Tag Archives: Berkeley Lab
By Glenn Roberts Jr. / Berkeley Lab
Catherine “Reba” Siero’s comfort zone is here in the control room, surrounded by walls bristling with a busy mix of modern and time-tested knobs, dials, buttons, glowing lights, switches and screens.
For the past 23 years Siero, who is retiring next month, has served as an accelerator operator at the 88-Inch Cyclotron, a powerful particle-beam machine that started up 54 years ago at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), then managed by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
Her career at the lab stretches back about 37 years, first as a UC Berkeley student conducting biology research at Berkeley Lab. From 1981-93 she ran the control system for particle-beam-based medical treatments at the lab’s Bevatron accelerator, an early version of a machine called a synchrotron.
Siero moved to the 88-Inch Cyclotron when the Bevatron — responsible for pioneering cancer treatments, the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the antiproton, and the discovery of the antineutron —was decommissioned in 1993.
“This is the world’s largest video game,” Siero says as she begins the methodical process of releasing a powerful beam accelerated by the cyclotron’s 300-ton copper and steel magnet toward a heavily shielded experimental chamber called a “cave.” … Continue reading »
What’s life like aboard a scientific research vessel plying the California coast deploying robots to unlock important data about climate change?
A team of scientists and engineers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have just set out on such a venture. And they took along lab writer Sarah Yang to document the scientists’ work — and, along the way, to provide answers to burning questions like “how do the scientists keep their coffee mugs from sliding when the boat tips back and forth?” (See photo below to find out.)
The team took off over the weekend on a mission to test updated versions of a robotic float used to measure carbon dynamics in the ocean. … Continue reading »
A human skull and three human bones were discovered on Berkeley Lab property Monday during some routine digging to clear a ditch.
According to a release put out by the Lab on Wednesday, a Lab facilities crew working to clear a drainage ditch in “very steep and brushy terrain” on Berkeley Lab’s southern perimeter discovered a skull and one bone around 1:30 p.m. Monday.
The Alameda County coroner’s office was called in and completed its search of the site on Tuesday after finding two more bones. The remains were found outside of Berkeley Lab’s fence line but on Berkeley Lab’s property.
It is not known how long the remains were in the ditch, nor how old they are. Foul play is not suspected, according to the Lab’s statement, pending new information from the coroner’s office.
Jon Weiner, a spokesman for the Lab, said they were waiting to hear back from the coroner’s office as to any possible identification of the remains. … Continue reading »
Did you wonder what happened to the iconic Oscar’s sign once the restaurant closed for good after flipping burgers in downtown Berkeley for 65 years? Well, we have the answer.
The sign was bought by Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), a research and education network that is managed from Berkeley Lab. Why you might ask? Linda Vu at ESnet explained that the organization provides high-bandwidth connections that link scientists at national laboratories, universities and research institutions around the world, allowing them to solve some of the world’s most important scientific challenges including energy, climate science and the origins of the universe.
The Department of Energy network “is optimized for transferring large scientific datasets,” she said.
One of ESnet’s major achievements in the last couple years has been the development of “OSCARS,” which stands for On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System.
“This software essentially allows researchers who are using ESnet to reserve bandwidth on the network to move massive, time-critical datasets around the world,” she said. … Continue reading »
A herd of grass-munching goats swarmed across Cyclotron Road in the Berkeley Hills last week on the way to another plant-clearing mission below Blackberry Gate.
The goats are part of Berkeley Lab’s vegetation management plan to trim abundant grasslands and reduce fire hazards.
Read more about animals in Berkeley.
Berkeley Lab posted a video of the goats on the move to its Facebook page on June 12. The video was shot by Lab employee David Stein (while he was apparently listening to KQED radio!). It proved so popular that it has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook since then, helped no doubt by the fact that Berkeleyside reposted it to its Facebook page, and it was then picked up by other media, including NBC, CNN and the Huffington Post. (Watch the video below the fold.) … Continue reading »
UC Berkeley Police have issued an alert about a possible mountain lion sighting on Berkeley Lab property.
The department said it received a report from a Lab employee who said they had seen a mountain lion near Building 90 on Thursday Nov. 20.
Over the weekend, workers also found a small deer carcass that may have been killed by a mountain lion, UCPD said in a press release. The carcass was located on a foot trail near Parking Lot D. … Continue reading »
Allen Benitez, Chief of Protective Services at Berkeley Lab admits he’s nervous.
“With the drought this summer, there is an extraordinarily high risk of fire in the hills,” he said.
The Lab’s location in the Berkeley foothills, surrounded by trees and vegetation, makes the task of keeping that risk as low as possible daunting. The fact that there are 5,000 to 7,000 people on the campus at any one time, and that an evacuation would entail moving all of them off a fenced property through just one gate, puts the lab — as Benitez terms it — in “a tough spot.”
Benitez will be one of several fire experts speaking at a Fire Forum for the community on Monday June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley’s Northbrae Church. He will be joined by, among others, Berkeley Fire Department Chief Gil Dong; Robert Chew, Cal Fire’s assistant chief of East Bay operations; Sal Genito, associate director of Grounds and Environmental Services at UC Berkeley; and Brad Gallup from the East Bay Regional Parks District. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley has, in recent years, been working to make the community a better place for technological innovation via efforts to fight “brain drain,” make it easier to find office space, and create connections among its more than 300 startups to strengthen the “fabric of the innovation ecosystem,” city staff told council members during a special session last week.
The city is among the top technological and intellectual centers in the country, due to its proximity to institutions such as the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. But it has struggled to keep creatives based within the city limits due to the pull of Silicon Valley, limited room for businesses to grow, an antiquated business permitting process and a lack of connections among startups, said city staff last Tuesday night. Some have even described the atmosphere, previously, as “toxic.” … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, nine East Bay cities announced a new streamlined solar permitting process designed to save homeowners up to $3,500 per solar photovoltaic system.
Members of the East Bay Green Corridor, Sungevity, Inc., and the state Office of Economic Development met at Sungevity’s Oakland offices to announce a new set of permitting guidelines that will be used in all the cities in the corridor: Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, Emeryville, Alameda, Albany, El Cerrito, Hayward and San Leandro. The new streamlined permits, scheduled to take effect by Sept. 22, will also eliminate the need to hire an expensive structural engineer, which will save time, money and boost the solar industry, advocates said.
“What these guidelines do is allow homeowners to bypass the expensive structural engineering process,” said Carla Din, director of the East Bay Green Corridor. “When you put a system on your roof, there’s sometimes uncertainty about whether or not your rafters can support the modules, and so you bring in an outside structural solar engineer. What we did is come up with a prescriptive process that would apply to 80-95% of the homes in the Green Corridor and could save up to $3,500.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley expects to get $12.7 million in grant funding for changes to BART Plaza, Shattuck Avenue and Hearst Street that should make life easier for people using the Downtown BART station and buses, biking to campus and even just driving through the center of town.
On Thursday, May 23, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) voted unanimously on an initial approval of the city’s grant proposals for the three transit projects. Construction could begin in 2015, said Matt Nichols, principal transportation planner for the city. … Continue reading »
Local photographer Daniel Parks recently posted some dramatic images on Flickr of a slumping hillside on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory campus.
According to a page set up by Berkeley Lab to share news about the situation, “Consistent rain over the last few months has destabilized the hillside above McMillan Road between Buildings 17 and 71. The hillside continues to inch toward the road, which has been closed as a precaution. A potential landslide warrants the road closure and relocation of Building 46 occupants.” (See a map of the area here.) … Continue reading »
The Helios Building, a new addition to downtown Berkeley, is in the very final stages of construction and the scientists for whom it has been built are expected to move in over six weeks, starting on July 30.
The $133 million, 133,000 sq ft building, which stands five stories high on a two-block lot, bounded by Oxford, Hearst, Berkeley Way and Shattuck, is home to UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute, a collaborative project between Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois. BP (British Petroleum) has committed $500 million over the next 10 years to the institute, whose mandate is to explore the application of modern biological knowledge to the energy sector. Scientists working in the building will be exploring cellulosic fuels and bio-products among other things, including developing non-food crops to produce fuel and power.
The wedge-shaped building — which is now formally known as the Energy Biosciences Building — will also house Cal’s Synthetic Biology Institute, whose bioengineering research focuses on applications for health, food and the environment. … Continue reading »
The mood was serious at 8:00 am Saturday at the David Brower Center. Fifty girls from Berkeley and Albany high schools were milling around the lobby in anticipation of showing off the Android apps they had spent weeks designing.
In one corner was a team of five girls from Berkeley High with “EcoPrint,” an app that helps people trace their carbon footprint.
“It’s like a quiz. It asks questions to get a sense of your impact on the environment, like how many times did you eat meat or do you drive,” said Lauren Hoffman, a junior in Berkeley High’s International Program. “Then we give them suggestions on how to reduce their carbon imprint.”
In the opposite corner another Berkeley High team was showing off “Connect the Stars,” an app that teaches kids about the constellations.
“It’s like connect the dots,” said Donntay Moore-Thomas, a senior in the International Program. “It helps children learn about the constellations in an engaging and fun way.” … Continue reading »