spreading throughout the SF Bay Area, infecting more trees in more places than have ever been seen before, according to researchers tracking the disease. were double and in some cases triple what they were last year,” said Matteo Garbelotto, the UC Berkeley forest pathologist.
CITRIS researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Merced have received a $2 million NSF grant to expand their network of wireless sensors in the Sierra Nevada. The sensors enable remote monitoring of snow depth, stream flow, water content in soil and use of water in vegetation – data that will be used to help manage one of the most precious resources in the state.
An international team of students from Berkeley, South Korea, Puerto Rico and London is building a tiny CubeSat spacecraft, designed to carry out research high above the Earth, in Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab. CubeSats are the wave of the future for space science research and education.
Previous research has revealed that only a small percentage of Wikipedia entries are authored by women. But sheer numbers don’t tell the whole story of the online encyclopedia’s “gender gap,” say scholars at the School of Information.
If tripping in public or mistaking an overweight woman for a mother-to-be leaves you red-faced, don’t feel bad. A new UC Berkeley study suggests that people who are easily embarrassed are also more trustworthy, and more generous. In short, embarrassment can be a good thing.
“Presumed Guilty,” a film made by public-policy grad students Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, won an Emmy Award in New York two weeks ago. The documentary probing the Mexican criminal justice system was honored for best investigative journalism.
The very first cohort of Cal Energy Corps student interns showcased an wide array of sustainable-energy research and service they conducted around the world this summer, at a Sept. 22 campus symposium. Their projects ranged from a low-tech food dehydrator, with a community on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast, to advanced science to improve the formulation of new biofuels.
Catching z’s can seem overrated when school is demanding, your body is young, and you’re newly on your own. Students, researchers, and health care providers grapple with the whys and hows of sleep.
Lessons to be learned from nature could lead to the development of an artificial version of photosynthesis that would provide us with an absolutely clean and virtually inexhaustible energy source, says Berkeley Lab photosynthesis authority Graham Fleming and three international colleagues.
Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one’s own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, UC Berkeley scientists are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, researchers have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences – in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.
UC Berkeley researchers have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to an earlier stem cell stage to form new muscle. Moreover, they showed in mice that the newly reprogrammed muscle stem cells could be used to help repair damaged tissue. The achievement is described in the Sept. 23 issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology.
Orchid bees aren’t so dependent on orchids after all, according to a new study that challenges the prevailing view of how plants and their insect pollinators evolve together. It turns out that the orchids need their bees more than the other way around, a finding with implications in conservation biology as bee populations decline worldwide.
The Social Apps Lab at CITRIS creates free applications based on playful ways to get users to explore their environments, engage local issues, promote public health, and become active citizens. Their current projects include tackling dengue fever, reducing asthma, and engaging citizens in local urban issues.
Most of the thousands of four- and five-year-olds who take California’s official test for English language proficiency before they start kindergarten are bound to fail that exam, according to a new University of California, Berkeley, study.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu awarded the 2011 APEC Science Prize to UC Berkeley Professor Ali Javey in San Francisco today. Professor Javey is well known for developing low-cost, flexible, and lightweight photovoltaic cells. He has also developed transistor arrays that use a fraction of the power of conventional silicon transistors.
With streamlined regulations, in-law units could boost East Bay affordable housing stock and economy, study finds
In-law units could provide needed affordable housing and boost the economies of five East Bay communities, according to a new UC Berkeley study that recommends adjusting local regulations so that can happen.
A major donation from the Robert T. Matsui Foundation for Public Service will allow the Institute of Governmental Studies to renovate and expand its Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service.
People with tinnitus – a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears – can take heart from a new study by UC Berkeley neuroscientists that points to several new strategies for alleviating the problem.
UC Berkeley engineers have shown that by using ferroelectric materials, they can pump up the charge accumulated at a capacitor for a given voltage, a phenomenon called negative capacitance. The achievement could reduce the power draw of today’s electronics, and break the bottleneck that has stalled improvements in computer clock speed.
On the 100th anniversary of the making of the Yahi survivor’s historic “wood duck” recording, a daylong conference dedicated itself to correcting the record, and to remembering him as an educator, a pioneer and a man.
A specialized training program at UC Berkeley’s Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center this summer gave a group of displaced workers, all Laney College students, a potential new career. Already, two students have received job offers as a result.
UC scientists built and worked in towers — some as tall as 1,500 feet — as part of the largest single atmospheric research effort in the state. The data they’ve collected will guide policymakers dealing with air pollution.
UC Berkeley researchers have found evidence that leafflower trees and leafflower moths, two species that are mutually dependent upon each other, managed to colonize South Pacific islands separately, and then reconnect again. The findings contradict a long-standing belief in island biology that highly specialized organisms cannot establish themselves on remote islands.
Photos and observations posted to the website of the Global Amphibian BioBlitz now cover more than 700 species: 10 percent of the world’s frog, toad and salamander species that the social networking effort hopes to track. This success has now spawned a Reptile BioBlitz.
UC Berkeley’s Namwali Serpell, an assistant professor of English and a novelist, is one of six winners of the 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, which is given annually to women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers.
African American activists have long recognized the potential power of visual imagery to advance their quest for self-determination. Faculty member Leigh Raiford, in a new book, explores the role of photography in the black freedom struggle — from the heyday of the white lynch mob to the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power era.
Mari Lyn Salvador, director of UC Berkeley’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, answers questions about “A Century of Ishi,” a Sept. 8 conference about one of the most well-known American Indians of the past 100 years.
California has emerged as the top suspect as the source of a pathogen responsible for a global pandemic of cypress canker disease. The genetic detective work by researchers at UC Berkeley and in Italy spotlights the hazards of planting trees and other vegetation in regions where they are not native.
African American activists have long recognized the potential power of visual imagery to advance their quest for self-determination. Faculty member Leigh Raiford, in a new book, explores the role of photography in the black freedom struggle — from the heyday of the white lynch mob to the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power era.
A new study led by UC Berkeley researchers links prenatal exposure to flame retardant chemicals commonly found in homes to lower birthweight babies. For every tenfold increase in levels of PBDEs in a mother’s blood during pregnancy, there was a corresponding drop of 115 grams in her baby’s birthweight, the study found.
Prof-led team's project lets cars communicate with each other.
Berkeley Researchers Show How Loss of Bone Quality Also a Major Factor
UC Berkeley’s Center for Buddhist Studies has awarded the 2011 Toshihide Numata Book Prize to Todd Lewis and Subarna Man Tuladhar for their book about the epic poem about the life of Buddha by Nepalese poet Chittadhar Hridaya.
Skywatchers should get their binoculars and telescopes ready. Scientists at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab caught a supernova soon after its explosion. The supernova, located in the Big Dipper constellation, is appearing brighter than any other supernova of its type in the last 30 years. Earthlings might even be able to see it with good binoculars in 10 days’ time.
UC Berkeley is leading an effort to take information on the vertebrate collections in museums around the world and store it in the cloud for easy use by researchers and citizen scientists alike.
Pieter Abbeel, a UC Berkeley, professor known for his novel work in the field of machine learning in robotics – including robots that can fold laundry – has been named to a prestigious list of 35 of the world’s top young innovators by Technology Review magazine.
Born of financial crisis, Berkeley’s Institute for the Study of Societal Issues has cultivated a more collaborative, community-based approach to social-science research. In the process, a rickety old campus building has been transformed into a place where scholars can do more with less.
Thawing Permafrost Could Release Vast Amounts of Carbon and Accelerate Climate Change by the end of this Century
Billions of tons of carbon trapped in permafrost may be released into the atmosphere by the end of this century as the Earth’s climate changes, further accelerating global warming, a new computer modeling study led by a Berkeley Lab scientist indicates. The study also found that soil in high-latitude regions could shift from being a sink to a source of carbon dioxide by the end of the 21st century as the soil warms in response to climate change.
I-School student volunteers who evaluated a Disabled Students Program pilot test, which provided Livescribe computerized pens to students with learning disabilities, found that the smartpens had effects that extended well beyond note-taking abilities.
Researchers studying the birth of the universe are getting some of the most accurate measurements to date of neutrinos, electrically neutral particles that zip about close to the speed of light. They hope that the data, obtained from the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment, an international collaboration led by U.S. and China scientists, will reveal how matter was formed immediately after the Big Bang. Physicists from Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley are leading the U.S. team.
John Bellows may not have the household-name recognition of Timothy Geithner, Ben Bernanke or Christina Romer. But the U.S. Treasury Department’s acting assistant secretary has generated widespread buzz in finance and policy circles since finding a $2 trillion error in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) calculations it used to support a historic decision to downgrade the nation’s credit rating.
Historian Brian DeLay’s research traces the roots of the modern arms trade all the way back to the mid-18th century, when weapons were manufactured in America or Britain only to be distributed or sold throughout the northern hemisphere.
A team led by Berkeley Lab scientists hopes to become the first in the world to produce electricity from the Earth’s heat using CO2. They also want to permanently store some of the CO2 underground. The technology could lead to a new source of clean, domestic energy and a new way to fight climate change.
The Permian extinction 250 million years ago was the largest mass extinction on record, and among the losers were conifers that originally blanketed the supercontinent of Pangaea. Now researchers say that climate change led to the proliferation of tree-killing soil fungi that helped destroy the forests – something that could happen as a consequence of global warming today.
A UC Berkeley-led center to defend cyberspace is taking a proactive approach to securing the nation’s networks against attacks. Researchers from the Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology (TRUST), funded by the National Science Foundation, are developing systems with built-in immune systems that can recognize and protect against invasions. They are also influencing policy and have worked on pioneering California legislation requiring companies to notify individuals whose private information may have been compromised.
Researchers from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health are studying the conditions of low-wage workers in Chinatown as well as the impact on health from the use of greener cleaning products as part of a new UC-funded multi-campus research program. The Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California is one of three dozen UC multi-campus programs focusing on critical issues in the state.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has released a draft report that recommends significant changes to the U.S. strategy for managing the country’s growing stockpile of high-level nuclear waste. Per Peterson, UC Berkeley professor and chair of nuclear engineering, is one of 15 members of the commission, which was formed in 2010 after plans to store nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain were halted.
Neuroscientist Mu-ming Poo “leads a double life,” according to a piece in the journal Nature. He spends three-quarters of his time doing research on campus, but for the past decade has spent one day a week nurturing budding neuroscientists at the Institute of Neurosciences in Shanghai.
But her work is vast in its scope and impact. So vast, in fact, that her discoveries have implications for space, the human body, and nearly everything in between.
It can’t quite cover Harry Potter, yet, but an invisibility cloak developed by UC Berkeley engineers was able to bounce visible light waves away from a microscopic object about as big as a red blood cell. The experiment using the reflective silicon oxide and silicon nitride material was described in the journal Nano Letters.
A summer school program designed to improve the social scientific literacy of nuclear engineers will use Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis as a case study. The six-day program, to be held in Berkeley from July 31 to Aug. 5, is being organized by faculty at UC Berkeley and the University of Tokyo.
With rising temperatures around the globe, California’s native grasses will likely suffer at the hands of exotic invasive grasses, which are more equipped to deal with warmer weather.
Molecular biologist Peter Duesberg’s theory that cancer results from chromosome disruption rather than a few gene mutations has led him to propose that cancers are actually evolving into autonomous species, akin to parasites.
In a remarkable outdoor laboratory in the Sierra, UC Merced and UC Berkeley researchers are using sensors to gather a mother lode of data to greatly improve ecological measurement and hydrologic forecasting.
The NSF has announced a five-year, $18.5 million grant to fund a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) to re-invent the country’s urban water infrastructure, which is seeing increasing challenges from age, population growth and the effects of climate change. The new center will be led by Stanford University in partnership with UC Berkeley, Colorado School of Mines and New Mexico State University.
The NSF has launched a massive five-year, $121 million project involving 17 institutions, including UC Berkeley, to bring advanced digital services to the nation’s scientists and engineers. Collectively known as the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), the new project replaces the TeraGrid, which for 10 years provided researchers with computational and data resources in an open infrastructure to support scientific discovery.
Airports could save millions in fuel, time and emissions costs if airlines shared gates and coordinated flights with each other, according to a novel proposal by UC Berkeley engineering students. The students’ proposal to improve airport efficiency earned them first prize in an FAA airport design contest.
Art that looks directly at the institutions that, for better or for worse, surround and support our lives is the subject of a new book, “Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics,” by Shannon Jackson, professor of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies
Like a giant, life-size set of building blocks, the new User Test Bed Facility will allow researchers and manufacturers to test buildings systems and components under “real-world” conditions by swapping out systems and changing configurations and then allow rigorous monitoring of performance of every key building element that impacts energy consumption.
Teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District’s charter schools are up to three times more likely to leave their school at year’s end compared with their peers in other LAUSD schools, according to a UC Berkeley report released today.
UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab physicists are part of a large international collaboration, called KamLAND, that used a neutrino detector in Japan to learn about the sources of heat in Earth’s interior. According to Stuart Freedman, the results indicate that only half the heat comes from radioactive decay; the rest from other processes.
Some two years ago, two of five THEMIS satellites were boosted from their orbits around Earth toward permanent lunar orbits. The second of two is destined to arrive at the moon on Sunday, July 17. The probes, renamed the ARTEMIS mission, will acquire 3-D data on the moon’s magnetic fields.
Although most Facebook users claim to be very uncomfortable with how third-party apps use their personal information, their online behavior doesn’t reflect this concern, researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Information have found.
A new paper reviewing the impact of the loss of large predators and herbivores high in the food chain confirms that their decline has had cascading effects in marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems throughout the world. The study, co-authored by UC Berkeley researchers, highlights the impact “apex consumers” have on the dynamics of fire, disease, vegetation growth, and soil and water quality.
Cell biologist Randy Schekman, professor of molecular and cell biology and current editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has been named the first editor of a new journal that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust aim to launch next year.
Jordan Zachritz, a UC Berkeley graduate student in ecosystem sciences, has been studying Sudden Oak Death and similar tree-killing diseases in hopes he and his peers can find ways to stop them and save California’s forests.
The new regulatory banking standards called “Basel III” slightly decrease but do not eliminate systemic risk in the banking system, according to research by Haas School of Business professors Dwight Jaffee and Johan Walden.
By pairing an R&D 100 award-winning remote-detection version of NMR/MRI technology with a unique version of chromatography specifically designed for microfluidic chips, Berkeley Lab researchers have opened the door to a portable system for highly sensitive multi-dimensional chemical analysis that would be impractical if not impossible with conventional technologies.
The University of California Botanical Garden has been recognized for its stunning cycad collection, joining an exclusive club of three other gardens in the United States so singled out by the North American Plant Collections Consortium.
If ancient gray whale populations migrated and fed the same as today’s whales, what happened during the Ice Ages, when their major feeding grounds disappeared? UC Berkeley and Smithsonian paleontologists argue that gray whales utilized a range of food sources in the past, including herring and krill, in addition to the benthic organisms they consume today. As a result, prewhaling populations were two to four times greater than today’s population of around 22,000.
Scientists looking for unusual cellulose-digesting enzymes, called cellulases, have found one that works at a higher temperature, 109 degrees Celsius, than any others found to date. The cellulase comes from an Archaea found in a Nevada hot spring.
Berkeley Lab researchers created tetrapod molecules of semiconductor nanocrystals and watched them break a fundamental principle of photoluminescence known as “Kasha’s rule.” The discovery holds promise for multi-color light emission technologies, including LEDs.
Information theory dictates that a logical operation in a computer must consume a minimum amount of energy. Today’s computers consume a million times more energy per operation than this limit, but magnetic computers with no moving electrons could theoretically operate at the minimum energy, called the Landauer limit, according to UC Berkeley electrical engineers.
How do lesbian and gay parents navigate in a world where heterosexuality is still the norm? Rafael Colonna, a Ph.D. student in sociology, has been interviewing same-sex parents across California to find out. In the process, he’s discovered that in family life, “small practices” such as assigning family names and titles, “have a lot of meaning behind them.”
Folding laundry may seem mundane, but for a robot, identifying a 3-D object and manipulating it correctly, it’s an exercise that requires intelligence that humans may take for granted. Pieter Abbeel and his team of engineers are developing increasingly efficient strategies and algorithms to help robots fold towels, forming the foundation for the next generation.
UC Berkeley researchers Terry Speed, Elizabeth Purdom, John Ngai and Yoon Gi Choi have joined colleagues at Berkeley Lab and around the country in creating the first comprehensive catalog of the genetic aberrations responsible for an aggressive type of ovarian cancer that causes most ovarian cancer deaths. This “atlas” could lead to targeted treatment based on a person’s cancer fingerprint.
Patrick V. Kirch, a UC Berkeley professor of anthropology and integrative biology and an authority on the archaeology of the Pacific Islands, has been awarded the 2011 Herbert E. Gregory Medal for Distinguished Service to Science in the Pacific Region.
Radiation damages metal and other materials, which can be a problem in nuclear power plants. UC Berkeley/LBNL materials scientist Andrew Minor and colleagues have developed a way to test nano-sized samples to determine how well they withstand the effects of radiation.
San Joaquin Valley communities with large Latino populations are exposed to disproportionately high levels of the agricultural chemical nitrate through their drinking water, according to a UC Berkeley study. When ingested via drinking water, nitrate can lead to numerous health problems, particularly among women and young children.
Two new leaders have been named to head up the CITRIS healthcare initiative ‘Delivering Quality Healthcare Everywhere for Californians.’ Thomas Nesbitt of UC Davis will serve as faculty director, Edmund Seto of UC Berkeley as associate director. The project’s mission is to improve access and reduce healthcare disparities by creating a trusted network for patients, providers, healthcare officials and educators.
The new California Language Archive (CLA) website at UC Berkeley – the largest indigenous language archive at a U.S. university – is now accessible free of charge to anyone with Internet access.
Wild, free-living bees help California agriculture reap $937 million to $2.4 billion a year in economic value and provide an estimated one-third or more of all pollination “services” to the state’s crops, according to a new UC Berkeley study.
A bright gamma-ray flare observed in March 2011 by the Swift satellite was not your typical gamma-ray burst, according to UC Berkeley astronomers and their colleagues. Its long duration and location at the center of a distant galaxy suggests that the flare was emitted as a star was ripped apart by a massive black hole.
UC researchers are optimistic that improved driving techniques can cut fuel use by 10 to 20 percent. And the time may be right to sell the public on these methods, they say.
Krishna Niyogi, professor of plant and microbial biology and an expert on photosynthesis, has been named an investigator with an ambitious plant science program sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He is one of only 15 scientists nationwide to be chosen for this honor.
UC Berkeley’s Daniela Kaufer and colleagues have discovered one way by which emotions such as fear affect memory. The brain’s emotional center, the amygdala, induces the hippocampus, a relay hub for memory, to generate new neurons. In a fearful situation, these newborn neurons are activated by the amygdala, providing a “blank slate” for the new fearful memory.
In a recent Pioneers in Engineering competition, local high school engineers scrambled to design and assemble robots destined to pile pillows in a goal. For the Berkeley Engineering honors students behind the contest, it’s a chance to build and teach.
Officials from DOE’s National Nuclear Nonproliferation Agency joined UC Berkeley nuclear experts to kick off a multiuniversity effort to fill the need for nuclear science and security experts at the national laboratories.
CITRIS and Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute have entered into a collaboration aimed at developing new solutions to help users better deal with the huge amount of data now being generated with increasing complexity.
Extensive climate change research being conducted at California universities and research centers is now openly available through a public website, Cal-Adapt.org, developed at UC Berkeley and sponsored by the California Energy Commission and the California Natural Resources Agency.
Anyone with Internet access can generate online content and influence public opinion, according to popular belief. But a new study from UC Berkeley suggests that the social Web is becoming more of a playground for the affluent than a digital democracy.
The ALPHA experiment at CERN in Geneva has successfully trapped rare antihydrogen atoms for 1,000 seconds, or more than 16 minutes. This is long enough to start experimenting for the first time on antimatter atoms to determine whether they act like normal matter.
UC Berkeley astronomer Marc Davis will share with three other astronomers the 2011 Cosmology Prize of The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, the foundation announced on June 1, 2011.
UC Berkeley will be one of five leading universities to launch Bosch Group’s new $10 million energy initiative, designed to promote research and education in the United States.
Amphibian lovers have teamed up to create a social networking site, the Global Amphibian Blitz, where citizen scientists can submit photographs of amphibians in order to help scientists track their worldwide decline and hopefully find a way to halt it.
Cal EPA chief takes ESPM audience behind the scenes of the state's historic emissions bill.
Emissions In the next 40 years, California’s population is expected to surge from 37 million to 55 million and the demand for energy is expected to double. Given those daunting numbers, can California really reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, as required by an executive order? Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who co-wrote a new report on California’s energy future are optimistic that the target can be achieved, though not without bold policy and behavioral changes as well as some scientific innovation.
In early May, Intel announced a radical new transistor design: a 3D device that will enable the production of integrated-circuit chips that operate faster with less power. The breakthrough has its roots in research begun in 1997 by a team led by Berkeley electrical engineers Chenming Hu, Jeff Bokor and Tsu-Jae King Liu.
A new study has found that many baby products, including nursing pillows, changing pads and strollers, contain levels of flame retardant that could expose infants to more of these chemicals than the government recommends as safe.
UC Berkeley is searching for evidence of intelligent life on planets identified by the Kepler space telescope team as having Earth-like environments. This search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) uses the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and targets 86 stars with possible planetary systems.
Graduating senior Austin Whitney, wheelchair-bound since a 2007 car accident paralyzed him from the waist down, plans to stand and walk at this year’s commencement ceremony. He will be wearing a robotic exoskeleton developed by UC Berkeley engineers to improve mobility for paraplegics.
UC Berkeley on May 11 announced a new research initiative that will make it a worldwide leader in disability studies. It includes two new faculty positions and multidiscipinary research projects related to disability that involve 10 faculty members from eight campus units. The effort will be housed in the Haas Diversity Research Center.
UC Berkeley researchers have shown that graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of crystallized carbon, can be tuned electrically to modify the amount of photons absorbed. This ability to switch light on and off is the fundamental characteristic of a network modulator, opening the door to optical computing in handheld electronics.
A team of Berkeley students is burning lots of midnight oil to build a car powered completely by the sun. Their sleek solar vehicle, named Impulse, is on track to compete this October in the world’s premier solar car competition: an 1,800-mile road race across Australia.
Three UC Berkeley faculty members were among the National Academy of Sciences’ 72 new members and 18 foreign associates announced today. Membership in the NAS is considered one of the highest honors given a scientist or engineer in the U.S.
Three UC Berkeley scholars have been elected to America’s oldest learned society, the American Philosophical Society, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743.
A new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Washington suggests immigrants and their children often gain weight because they eat junk food to fit in with American culture. The findings will be published in the June issue of Psychological Science.
The human eye long ago solved a problem common to both digital and film cameras: how to get good contrast in an image while also capturing faint detail. New experiments by UC Berkeley neurobiologists show how the eye achieves this without sacrificing shadow detail.
Experts from around the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and beyond will come together to tackle some of the Big Questions facing scientists in areas relating to energy and climate, Tuesday, May 3, at 3 p.m.
A fungal pathogen may be the culprit behind the rapid decline of amphibians in recent decades, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. By swabbing the skin of amphibians preserved in UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, scientists confirmed through DNA the presence of the deadly Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, fungus. They also determined that salamanders in parts of Mexico and Guatemala, and frogs and salamanders in Costa Rica’s Monteverde cloud forests began to disappear at the same time the fungus first appeared in these areas.
A new study of itch adds to growing evidence that the chemical signals that make us want to scratch are the same signals that make us wince in pain.
Berkeley senior Gracie Benson-Martin, a plant and microbial biology major, has been honored by the Botanical Society of America, for her research on a genus of tropical plants found throughout South and Central America.
Architect named Fulbright NEXUS scholar for Western Hemisphere research on sustainable, affordable housing
María-Paz Gutierrez, a University of California, Berkeley, assistant professor of architecture, has been named to the 2011-2012 Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Scholar Program as part of a 20-member team working to promote best practices in fighting poverty and inequality in the Western Hemisphere. She will be focusing on building a sustainable, affordable housing prototype for deployment in an emergency, especially flooding.
The Haas School of Business’s Center for Responsible Business made an Earth Day announcement today (Friday, April 22) that several MBA students and Haas School faculty have won research grants to work on innovative sustainability projects dealing with reinforcing friends’ healthy habits to green supply chains and clean water.
Positive outcomes and lessons to be learned from new approaches to help girls and women struggling in developing countries will be explored at an April 28 symposium to be hosted by the Center for Evaluation of Global Action (CEGA), based at UC Berkeley.
The 2011 Thomas I. Yamashita Prize for an outstanding young activist-scholar has been awarded by UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Social Change to Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, founder and executive director of the non-profit Akili Dada leadership incubator for young African women.
A new UC Berkeley study has found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides – widely used on food crops – is related to lower intelligence scores in children. Every tenfold increase in measures of organophosphates detected during a mother’s pregnancy corresponded to a 5.5 point drop in overall IQ scores in children at age 7, the researchers found.
Sociologist Claude Fischer, cognitive scientist Michael Jordon and theoretical chemist Martin Head-Gordon have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Agilent Technologies Inc. has signed up to support the newly launched Synthetic Biology Institute (SBI), which will help advance efforts to engineer cells and biological systems in ways that could transform health and medicine, energy, the environment and new materials.
Emmanuel Saez, the E. Morris Cox Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, has been named by the American Economic Association as recipient of the first ever American Economic Journal: Economic Policy “Best Paper Prize” for his “Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?”
Bioenergy Connection, a magazine published by the Energy Biosciences Institute, debuted in April to inform the public and stimulate discussion about the future of renewable transportation fuels around the world.
A UC Berkeley analysis of the carbon footprints of households around the country shows that consumers need different strategies in different cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. An online “carbon calculator” helps consumers decide how to change their lifestyles for the maximum reduction in their footprints.
The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), which has branches at UC Berkeley, UCSF and UC Santa Cruz, will work with Deloitte to improve the institute’s efforts to convert bioscience innovation into a driver for jobs, companies and improved health in California.
The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) has entered into a collaboration with Deloitte to help the institute in its efforts to convert bioscience innovation into a driver for jobs, companies and improved health in California.
Martin White, a professor of physics and astronomy, has been awarded a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship to investigate dark energy using data from the BOSS experiment.
The percentage of Latino children attending preschool fell substantially during the nation’s deep recession, according to a study to be released April 8 by researchers from UC Berkeley.
UC Berkeley physicists are using some of the world’s most sensitive magnetic field detectors to determine whether plants, like animals, produce magnetic fields.
The effort to make sun power more affordable has gotten a big boost with a $25 million, five-year Department of Energy grant announced this week. The award launches the Bay Area Photovoltaics Consortium (BAPVC), led jointly by the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.
UC Berkeley researchers have launched a powerful new tool, the Transportation Injury Mapping System, that allows online searches of serious and fatal crashes in California. Users can view the history of crashes by county, city, neighborhood or along specific routes.
Following a closed-door summit at UC Berkeley, leading West Coast seismologists recommended in a news conference today (Tuesday, April 5) the establishment of an earthquake early warning system in California, Oregon and Washington.
West Virginia native Brandon Nida, a Berkeley PhD candidate, is using his archaeological expertise to help protect the West Virginia battleground where thousands of coal miners, in 1921, waged the largest labor insurrection in U.S. history.
Thanks to initial funding from the India-based Tata Consultancy Services, the Center for Computational Biology has launched a pioneering initiative to develop a software platform to analyze differences in people’s genomes and bring closer the day when one’s personal genome will be a starting point for health and medical advice.
Using a new technique called thermochronometry, UC Berkeley and Berkeley Geochronology Center scientists have detailed the 2.5 million year history of the beautiful and distinctive U-shaped glacial valleys of Fiordland National Park in New Zealand.
As China turns its attention to the social needs of its citizens, the School of Social Welfare is partnering with Beijing Normal University to develop a strategy to deliver services to China’s needy, thanks to a three-year planning grant from the Ford Foundation. Julian Chow, an associate professor of social welfare, will manage the Berkeley-Beijing Normal University initiative.
Berkeley Lab researchers have fabricated superlenses from perovskite oxides that are ideal for capturing light in the mid-infrared range, opening the door to highly sensitive biomedical detection and imaging. It may also be possible to turn the superlensing effect on/off, opening the door to highly dense data writing and storage.
Researchers at UC Berkeley and UCSF have launched the joint Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses to develop technology that can translate brain signals into movements controlling prosthetic limbs, circumventing damaged or missing neural circuits in people suffering from disabling conditions.
In a three-pronged attack on one of the stubbornest problems in materials sciences, groups from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, SLAC, and Stanford have produced the strongest evidence yet that the mysterious pseudogap, hallmark of high-temperature superconductors, is not a gradual transition to the superconducting phase, as long supposed, but instead is a unique and hitherto unknown phase of matter.
A sleepless night can make us cranky and moody. But a lesser known side effect of sleep deprivation is short-term euphoria, which can potentially lead to poor judgment and addictive behavior, according to new research from UC Berkeley.
The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry hosts its first national conference March 24, where experts from a broad range of disciplines will discuss the center’s unique, multidisciplinary approach to creating more sustainable and safer chemicals.
Can mobile phone–based information improve the lives of farmers in the developing world? A research project — led by School of Information assistant professor Tapan Parikh and funded by the National Science Foundation — aims to address this question.
Students with Berkeley Law’s International Human Rights Law Clinic have returned from a fact-finding mission to El Salvador, where they examined the difficult climate for the country’s LGBT and HIV-positive population.
Medical historian Susan Reverby, who first revealed postwar U.S. government medical experiments on Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients, said the story “fits the trope of a grade-B horror move.” But she warned a Berkeley audience that it’s “too easy” to distance ourselves from those who conducted the research.
When information about a person’s music listening is published automatically, young people subtly manipulate the way they present their preferences, say researchers at the School of Information.
Enhancing the Magnetism: Berkeley Researchers Find Enhanced and Controllable Magnetization in Unique Bismuth Ferrite Films
Berkeley Lab researchers have enhanced the spontaneous magnetization in a special form of the popular multiferroic bismuth ferrite. What’s more, they can turn this magnetization “on/off” through the application of an external electric field, a critical ability for the advancement of spintronic technology.
To achieve the state’s energy efficiency goals and provide better career opportunities for Californians, the state should modify its clean energy programs and its extensive but fragmented training and education programs, according to a report led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, released today (Thursday, March 17).
Radiation from a tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant in Japan does not pose a public safety risk to people outside of the disaster area, UC Berkeley nuclear engineers told an overflow audience of about 100 people at the Institute for East Asian Studies.
A major milestone in microfluidics could soon lead to stand-alone, self-powered chips that can diagnose diseases within minutes. The device, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley, Dublin City University in Ireland and Universidad de Valparaíso Chile, is able to process whole blood samples without the use of external tubing or external components.
Scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have learned to control the quantum pathways that determine how light scatters in graphene. As a sheet of carbon just a single atom thick, graphene’s extraordinary crystalline structure gives rise to unique electronic and optical properties. Controlling light scattering not only provides a new tool for studying graphene but points to practical applications for managing light and electronic states in graphene nanodevices.
UC Berkeley’s Jillian Banfield was named the 2011 North American Laureate at the 13th Annual L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards ceremony in Paris on March 3, which included the screening of a video interview with Banfield discussing her research and philosophy of science.
Berkeley researchers have designed a new composite material for hydrogen storage consisting of magnesium metal nanoparticles embedded in a Plexiglas-type polymer that rapidly absorbs and releases hydrogen at modest temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling. This achievement is a major breakthrough in materials design for hydrogen storage, batteries and fuel cells.
Federal officials who have played a key role in shaping the nation’s fiscal affairs share their insights on a new website titled “Slaying the Dragon of Debt.” Launched by the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office, the site features interviews and other resources aimed at aiding scholars and informing public debate.
“And Still Peace Did Not Come,” a book coauthored by Berkeley Law student Emily Holland ’12, reveals haunting personal recollections of Liberian child soldiers and their victims. A former TV producer and humanitarian journalist with experience in Africa, Holland specializes in international law and human rights and teaches street law to youth at a juvenile detention facility.
Scientists have long puzzled over the many hours we spend in light, dreamless slumber. But a new study from UC Berkeley suggests we’re busy recharging our brain’s learning capacity during this traditionally undervalued phase of sleep, which can take up half the night.
A new, high-resolution analysis of a dust grain from the Allende meteorite documents the widely varying environments the grain wandered through in its 4.5 billion-year travels around the solar system.
UC Berkeley biologists and graduate students delved into the fossil record to compare past animal extinctions — in particular the five “mass extinctions” that occurred within the past 540 million years — with today’s extinctions. They find that, while the rate of extinctions today is higher than during past mass extinctions, conservation efforts could help us avoid a sixth.
While ethanol is today’s major biofuel, researchers aim to produce fuels more like gasoline. Butanol is the primary candidate, now produced primarily by Clostridium bacteria. UC Berkeley chemist Michelle Chang has transplanted the enzyme pathway from Clostridium into E. coli and gotten the bacteria to churn out 10 times more n-butanol than competing microbes, close to the level needed for industrial scale production.
Nature is replete with animals and plants that have similar shapes or behaviors but are unrelated. They evolved these characteristics, such as long bodies in salamanders, independently, often through alteration of an entirely different set of genes. This process, called homoplasy, can tell us a lot about how evolution works, UC Berkeley biologists argue.
The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) celebrates a decade of driving the bioeconomy and spells out its goal of helping the state foster science and innovation to benefit society.
While more than half of California’s water comes from snow in the Sierra Nevada, it is difficult for water managers to measure and track through the year. Now, scientists at UC Berkeley and UC Merced — supported by the multi-campus Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) — are using networks of wireless sensors to measure snow depth and other environmental factors.
The body is a dancer’s instrument, but is it attuned to the mind? A new study from UC Berkeley suggests that professional ballet and modern dancers are not as emotionally in sync with their bodies as are people who regularly practice Vipassana or mindfulness meditation.
The asteroid Kleopatra was first seen as a bright dot in the asteroid belt in 1880, but only in 2000 was it found to have a highly elongated, dogbone shape. UC Berkeley and French astronomers have now found two moons orbiting the asteroid, newly named Alexhelios and Cleoselene after the twins of Queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony.
Was T. rex really the king of the forest? A new census of dinosaurs in Montana’s Hell Creek Formation shows that T. rex was far too abundant to be a top predator. It probably subsisted on a broad variety of dead as well as live animals, much like today’s hyena.
The political controversy surrounding the Electoral College — the institution whereby we elect the president of the United States — is as old as the republic. Associate Professor Eichanan Mossel, an expert in in probability theory, uses his tools to pit the Electoral College system against the simple majority-voting system. How prone to error is the Electoral College, and what are the odds that an election outcome will actually be flipped by random error?
Berkeley Lab’s Saul Perlmutter has won the Einstein Medal presented annually by the Albert Einstein Society of Bern, Switzerland, for his role in discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe by observing very distant supernovae.
Berkeley biophysicist Jan Liphardt, director of the new Bay Area Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, believes that a new, multidisciplinary approach to understanding fundamental aspects of cancer is key to making progress in the ongoing war against the disease.
In Alameda Country, researchers from the School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente are reaching out, through local churches, to offer health screening and education to two groups — African Americans and Afghan refugee women.
Forestry scientists are working to understand how wildfire and other “disturbances” affect the health of some of the oldest trees on the plant — the giant sequoias of the Sierra Nevada.
The Western fence lizard’s reputation for helping to reduce the threat of Lyme disease is in jeopardy. A new study led by UC Berkeley researchers found that areas where the lizard had been removed saw a subsequent drop in the population of the ticks that transmit Lyme disease. The decline in tick numbers seems to suggest a decreased risk of human exposure to Lyme disease when the lizard is gone.
In the mid 1960s, landmark laws brought an official end to the system of legal segregation known as Jim Crow. Professor Elizabeth Abel explores the “visual politics” of a system that shaped experience and perception throughout the American South (and beyond) for nearly a century — in a book praised by historian Henry Louis Gates as giving “new focus to our national dialogue on race.”
Four UC Berkeley faculty members have been awarded prestigious Sloan Research Fellowships, given annually by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to scientists, mathematicians and economists at an early stage of their careers.
Oil and mineral companies, climatologists and geophysicists all rely on expensive satellites to measure the Earth’s magnetic field, but there may be a cheaper option. UC Berkeley physicist Dmitry Budker proposes shining a pulsed orange laser on the layer of sodium atoms 90 km above the Earth to directly read the local magnetic field.
Earlier this spring, Charles Harris, professor of chemistry, received the Ahmed Zewail Award In Ultrafast Science & Technology from the American Chemical Society. In a profile of Harris in Chemical & Engineering News, the energetic 70-year-old chemist is quoted as saying, “If I do ever retire, it’ll be to continue doing research.”
Has Valentine’s Day become post-racial? Not yet, it seems. New research from UC Berkeley suggests that when it comes to dating, cyberspace is as segregated as the real world. Data gathered from more than 1 million profiles of singles looking for love online show that whites overwhelmingly prefer to date members of their own race, while blacks, especially men, are far more likely to cross the race barrier in hopes of being struck by Cupid’s arrow.
The debate over the veracity of global warming may be judged not by pure science but rather, perception. Being in a warm room can make the idea of global warming seem more likely, according to Clayton Critcher, assistant professor of marketing at the Haas School of Business.
Why do some people fret over the most trivial matters while others remain calm in the face of calamity? UC Berkeley researchers have identified two different chinks in our brain circuitry that explain why some of us are more prone to anxiety.
Inspired by the 50th anniversary this year of the Peace Corps, UC Berkeley is launching a 21st century version called Cal Energy Corps that focuses on sustainable energy and climate change.
Access to information technology benefits female research scientists more than their male counterparts, increasing research productivity and collaboration, according to a new study co-authored by assistant professor Waverly Ding of the Haas School of Business.
Three UC Berkeley faculty members have joined the ranks of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. Armen Der Kiureghian, Jitendra Malik and Ramamoorthy Ramesh are among 68 new members and nine foreign associates elected on February 8, 2011.
Producing cheap liquid biofuels is not the only challenge in weaning the U.S. off fossil fuels. A team supported by the Energy Biosciences Institute identified social, economic and environmental issues that need to be addressed, including the impacts on farmers and on public health.
Two yearling black bears have joined other relocated bruins at Sagehen Creek Field Station near Truckee. This brings to eight the number of orphaned cubs offered new homes by the reserve and its manager, Jeff Brown.
UC Berkeley researchers have converted Salmonella bacteria from a foodborne pathogen into a safe delivery vehicle for anti-viral agents. They inserted virus-stopping ribozymes into Salmonella that had their ability to cause disease disabled, and then used the bacteria to effectively treat mice infected with cytomegalovirus. It is the first time bacteria have been successfully engineered to treat a viral infection.
UC Berkeley engineers have found a way to grow nanolasers directly onto a silicon surface, an achievement that could lead to a new class of faster, more efficient microprocessors, as well as to powerful biochemical sensors that use optoelectronic chips.
The Berkeley-based student project NextDrop uses mobile phones to alert residents in developing countries when water is flowing in their neighborhood’s notoriously unreliable taps. NextDrop, co-winner of last year’s Big Ideas contest on campus, began a pilot study last summer in the south India city of Hubli.
A research team led by scientists at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University has unlocked the genetic code of the highly invasive Argentine ant, providing clues as to why this species has been so successful.
In a demonstration of “reverse-ecology,” UC Berkeley biologists have shown that one can determine an organism’s adaptive traits by looking first at its genome and checking for variations across a population. The study offers a powerful new tool in evolutionary genetics research, one that could be used to help monitor the effects of climate change and habitat destruction.
Sequencing of microbes in the rumen of the cow has turned up a treasure trove of new enzymes that degrade tough plant material, providing new avenues for research to boost biofuel production from plants. The research, funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute, involves UC Berkeley chemical engineer Doug Clark and colleagues at LBNL and the Joint Genome Institue.
University Professor of Chemistry Gabor Somorjai has been awarded the 3rd annual BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award. Accompanied by a $550,000 prize, the award by the Spanish foundation honors Somorjai’s “pioneering experimental and conceptual contributions to the understanding of surface chemistry and catalysis at a microscopic and molecular level.
GRIN Plasmonics: A practical path to superfast computing, ultrapowerful optical microscopy and invisibility carpet-cloaking devices
Berkeley Lab researchers have carried out the first experimental demonstration of GRIN plasmonics, a hybrid technology that opens the door to a wide range of exotic optics, including superfast photonic computers, ultra-powerful optical microscopes, and “invisibility” carpet-cloaking devices.
A study by the Haas School’s Yuan Sun and colleagues at UC Davis and the University of Otago, New Zealand, found that the stock value of a company typically drops when it increases carbon emissions. The finding supports arguments that firms should be required to disclose to investors any action that impacts climate change.
German Professor Claire Kramsch approach to language acquisition focuses on the inner experience of language learners, which she believes cannot be separated from the learner's mother tongue: "Instructors can help students engage that gap between the native tongue and the new language."
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has honored 13 individuals with awards recognizing extraordinary scientific achievements in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, economics and psychology. James M. Berger, Walter and Ruth Schubert Family Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley, is the recipient of the NAS Award in Molecular Biology.
Hotspots Tamed by BEAST – Secrets of Mysterious Metal Hotspots Uncovered by New Single Molecule Imaging Technique
The secrets behind the mysterious nano-sized electromagnetic “hotspots” that appear on metal surfaces under a light are being revealed with the help of a BEAST. The results hold promise for solar energy and chemical sensing among other technologies.
Neither left nor right, the 2-year-old Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements is leading the effort to fill a scholarship gap with roots in the Cold War. Proximity to People’s Park has nothing to do with it.
Many large galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are thought to have hundreds of satellite galaxies, many of them too dim to see because they are dominated by dark matter. Post-doctoral fellow Sukanya Chakrabarti and astronomy professor Leo Blitz have developed a method to search for these “dark” satellite galaxies, and have predicted that the Milky Way has a companion dwarf galaxy not yet discovered.
UC Berkeley scientist Jill Banfield, with colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and Stanford University, have for the first time sequenced and reconstructed the genomes of most of the microbes in the gut of a premature newborn and documented how the microbe populations changed over time. Banfield and pediatric surgeon Michael Morowitz hope that characterizing gut microbes of normal and sick infants could lead to cause of necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies.
Hundreds of visitors flocked to a new, 420-square-foot cottage in West Berkeley to examine the tiny, sustainably designed “accessory home” as a possible wave of the future.
Several dozen scholars, analysts, scientists, and students gathered in Berkeley for an unprecedented and often contentious workshop on the future of nuclear power. The workshop, sponsored by UC Berkeley’s newly formed Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society, brought together social scientists and their counterparts in science, engineering, and policy.
Designing skyscrapers to withstand earthquakes is getting easier thanks to a team of researchers and practitioners organized by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) at UC Berkeley. A new guide developed by PEER’s Tall Building Initiative, led by UC Berkeley structural engineering professor Jack Moehle, has standardized the design and review process for evaluating the seismic safety of buildings over 140 feet tall.
Many futurists envision a world in which polymer membranes with molecular-sized channels are used to capture carbon, produce solar-based fuels, or desalinate seawater, among many other functions. This will require methods by which such membranes can be readily fabricated in bulk quantities. A technique representing a significant first step down that road has now been successfully demonstrated. Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers — led by materials scientist Ting Xu — have developed a solution-based method for inducing the self-assembly of flexible polymer membranes with highly aligned subnanometer channels.
Cheryl A. Kerfeld, an adjunct professor in Plant & Microbial Biology, has won the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education. Kerfeld heads the Joint Genome Institute’s Education and Structural Genomics programs.
Four UC Berkeley faculty members have been named 2010 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.
UC Berkeley biologists have harnessed dogs' natural talent for sniffing out the scat of other animals for a good cause. With the help of Working Dogs for Conservation, a Montana-based nonprofit organization, researchers are fine-tuning the use of dogs as a non-invasive tool for wildlife studies and management.
UC Berkeley astronomers may have found the missing link between young, gas-filled, star-forming galaxies and older, gas-depleted galaxies typically characterized as “red and dead.” Leo Blitz and Katherine Alatalo report that a long-known “early-type” galaxy, NGC 1266, is expelling molecular gas, mostly hydrogen, from its core. The unusual galaxy may help explain how gas-filled galaxies rid themselves of their molecular gas.
UC Berkeley physicist David Feinberg, in collaboration with physicians at the University of Minnesota, has combined two new techniques to speed MRI scans of the brain by more than a factor of 10. The faster functional MRI scans will boost the national effort to map the brain’s wiring, called the Human Connectome Project.