Berkeley in the News Archive

The links to the stories summarized on this page are time sensitive, so stories might no longer be online at that URL. We also include links to the original source publication itself.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

1. UC Berkeley to hand out 12,000 free lab coats to campus researchers
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)

UC Berkeley's Office of Environment, Health & Safety will be raising awareness of new safety requirements for campus labs next week with a four-day giveaway at Memorial Stadium. Every researcher will be offered two free lab coats, a pair of safety goggles, pizza, and chances to win prizes, including an iPad. EH&S director Mark Freiberg says that everyone who works in a Berkeley lab -- from freshmen to Nobel Laureates -- will now have to take a two-hour online safety course, retaking it every three years. Full Story

2. X-ray telescope lets astronomers see into the heart of a supernova

A group of NASA investigators, including Berkeley astrophysics professor Steven Boggs, has observed for the first time the heart of an exploding star in the final minutes of its existence. The observation was one of the key goals of the agency's NuSTAR mission, which was launched in June 2012. "This has been a holy grail observation for high energy astrophysics for decades," Professor Boggs says. "For the first time we are able to image the radioactive emission in a supernova remnant, which lets us probe the fundamental physics of the nuclear explosion at the heart of the supernova like we have never been able to do before." Other stories on this topic appeared in R&D Magazine, Science Recorder, and the Independent (UK). Full Story

3. Peru's Manu National Park Home to Most Amphibians and Reptiles on Earth [VIDEO]
Nature World News

A team of researchers including Rudolf von May, a post-doctoral researcher at Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, has identified 287 reptiles and amphibians in Peru's Manu National Park, making the area's biodiversity the greatest in the world. The researchers warn, however, that the park's biodiversity is threatened by the chytrid fungus, deforestation, and gold mining and oil and gas drilling near the buffer zone around the park. Another story on this topic appeared in Fox News Latino. Full Story

4. Five Striking Concepts for Harnessing the Sea's Power
National Geographic Online

A device co-created by assistant mechanical engineering professor Reza Alam is highlighted as one of five new concepts for harnessing the sea's power. He is working on a "magic carpet" that could capture the energy of ocean waves. "Mud is known to very strongly dampen ocean waves," Professor Alam says. "Within a distance of a couple of hundred yards even very strong waves can be completely dampened out. ... So we were inspired to wonder if a synthetic carpet could respond similarly to the action of waves and absorb that same amount of energy." The carpet is currently undergoing wave tank tests and should move to open ocean trials by 2016. Full Story

5. A step closer to the photonic future
R&D Magazine

A team of engineers, including Berkeley researchers, has achieved a milestone in photonic technology with the development of low power photonic devices made with standard chip-making processes. Photonic microprocessors use light instead of electrical signals, but the usual methods of creating them have been too difficult and expensive to manufacture. "As far as we know, we're the first ones to get silicon photonics natively integrated into an advanced CMOS process and to achieve energy efficiencies that are very competitive with electronics," the lead author says. Other stories on this topic appeared in Nanowerk, TG Daily, and TechEye. Full Story

6. Wonkblog: Why backing the minimum wage hike makes sense — for Wal-Mart
Washington Post Online

A Berkeley study is cited in a story about the possibility that Wal-Mart will raise its minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The researchers had found that if Wal-Mart raised the wage to $12 and passed 100 percent of the cost on to consumers, it would only have to raise prices by 1 percent -- and they'd still be lower than those of competitors. Full Story

7. Seeking a Break in a 252 Million-Year-Old Mass Killing
International New York Times (*requires registration)

Earth sciences professor Anthony Barnosky comments on a new study estimating that it took less than 60,000 years for 96 percent of all species on Earth to become extinct at the end of the Permian Period 252 million years ago. “There are definite warnings in these deep-time studies of mass extinction,” Professor Barnosky says. Noting that we humans are now releasing greenhouse gases at a colossal rate, he adds: “To really understand how fast mass extinctions can happen, we may be getting a firsthand lesson in the present.” Full Story

8. Healthy Life Blog: Have You Tried?: Lumosity (promo code)
Times Union Online

The website offers brain games for users to keep their mental faculties in tune. The site used results from studies by Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley researchers showing that the brain has an amazing ability to learn new things and adapt at any age. The 40+ games they developed target five areas of the brain — memory, attention, speed, flexibility and problem-solving. Limited access is free. Full Story

9. UC student arrested for beating fellow student
Sacramento Bee

A Berkeley student has been arrested for an alleged attack on another student late Tuesday night on campus. He is accused of beating the victim, stealing his cellphone, and making homophobic statements. Stories on this topic appeared in more than a dozen sources, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley Patch. Full Story

10. The anti-vaccination movement brings the measles threat back home
Los Angeles Times

Measles cases are on the rise in the U.S., and people who have not had a measles vaccination, or aren't sure of their vaccination status, should ask their physician about getting the shot. A Berkeley student recently rode a BART train while sick with the disease, potentially exposing thousands. This article, which attributes a large portion of blame to people who avoid vaccinations due to philosophical or religious beliefs, concludes: "The point can't be stressed enough: People who spread anti-vaccination propaganda, and those who listen to them, are dangers to the community." Full Story

11. The Best Songs In Life Are Free, With Kim Nalley

History doctoral student Kim Nalley is profiled for her "Freedom Songs" program at the Jazzschool on Sunday. The program will trace the role of music in the African-American struggle for human rights, and Nalley will draw connections between Civil Rights anthems and earlier resistance movements. “I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t confined to the civil rights struggle,” she says. “I also wanted to acknowledge that many songs from the civil right movements are rooted in negro spirituals and the slave experience, which a lot of people don’t recognize. In the movement they wanted to pick songs that people knew, that people could sing easily.” Full Story

12. Robert Cole returns to Berkeley Festival & Exhibition
San Francisco Chronicle

Former Cal Performances director Robert Cole is returning to the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition as its artistic director. He created the festival while at Cal Performances in association with the San Francisco Early Music Society and Early Music America. Cal Performances is no longer involved. Full Story

13. 5 don't miss Bay Area arts events, Feb. 20-23
San Francisco Chronicle

Cal Performances' presentation of the Calder Quartet and soprano Yulia van Doren is highlighted as a "don't miss" event on Sunday. The program will feature music by Schoenberg, Schubert and Jörg Widmann. For more information, visit: Full Story

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