Technology & Engineering
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Vibrations key to efficiency of green fluorescent protein
Green fluorescent protein (GFP) has invaded thousands of research labs around the world, thanks to its versatility in labeling cells and organisms. Now, UC Berkeley chemists have discovered why GFP is such an efficient emitter of green light.
(12 November)

Intel, Safeway luminaries to address how tech can lower health costs
Leaders from academia, industry and government will gather for the Nov. 18 Global Technology Leaders Conference to address the role of technology in lowering health care costs.
(09 November)

Rapid supernova could be new class of exploding star
Post-doc Dovi Poznanski was looking through seven-year-old data when he chanced upon a very strange supernova that flashed and was gone in less than a month, when 3-4 months is typical. The unusually rapid supernova appears to match the predicted behavior of a thermonuclear explosion on a white dwarf that has drawn helium from its companion.
(05 November)

UC Berkeley professor among Popular Science magazine's "Brilliant 10"
A UC Berkeley engineer has been pegged as an up-and-coming scientist to watch by the magazine Popular Science. The publication announced today (Thursday, Oct. 15) that Ting Xu, 35, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, is one of the "Brilliant 10" young researchers profiled in its November issue.
(15 October)

NSF authorizes $29 million for world's deepest underground lab
UC Berkeley's proposal to build lab facilities in a South Dakota mine has received an additional $29 million in support from the National Science Foundation. The funds, which are for a preliminary design, set the stage for later construction funds that would create the world's deepest underground laboratory for experiments in physics, geology and biology.
(15 October)

College of Chemistry steers course to sustainable 'green' chemistry
The College of Chemistry is moving toward sustainable "green" chemistry with a new emphasis on sustainability in its undergraduate courses, a new endowed chair in sustainable chemistry, and its participation in the campuswide Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry.
(08 October)

On the trail of our ancestors
The groundbreaking discovery of the partial skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species dating back 4.4 million years, is the latest in a long line of contributions UC Berkeley researchers have made toward the elucidation of the human ancestral tree. To learn more about what it's like to be a hominid fossil hunter, Sarah Yang from UC Berkeley Media Relations interviewed Leslea Hlusko, associate professor of integrative biology and the associate faculty member of the Human Evolution Research Center at UC Berkeley.
(01 October)

Ethiopian desert yields oldest hominid skeleton
The oldest hominid skeleton found in Africa, dating from 4.4 million years ago, revolutionizes our understanding of how humans evolved from the last common ancestor of apes and humans.
(01 October)

"Cyberlaw Cases" blog monitors top Internet-related cases
Two University of California, Berkeley, professors are teaming up with two colleagues to launch "Cyberlaw Cases," a blog covering what they consider the top 10 most important pending U.S. legal cases involving issues that impact the Internet, databases and software programs.
(03 September)

World's smallest semiconductor laser heralds new milestone in laser physics
UC Berkeley researchers have reached a new milestone in laser physics by creating the world's smallest semiconductor laser, capable of generating visible light in a space smaller than the size of a single protein molecule.
(31 August)

Space Sciences lab celebrates 50 years & 75 satellites
In 1959, only two years after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and ignited the space race, UC Berkeley created a laboratory devoted to space science that has grown to be one of the most active academic space research labs in the country.
(28 August)

Mirror cast for Mexican 6.5-meter infrared telescope
The University of Arizona has cast a 9-ton honeycomb mirror that will become the centerpiece of the San Pedro Martir Telescope in Baja California and the locus of a highly sensitive infrared survey of the northern sky, accoring to project PI Joshua Bloom of UC Berkeley.
(26 August)

Technology Review magazine names three Berkeley scientists to elite group of young innovators
A trio of researchers at UC Berkeley are up-and-coming scientists to watch, according to a newly released 2009 list of Top Young Innovators Under 35.
(18 August)

NSF awards $3.2 million for research at the frontier of biology and engineering
With a new National Science Foundation grant, biologists and engineers at Berkeley will be stepping up their collaborative effort to learn from nature and apply their discoveries for the benefit of humanity.
(17 August)

Communal Webcasting platform to beef up campus's popular educational content
As a growing number of worldwide learners log on, free of charge, to video and podcast lectures and events at UC Berkeley, the campus is leading an international effort to build a communal Webcasting platform to more easily record and distribute its popular educational content.
(28 July)

Surprise collision on Jupiter captured by Gemini Telescope
A team of astronomers using the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawai'i obtained a new infrared image of Jupiter on Wednesday night, July 22, showing its new scar still glowing in mid-infrared wavelengths.
(23 July)

Researchers turn cell phones into fluorescent microscopes, bring low-cost lab tools to the field
UC Berkeley researchers have developed a cell phone microscope that not only takes color images of malaria parasites, but of tuberculosis bacteria labeled with fluorescent markers. The latest milestone moves a major step forward in taking clinical microscopy out of specialized laboratories into field settings for disease screening and diagnoses.
(21 July)

Brain can develop motor memory for prosthetics, study finds
A new study by UC Berkeley researchers shows that the brain can develop a stable, neural map of a how to control a prosthetic device, providing hope that physically disabled people can one day master control of artificial limbs with greater ease.
(20 July)

Tremors on southern San Andreas Fault may mean increased quake risk
Tremors under the Parkfield segment of the San Andreas Fault have increased with increasing stress on a nearby locked segment of the fault, perhaps signaling a greater chance of an earthquake.
(09 July)

Tougher controls sought for DNA ancestry testing
As the popularity of take-home DNA kits to trace ancestry or calculate the risk for serious medical conditions grows, there is an increasingly critical need for federal oversight of "direct-to-consumer" genetic testing, as well as of the use of DNA samples for research, according to researchers from UC Berkeley,and several other academic institutions.
(02 July)

Berkeley civil-engineering students take title in concrete-canoe competition
A team of Berkeley civil-engineering students won the 22nd annual National Concrete Canoe Competition at the contest's June 11-13 finals in Tuscaloosa, Ala. June 11-13. It was the campus's fifth title in the remarkable battle of the boats, sometimes called the America's Cup of civil engineering.
(19 June)

Berkeley stakes science claim at Homestake gold mine
UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab plan to turn South Dakota's Homestake gold mine into a world-class science complex, with underground experiments in astrophysics, physics, biology and earth science. South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a big supporter of the effort, visited the campus and lab June 12 to cement the relationship and see what a large research complex looks like.
(17 June)

Graphene opens door to tunable transistors, LEDs
Graphene, which is a hexagonal sheet of carbon atoms, has been a hot subject of research since its isolation from graphite in 2004. That interest has paid off. UC Berkeley physicists have shown that two sheets of graphene slapped together can be made into a tunable electronic or photonic device, something unheard of with silicon or gallium arsenide semiconductors.
(10 June)

Red giant star Betelgeuse mysteriously shrinking
The red supergiant star Betelgeuse, which is so large it would extend to Jupiter's orbit in our solar system, has steadily shrunk over the past 15 years, according to UC Berkeley physicists. Since 1993, its radius has gone down by 15 percent, equivalent to the radius of Venus's orbit.
(09 June)

Lifting the fog on "dark" gamma-ray bursts
amma-ray bursts, with their ability to pierce through gas and dust to shine brightly across the universe, are revealing areas of intense star formation and stellar death where astronomers have been unable to look - the dusty corners of otherwise dust-free galaxies.
(08 June)

Report: Widespread data sharing, "Web bugs"
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Information released a report late Monday (June 1) showing that the most popular Web sites all share data with their corporate affiliates and allow third parties to collect information directly by using tracking beacons known as "Web bugs" - despite the sites' claims that they don't share user data with third parties.
(02 June)

Rare radio supernova is nearest supernova in five years
Robotic telescopes now search the sky nightly for exploding stars, but not all supernovas are visible to optical, ultraviolet or X-ray telescopes. A supernova missed by other telescopes because these wavelengths were blocked by galactic gas and dust was discovered by radio telescopes in April, and turns out to be the nearest supernova in five years.
(27 May)

SETI@home project celebrates 10th anniversary, though no ETs
A May 21 symposium celebrates the 10th birthday of the SETI@home project, the largest volunteer computing project in the world. Launched May 17, 1999, its dedicated followers continue to crunch radio data in search of intelligent signals from space.
(19 May)

Online games spark girls' interests in science & technology
Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, 12 Oakland Girl Scouts are now learning how to create online games centered around astronomy. The program's goal is to create a multi-user game called "The Universe Quest Game" in which girls around the world can safely interact and learn about science and technology.
(15 May)

UC Berkeley UV detector to be installed in Hubble telescope
NASA's final mission to the 17-year-old Hubble Space Telescope, which begins May 11, will deliver a new instrument partly built by UC Berkeley physicists to map the structure of the universe.
(07 May)

Seven faculty members elected to NAS
Seven UC Berkeley faculty members are among 72 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the nation's most prestigious societies of scholars engaged in science and engineering research.
(28 April)

$30 million from DOE for carbon capture, sequestration
The White House announced this week a major push to spur innovative energy research, including $777 million over five years from the Department of Energy. $30 million of this money will come to UC Berkeley and LBNL to investigate carbon capture and sequestration.
(28 April)

THEMIS mission tracks electrical tornadoes in space
Tornadoes on Earth are among the most violent storms, capable of enormous destruction with wind speeds of 200 mph and more. Yet these are tiny compared to the "space tornados" that impress with plasma flow speeds of more than one million mph and beautiful auroras.
(23 April)

Chemist Graham Fleming named vice chancellor for research
Graham Fleming, the Melvin Calvin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and former deputy director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been appointed the campus's vice chancellor for research.
(01 April)

Professor Emeritus Tor Brekke, renowned tunneling expert, dies at 75
Tor L. Brekke, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of geological engineering and a world-renowned scholar in tunneling, died on Friday, March 6, at his home in Berkeley. He was 75.
(19 March)

Scientists cable seafloor seismometer into state earthquake network
A 32-mile underwater cable now links the state's only seafloor seismic station with the UC Berkeley's seismic network, merging real-time data from west of the San Andreas fault with data from 31 other land stations sprinkled around Northern and Central California.
(18 March)

Musical video, 'The Nano Song,' a megahit on YouTube
When the American Chemical Society put out the call for short videos explaining nanotechnology to the non-scientist, a group from Berkeley pulled together an orchestrated score, a classically trained singer, and a gaggle of dancing puppets. Public response to their contest entry has been anything but small with attention from science, technology, and social-networking websites, and nearly 300,000 hits on YouTube.
(06 March)

Assembling cells into artificial 3-D tissues, like tiny glands
UC Berkeley chemists have developed a way to assemble cells into 3-D microtissues and even tiny glands, much like snapping together toy building blocks to make a simple machine. Such microtissues could serve as niches for studying how cells work together, or be assembled into larger structures as artificial, implantable organs.
(04 March)

With Mar. 6 Kepler launch, work begins for Berkeley astronomers
NASA's Kepler mission, scheduled for launch on March 6, will put a telescope in orbit to scan 100,000 stars for evidence of Earth-size planets. While many hold out hope of finding dozens of planets with conditions ripe for life, it also will show us how common Earth-like planets are in the galaxy, according to Kepler team members Gibor Basri and Geoff Marcy.
(03 March)

Campus dedicates new state-of-the-art CITRIS research headquarters
More than 600 people turned out for the festive dedication of Sutardja Dai Hall a 141,000-square foot, state-of-the-art building where the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Dado and Maria Banatao Institute@CITRIS Berkeley will be headquartered.
(02 March)

Energy symposium weighs perils and opportunities on climate change
While the average Californian now uses about 40 percent less electricity than the average American, we cannot rest on our laurels, Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said Monday at the third annual UC Berkeley Energy Symposium. To meet the challenges of global warming and the state's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 each Californian needs to cut his or her carbon footprint from the current average, 14 tons per year, to 10, she said.
(24 February)

New method to assemble nanoscale elements could transform data storage industry
Scientists at UC Berkeley and UMass Amherst have developed a new, easy-to-implement technique in which nanoscale elements precisely assemble themselves over large surfaces, potentially opening doors to dramatic improvements in the data storage capacity of electronic media.
(19 February)

Cheaper materials could be key to low-cost solar cells
Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new UC Berkeley and LBNL study.
(17 February)

John Whinnery, University Professor Emeritus and distinguished innovator in electromagnetism, dies at 92
John Roy Whinnery, former UC Berkeley dean of engineering, University Professor Emeritus, and a distinguished innovator in the field of electromagnetism, died Feb. 1 at his home in Walnut Creek, Calif. He was 92.
(13 February)

Matthew Tirrell, UC Santa Barbara engineering dean, to join UC Berkeley as new chair of bioengineering
In a move that signals a major new direction for bioengineering research and teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew Tirrell, dean of the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has been appointed chair of the Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley. Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau announced the appointment today (Thursday, Jan. 15), following a nationwide search.
(15 January)

'Understanding Science' Website clarifies what science is, is not
How does science work? Though scientists are often hard put to explain it, a new Web site called Understanding Science helps students, teachers and the public decide what is and is not science, and understand the messy but fun adventure of science.
(08 January)