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Berkeley Lab Currents

February 12, 1999


Science Gets a Boost in the First DOE Budget for the 21st Century

By Lynn Yarris

The first budget of the 21st century proposed for DOE is $17.84 billion, which represents a 4.1 percent increase above funding for FY 1999 after adjusting for one-time expenses. DOE's science and technology programs would see an even higher rate of increase under the Clinton Administration's FY2000 budget request.

"The Department is, at its heart, a science and technology agency," said Energy Secretary Bill Richardson when the budget proposal was unveiled on Feb. 1. "This budget focuses our scientific resources to power this nation into the new century. It channels our technical and scientific knowledge to meet our missions - for a safer world, greater energy security, and a cleaner environment - while strengthening the U.S. economy."

Among the programs within DOE slated to receive increases, the Secretary highlighted new investments for creating a national supercomputing infrastructure; reducing future nuclear, biological and chemical proliferation threats; developing new energy resources and more efficient energy technologies; and cleaning up waste sites.

The Secretary seemed especially pleased with the $70 million the DOE would receive under the President's "Information Technology for the Twenty-First Century" initiative, which was announced last month by Vice President Al Gore at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see Currents, Jan. 29).

"This investment will enable us to develop and deploy new, far faster computers for advanced simulation under our Scientific Simulation Initiative (SSI)," Richardson said. "These new simulation capabilities will be powerful tools to do things like design a new generation of cars, develop new pharmaceuticals, and help improve our weather and climate research, reaffirming America's leading role in these fields."

DOE's Office of Science (SC), the principal funding agency of Berkeley Lab, would receive $2.8 billion under President Clinton's budget proposal, a slight increase of $138 million over its funding for FY99. Martha Krebs, who heads SC, told reporters she was pleased with the proposal because in addition to representing "real growth" for SSI, it also allows the Department to proceed with the construction and operation of major user facilities.

The biggest proposed increase for a single project was $214 million for the $1.3 billion Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), a facility being built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a collaboration between several labs, including Berkeley. With this added funding Krebs said she expects construction of the SNS to remain on the current schedule, which calls for the facility to open in 2005.

Other new facilities which would receive boosted support are the B-Factory at SLAC, the Main Injector at Fermilab, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven, the Combustion Research Facility at Sandia, and the National Spherical Torus Experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.

In addition to increased support for these facilities, the budget also provides a substantial increase of $19 million to the Climate Change Technology Initiative, which would raise funding to $32.2 million for FY2000. The CCTI seeks technologies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The President's budget also calls for $10.9 million for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy to provide experimental treatment for cancer patients; $24.7 million for radiopharmaceuticals research to explore new medical treatments; and a $10 million increase for science education.

Krebs expressed optimism over how Congress would receive the proposed increases for science and technology programs. "The important thing we are seeing from Congress is that they like our programs and the direction they are going in," Krebs told a reporter for Inside Energy.

DOE's budget is organized into four general areas: science and technology, national security, energy resources, and environmental quality. Under the Clinton proposal, the area of national security, which includes the stockpile stewardship program, would receive $6.2 billion, an increase of $244 million over FY99.

The area of energy resources, which includes the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles and programs to promote energy efficiency, would get $2.3 billion, with program increases of $213 million over the FY99 operating budget. The final area, environmental quality, which includes environmental cleanup and the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository programs, would receive $6.5 billion, an increase of $114 million over FY99.

Further details on DOE's budget for FY2000 can be found online at 00budget/index.htm.


ALS X-Rays Help Reveal Protein Function

Key role for ALS in Genome Projects

By Lynn Yarris

A broad new avenue for interpreting genetic data has been opened by a group of Berkeley Lab scientists who used x-ray beams from the Advanced Light Source to help identify the molecular function of a hypothetical protein.

Sung-Hou Kim, a chemist with the Physical Biosciences Division and a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley, led the group of researchers that determined the three-dimensional crystal structure of a protein whose function was previously unknown. The protein came from a hyperthermophile - a primitive organism that lives in the hot springs of deep-sea vents. Its structure was found to contain ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

The presence of an ATP molecule suggested that the protein functions as either an energy generator, a signal relay, or a molecular switch for activating or de-activating certain chemical reactions. Subsequent biochemical assays indicated this protein serves as a switch.

"X-ray crystallography can give us the 3-D structure of a protein from which we can often predict the protein's molecular function (its biochemical and biophysical roles)," says Kim. "These structural predictions provide us with a good lead towards identifying the protein's cellular function - how it networks with other proteins."

This approach to predicting molecular functions based on the structure of a genetically-encoded protein is called "structural genomics," and these results, says Kim, show that it is a viable technique for finding out what a specific gene does.

Various projects now underway to decipher the entire complement of genes of several organisms, including the Human Genome Project, promise to revolutionize the fields of medicine and biology in the next century. For any given genome, however, once its full complement of genes has been identified, the critical next step is to determine the one or more molecular and cellular functions of the protein that each of those genes encodes for.

"Analysis of several completed genomes shows that many of the encoded proteins cannot be assigned to particular functions, which means that no experimental assays can be easily devised to investigate their exact roles," says Kim. "In other words, scientists have no idea as to what these genes do."

The prevailing method for determining the purpose of a specific gene is to compare the sequence pattern of its DNA to that of genes whose roles have already been identified. A major drawback to this approach is that while proteins in different organisms may have similar form and function (the two go hand-in-hand for proteins), the DNA sequencing patterns of their genes may be dramatically different.

Given the close relationship between form and function in proteins, solving the structures of proteins to predict their function and classify them into families or groups has posed an attractive alternative. However, until this latest research from Kim and his colleagues, it had not been demonstrated that the structural approach to functional genomics could be done in a timely manner.

Access to the ALS was essential to his group's success, Kim says. Working at the Macromolecular Crystallography Facility, one of the world's premier x-ray beamlines for protein crystallography, Kim and his colleagues were able to resolve the structure of their hyperthermophile protein to within 1.7 angstroms. This high degree of detail not only revealed the presence of a bound ATP molecule unambiguously, but also a new ATP-binding motif that is apparently shared by a family of proteins.

"It is estimated that the protein world could be represented by a few thousand families (based on folding patterns)," says Kim. "Our results show that through the power of synchrotron radiation, structural genomics is one method by which families of protein structures with hitherto unknown folding patterns could also be discovered."

To identify the 3-D structure of the MJ0577 protein from the hyperthermophile Methanococcus Jannaschii, Kim and his colleagues had to first crystallize it. One of the reasons this particular protein was chosen as a test case is that it readily forms a stable crystal. Another reason is that MJ0577 comes from a "deeply rooted organism," one that lies close to the origins of life on the evolutionary scale.

"Proteins such as these are often architecturally similar and have the same functions in humans as in bacteria," explains Kim.

When a beam of ALS x-rays was sent through the protein's crystal, the incoming photons were scattered by the crystal's atoms, creating a diffraction pattern which Kim and his colleagues were able to translate into a 3-D image.

The structure of this protein was then compared against those in the Protein Data Bank at Brookhaven National Laboratory with the idea that any similarities could be used to predict the new protein's molecular properties.

Kim's research group has been selected as one of the "test-beds" for a joint structural genomics initiative between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The results of their research on the MJ0577 protein were reported in the Dec. 22, 1998 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (

Members of Kim's research group who contributed to the PNAS paper include Thomas Zarembinski, Li-Wei Hung, Hans-Joachim Mueller-Dieckmann, Kyeong-Kyu Kim, Hisao Yokota, and Rosalind Kim.

Photo:Sung-Hou Kim of the Physical Biosciences Division (left) led a group of scientists, including Li-Wei Hung, Tom Zarembinski and Jochen Mueller-Dieckmann, in a project that used an ALS beamline to determine the 3-D structure of a previously unknown protein.



Lab a Partner in DOE Education Initiative

By Monica Friedlander

They are the fields of the future, on the cutting edge of science and technology: computational science, biotechnology and environmental science. Their applications span national and global concerns ranging from genetics to innovative energy solutions. And what they need most of all is skilled young scientists to take them into the next century.

A bold new initiative announced by Energy Secretary Bill Richardson last month seeks to steer young people towards these professions, and Berkeley Lab will play a key role in this national effort. The program - officially known as the Institute of Biotechnology, Environmental Science, and Computing for Community Colleges - will provide highly motivated community college students with educational training and on-the-job research experience at six Department of Energy national laboratories: Argonne, Berkeley Lab, Brookhaven, Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest.

The program, a partnership between the DOE, its participating laboratories and the American Association of Community Colleges, will offer students the chance to participate in eight-week-long summer institutes in the areas of biotechnology, environmental science, and computing.

"This is a marvelous opportunity to strengthen the science education of community college students, to enlarge their horizons, and show them future job opportunities," said Berkeley Lab Deputy Director Pier Oddone.

Students accepted into the program will be matched with scientists working in their specific areas of interest and will have access to state-of-the art scientific facilities and instruments. The experience will expose - and hopefully entice them - to careers in science and technology.

Hundreds of students from 60 colleges are expected to participate, and 24 of them from 18 colleges from throughout California will spend the summer at Berkeley Lab.

Run by the Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE), the Lab program involves a multidivisional partnership which includes NERSC, Life Sciences and the Center for Environmental Biotechnology. The program is currently looking for mentors in the program's three areas. The students will be fully supported by DOE funds.

"Although an education initiative dealing with community colleges on such a large scale is relatively new for DOE, Berkeley Lab has a long history with community colleges," said Laurel Egenberger, the program coordinator. "Community college students have successfully participated in our undergraduate programs for years, and our scientists and engineers who have mentored them know first-hand how well these students do."

Over the past three summers, for instance, CSEE and the Human Genome Program have run a four-week Community College Initiative in Biotechnology. Many of the participants went on to four-year colleges, and some returned to the Lab to participate in its undergraduate research programs. Some, Egenberger said, stayed on to become Lab employees.

Students participating in the program will be given a specific project reflecting their background and interest and will be mentored towards successful completion by a Lab scientist. CSEE will place pairs of students in labs and research groups that are working in one or more of the three areas. If the partnership is successful, CSEE will bring them back the following summer.

"The most important element of the current program is the students' participation in individual research groups," Egenberger said. "And we have learned how important it is for students to be able to return to the Laboratory to build on their experience and education."

Students will be selected from a regional consortium of community colleges partnering with DOE and a participating laboratory. Each student will receive a stipend of $325 per week.

To be eligible, students must be at least 18-years-old; be enrolled at one of the participating community colleges; be interested in a career in biotechnology, environmental science or computing; have a minimum grade point average of 3.25; and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The application deadline for the Summer 1999 institutes is March 15.

Anyone interested in mentoring students or learning more about the Lab program may look up the CSEE website at Further information about the program (including application forms) can be found on the DOE's website at

A meeting will held on March 1 and March 2 to bring community college representatives and Lab scientists together. Anyone working in the areas of biotechnology, environmental science and computing is encouraged to attend. For more information about the meeting call Laurel Egenberger at X5190 or [email protected].

Photo:Jose Cota was one of the participants in one of Berkeley Lab's past programs for community college students.


News Digest


Japanese Scientists Visit Lab to Explore Exchange Options

Photo:A delegation representing the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture visited Berkeley Lab last Friday, Feb. 5, to discuss possible scientific exchanges with Japan. These exchanges may include collaborative research, short-term visits to Japan by faculty and researchers from UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab, and fellowships for graduate and post-doctoral students. The members of the Japanese delegation met with Lab representatives, including Deputy Director Pier Oddone (third from the left). Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt


Washington Budget Report: How Other Agencies Fare

Clinton's Budget First to Favor Civilian R&D in 20 Years

By Lynn Yarris

The FY2000 budget unveiled last week by the Clinton Administration (see story on Page 1) is the first one to favor civilian R&D over defense R&D since the administration of Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. Even though the margin was slim - 51 percent to 49 percent - this fulfills a pledge President Clinton made at the start of his first term.

The Clinton science budget was presented by a gathering of the Administration's top science officials, including DOE Secretary Bill Richardson, who announced that the Administration was requesting a total of $39.76 billion for civilian R&D and $38.48 billion for defense R&D, for a total of $78.24 billion, about 1.3-percent below the total requested for FY 1999.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the meager 2.1 percent increase requested for the National Institutes of Health. A year ago, the Administration was requesting a record dollar increase for NIH, and the budget rollout was attended by NIH head Harold Varmus. This year, Varmus did not attend the presentation.

In Varmus' absence, other Administration officials defended this year's small NIH increase. "Society cannot live by biomedical bread alone," said Rita Colwell, chief of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF funded a recent study that showed that between 1970 and 1997 the share of federal funds going to biomedical research rose from 29 to 43-percent while the share going to the physical sciences and engineering dropped from 50 to 33 percent.

NIH supporters had been seeking a 15 percent budget increase and have publicly vowed to mobilize a campaign to achieve that goal. Presidential science advisor Neal Lane says the Administration has no problem with Congress raising NIH's funding above the proposed two percent as long as it does not do so at the expense of the other science agencies.

NSF's Colwell should be happy over the increase requested for her agency. Clinton's budget calls for NSF to receive a hefty 5.8 percent increase, the highest for any of the major science agencies. NSF's research component would get a seven percent boost under this plan. Most of the increase would be directed toward two areas: information technology and biocomplexity.

Among the agency's plans are to buy or lease a 5-teraflop machine that would be available to all researchers on a competitive basis. "It will transform the way we do science," said Colwell.

In the realm of biocomplexity, the agency plans to emphasize such activities as genomics, remote-sensing, robotic explorations of hostile environments, and long-term ecological studies and inventories.

NSF also fared well with its facilities' initiatives. Under the proposed budget, it would receive $7.7 million to begin construction of a $75 million earthquake engineering simulation network, $16 million to continue funding detectors for CERN's Large Hadron Collider, $8 million for final design of the antennae on the proposed millimeter array telescope, and $17.4 million for the new South Pole station and added logistical support in Antarctica. The discussed Polar Cap Observatory is reportedly "off the table" because of congressional opposition led by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK).

For the sixth consecutive year, NASA would see a decline if the Clinton Administration gets its request from Congress. The proposed FY2000 budget calls for the space agency's overall budget to decline by one percent. Several major research programs face major cuts in order to free up more than $1 billion needed for the international space station.

Among the hardest hit of these programs would be the space station research program, which would lose $200 million, or about one third of its current funding. NASA head Dan Goldin says delaying the science will "put it more in phase" with the construction of the station.

"We didn't want the research equipment to be ahead of the assembly," he said.

The Department of Commerce's two scientific agencies - the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - both fared quite well, as did the budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's peer-reviewed research initiative. NIST stands to see a 15 percent increase, with a large portion of that money intended for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP).

Targeted for death by Congressional Republicans just four years ago, ATP withstood the attack, and the Administration is now asking that it be funded to the tune of $239 million, an 18 percent increase over last year.

Acknowledging that ATP "has not been a terribly popular program among some folks on the Hill," NIST director Ray Kammer said the proposed increase is "ambitious, but I believe it is strongly justified by the results of individual projects, which join companies and university researchers working in a variety of fields."

NOAA is looking for a 13 percent increase, with much of that additional money slated for GEOSTORM, a satellite program to monitor solar winds, and for a new climate-modeling supercomputer. NOAA officials seem confident of winning congressional support.

"The extreme weather events caused by last year's El Niño and this year's La Niña put NOAA on prominent display to the public, and we more than met the challenge," said NOAA's top official, D. James Baker.

USDA's National Research Initiative would get a whopping 68 percent boost to $200 million. The U.S. Geological Survey, the Interior Department's natural science agency, would get a more modest but still healthy increase of five percent over last year. While basic science in defense R&D was for the most part flat, the proposed budget for DARPA would rise 3.6 percent.

News for the Environmental Protection Agency's was even less promising than for NIH. The proposed R&D portion of EPA's FY2000 budget would drop 4.8 percent, from $562 million to $535 million.


Awards and Honors

Mina Bissell to Receive Clowes Award

The American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) has named Life Sciences Director Mina Bissell the recipient of this year's G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award. The Eli Lilly Company established this award to honor Dr. G.H.A. Clowes, a founding member of AACR and a research director of Eli Lilly.

Dr. Bissell was honored for her groundbreaking work in establishing the critical role of the extracellular matrix, and the dynamic reciprocity between it and the cell nucleus, as determinants of the behavior of breast epithelial cells. In addition, the Association cited her studies demonstrating the importance of the balance of integrins at the cell surface in modulating malignant phenotype. This research carries major implications for the development of new therapeutic approaches to breast cancer.

Dr. Bissell will receive $5,000 and a commemorative medal when she delivers the Clowes Award Lecture at the AACR annual meeting in April.

Former recipients of the award include Nobel laureates Peyton Rous and Howard Temin, and in more recent years, Judah Folkman, Mary-Claire King, Bert Vogelstein, Robert Weinberg, Stanley Korsmeyer and Arnould Levine.


Early Career Awards

Roya Maboudian of Berkeley Lab's Material Sciences Division is one of seven DOE-funded scientists and engineers to receive the Department of Energy's Early Career Awards for their work at national laboratories and research universities.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson handed the awards to the young researchers on Wednesday. "Their creativity and innovation provides the Department of Energy with the cutting-edge science and technology to achieve our mission," Richardson said.

The honorees were among 60 people named by President Clinton to receive the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young researchers.

Maboudian was recognized for his work in self-assembled monolayer anti-stiction coatings.

The other recipients of the DOE awards were George P. Wiederrecht of Argonne, James W. Lee and Anthony Mezzacappa of Oak Ridge, Mari Lou Balmer of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Tonya L. Kuhl of UC Santa Barbara, and Christopher Palmer of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Berkeley Lab Currents

Published twice a month by the Public Information Department for the employees and retirees of Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Ron Kolb, PID department head.

EDITOR: Monica Friedlander, X2248 (495-2248 from outside), [email protected]

STAFF WRITERS: Jeffery Kahn, X4019; Paul Preuss, X6249; Lynn Yarris, X5375

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Jon Bashor, X5849; Allan Chen, X4210

FLEA MARKET / CALENDAR: Jacqueline Noble, X5771
[email protected] / [email protected]

Public Information Department, Berkeley Lab, MS 65A
One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley CA 94720
Tel: 510/486-5771 Fax: 510/486-6641

Berkeley Lab is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy.


Science News


A Close Look Under Pressure

Technique may lead to better understanding of atomic-level chemistry

By Paul Preuss

It's the surface of a solid that contacts liquids, gases and other solids, so it's no surprise that a lot of interesting chemistry happens on the surface of things. And one of the best ways to get a close look is with the help of scanning tunneling microscopy, or STM. The tip of a tiny electrode moves over a sample and creates a picture of the surface virtually atom by atom, by measuring the current due to electrons tunneling through the gap between the electrode and the sample.

"Some kinds of atomic-scale studies can only be done in vacuum, because many of the techniques used in them are based on electrons traveling out of the sample, and gas molecules diffuse these electrons," says Miquel Salmeron of the Lab's Materials Sciences Division, explaining that, traditionally, STM is done in high vacuum. "With STM, although high vacuum is useful, there's no intrinsic reason it has to be done in vacuum."

Indeed, many chemical reactions, including important catalytic reactions, occur only under pressure. There is no dependable way to extrapolate from high-vacuum STM experiments to high-pressure research on catalysis.

"A while ago the idea of uniting these two communities - the high-vacuum STM community and the people who investigate catalysis under high pressure and temperature - just jumped out at me."

It was Salmeron's inspiration to mount a scanning tunneling microscope inside an air-tight chamber immediately adjacent to a traditional high-vacuum chamber. A sample is first prepared in the high-vacuum chamber, then drawn into the second chamber by a long rod and positioned under the microscope tip.

After a gate valve has been closed between the chambers, one or more gases can be introduced. Although pressures to date have been one atmosphere or less, pressures of hundreds of atmospheres are possible.

Samples are heated up to 500 degrees Kelvin using an ordinary movie-projector lamp whose hot filament, sealed inside a glass bulb, cannot react with gas.

Recently Salmeron and his colleagues, including Gabor Somorjai, John Jensen and Keith Rider, have used the new technique to discover unsuspected features of catalytic reactions on the surface of platinum at the atomic scale.

A catalyst is a material or chemical that speeds up reactions without itself undergoing permanent change. In the catalytic converters of automobiles, platinum is used to promote the conversion of exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and water. What really happens when carbon monoxide adheres to an exposed platinum surface?

Salmeron and his colleagues showed that the answer critically depends on pressure and temperature. Despite what some researchers had argued, the molecular structure of carbon monoxide adsorbed on platinum at ambient temperature, and high pressure is fundamentally different from the structures seen in vacuum at an extremely cold temperature.

"In a cold vacuum," says Salmeron, "carbon monoxide molecules form ordered structures. Under heat and pressure, however, the carbon monoxide covers the surface uniformly."

Under heat and pressure, a close-packed hexagonal lattice of carbon monoxide overlies the platinum substrate atoms in the ratio of three carbon monoxide molecules to approximately four platinum atoms, forming a striking hexagonal moiré pattern.

After working with platinum, carbon monoxide and oxygen, Salmeron and his colleagues have investigated the action of the gases with another important catalyst, rhodium. Under heat and pressure, patterns never seen before appear, quite different from the hexagonal moiré patterns evident on platinum. Studies like these may lead to a fundamental understanding of catalytic processes and an ability to control and improve them.

"There is so much chemistry to be investigated at the atomic level," says Salmeron, "that much of what we are doing is simply establishing a technique for working under realistic conditions. We hope researchers will get enthusiastic about using it on many other problems."

Photo:Miquel Salmeron of the Materials Sciences Division uses a high-pressure, high-temperature STM microscope to zero in on atomic-level chemical reactions. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt


Nominations for R&D 100 Awards Due By March 8

Nominations for this year's prestigious R&D 100 Awards, recognizing "the 100 most technologically significant new products and processes of the year," are due on March 8. Official Berkeley Lab nominations must be submitted through the Technology Transfer Department.

Judging is completed by late May and winners are notified in early June. Products nominated must have been available for sale or licensing during the calendar year preceding the judging.

Products recognized with R&D 100s over the years include the flashcube (1965), the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the liquid crystal display (1980), and the Kodak Photo CD (1991). Berkeley Lab scientists have won the award often in past years.

Anyone interested in submitting nominations should contact Bruce Davies of Tech Transfer at X6461.

Detailed information about the award and the submission process may be found on R&D's website at


Around the Lab


Computer Corner

Forum Will Address Computer Security

Computer security is quite a hot topic in today's world. It seems a new computer virus spreads almost every day. Web sites are hacked and their content maliciously manipulated. Passwords are stolen as they pass over "the net." Privacy and security concerns pervade electronic commerce discussions. Sensitive information is stolen or otherwise compromised.

In his role as manager of the Lab's computer protection program, Jim Rothfuss is responsible for protecting Berkeley Lab computers from outside hackers, viruses, Trojan horses, and the like. And with the Y2K problem looming, he's also part of the Lab's effort to make sure that computers on the Hill are up and running securely on January 1, 2000.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Rothfuss will hold the Lab's first Computer Protection Program Open Forum, to be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Bldg. 50 auditorium.

Rothfuss will give a short, bird's eye view of the computer protection program at Berkeley Lab and talk about near-term activities. He will then open the forum to questions.

Although the event is geared toward those who play an active role in the care and feeding of computer systems, all interested employees are encouraged to attend. As a matter of fact, Rothfuss says, everyone who uses a computer shares responsibility for protecting the system.

Computer protection also involves some lesser-known pitfalls than the issues garnering media attention. For example, browsing different websites and accepting invitations to download files or applications can have destructive and expensive results if the user is not careful, Rothfuss notes. Because the web is a two-way street, sites can also gather data about individual visitors, just as they are taking in information from the web pages.

"As computers become more prevalent and easier to use, we tend to take them more and more for granted," Rothfuss says. "But they're not just like another appliance. They're powerful tools. And like most tools, when they're used properly, they're a real asset in helping us do our jobs. But if they're misused, or not taken care of properly, they can cause serious problems for both the user and the organization." --Jon Bashor


Tax Incentives for Public Transit Users

By monica Friedlander

A new program providing tax incentives to commuters who use alternatives to driving to work will soon go into effect at Berkeley Lab. The program will allow most employees to deduct up to $65 per month of their transportation costs from their pre-tax paycheck if they use public transit to commute to the Lab.

In addition, a vanpool program with similar tax benefits is in the process of being set up and will be available to Lab employees within a few months.

The pre-tax deduction is available to all employees on Lab payroll except for those in the clerical (CX) bargaining unit, pending current negotiations. Employees currently ineligible for pre-tax savings are still eligible for post-tax payroll deductions and for participation in the vanpool program.

"This is a win-win program for the employees, the Lab and the environment," says Sue Bowen of the Lab's Site Access Office. "You can save money, help reduce parking congestion onsite, and contribute to reducing air pollution on the roads."

"The program rewards employees who already use public transportation," she adds, "and I hope it will encourage others to give this option serious consideration."

Eligible employees who choose to participate will have a maximum of $65 of their transportation costs deducted from their pre-tax paycheck each month, with the rest of the cost (if applicable) taken out of their post-tax pay.


Public Transit Program

The program, which will go into effect in April, is being offered by Berkeley Lab in partnership with the Berkeley TRIP commuter store.

Participants in the program may select from among four public transit options, with payment being made directly through payroll deduction (two BART tickets for $90; one monthly AC Transit pass for $45; two half-monthly BART Plus tickets for $56; or four AC Transit ticket booklets for $40).

Employees will then pick up their BART or AC Transit tickets any time after pay day either from the Berkeley TRIP Store (2033 Center Street) or from its "store on wheels" - the Tripmobile - which drives up to the Lab during lunch time the first Thursday of every month.

To take advantage of the program employees have to sign up for a minimum of three months.

Applications are now being accepted and employees are encouraged to apply by March 15.

Application forms are available online at (click on Commuter Incentives) or at the Site Access office on the lower level of Bldg. 65.

The program offers benefits similar to the commuter voucher program that used to be available to Lab employees in past years. "But this program is better," Bowen says, "and it has fewer restrictions." Among them: participants do not lose their parking privileges at the Lab.


Commuter Vanpool Program

Through a partnership with Enterprise Vanpool (a division of Enterprise Rent-A-Car), Berkeley Lab will offer employees who commute a minimum of 20 miles each way a cost-effective alternative to driving alone. The vanpooling program will allow small groups of Lab employees who live in the same area to lease Enterprise vans at affordable rates. Other benefits include full insurance and maintenance programs, 24-hour roadside assistance, replacement vans, and a variety of lease options, including a 30-day release program.

The program, Bowen says, will arrange vanpool packages that best fit each individual's need and budget. Payment for the vanpool will be made through payroll deduction (pre- or post-tax.)

The Site Access Office will help match commuters interested in vanpooling, and Enterprise will provide cost analysis to interested employees to help them determine whether they are good candidates for the program. More information on the vanpool program will be provided at special meetings to be organized by Site Access in the near future.

To participate in the program or for more information, contact Sue Bowen (X6395 or [email protected]). You may also look up the Enterprise website at


EETD Volunteers Teach Scientists of the Future

By allan chen

Then Rick Diamond and Erik Page walked into the fourth-grade classroom of Whittier School teacher Josh Collins last December, the children knew they were in for a break from their usual routine. Diamond and Page, both of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, were pointing hand-held, laser-based measuring instruments at doors, windows and other surfaces.

"What are we doing?" they asked the kids. "Can you guess?"

In due course, the researchers led their attentive audience to the answer. They were measuring temperatures and light levels.

"The kids liked trying to guess what we were doing," says Diamond, "so we thought we'd ask them a few other questions. For instance, what are the relative temperatures of the surfaces we're measuring, and why they thought different surfaces would have different temperatures."

After some more laser-pointing, the teachers and students determined that the classroom floor was cooler than the ceiling, that the north wall was cooler than the south wall, and that bald heads are warmer than hairy heads. Then they turned to measuring light levels and found, for example, that there was more light coming from under the ceiling lights than the ceiling panels.

Diamond and Page were kicking off a new effort to bring volunteers from the EETD into local Berkeley and Oakland schools to teach elementary school children about energy science. Diamond is the coordinator of EETD's program.

"When [EETD Division Director] Mark Levine asked me to set up a school volunteer program for the division," Diamond said, "I began looking for existing resources to facilitate placing our people in schools."

That's when he found Community Resources for Science (CRS), a non-profit group based in Oakland which matches local teachers and schools with scientists willing to volunteer their time to teach a short class or set of classes. The group also helps volunteers develop age-appropriate activities for school children.

"Children are lost to careers in science unless you start them early," says EETD Director Mark Levine. "We want to help interest children, including minority children, in science beginning at the elementary school level."

EETD is looking for additional volunteers to expand its "Future Scientists" program. "One possibility is providing an Ask-an-Energy-Scientist service over the Internet for elementary school science teachers," Diamond said. "There are very few Internet programs for kids until they reach seventh grade, so we're focusing on the K-6 age group."

"Teaching children is easy, painless and fun," he adds. "I'd like to get more EETD staff into our program. We plan on hiring these kids in 15 years."

After finishing their heat and light measurements, the Whittier School class turned to an exhibit of light sources - standard incandescent bulbs and energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The kids could tell right away which source was hotter (the incandescent). Then, by using an instrument to measure the electricity use, Diamond and Page showed them that the CFL uses less electricity.

Another avenue being explored by Diamond is the Department of Energy's Energy $mart Schools program, which aims at rebuilding America's aging school facilities through public-private partnerships. The program disseminates information about energy efficiency to parents, teachers and students. EETD staff provide technical assistance on energy-efficient building design projects to DOE's Rebuild America program, which is helping fund Energy $mart Schools.

EETD staff interested in volunteering may contact Rick Diamond at X4459. Other Berkeley Lab employees can contact Community Resources for Science at (510) 273-0290, [email protected].

Photo:Erik Page of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division demonstrates a temperature-measuring device to fourth grade students at Whittier School. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt

Currents Online

The full text and photographs of each edition of Currents are published online at You may find a link to Currents on the Lab's home page under the heading "Publications." The site allows users to do searches of past articles going back to 1994.


Bulletin Board


Students Shadow Mentors on Groundhog Day

Photo:Martin Stoufer of NERSC demonstrated the latest computer technology to Art Gomez, one of 12 students from local high schools who spent the morning of Feb. 2 alongside Berkeley Lab scientists. The students participated in "Groundhog Shadow Day" - a national event intended to give high school students a close-up look at the workplace and possible future careers. The program at Berkeley Lab matched each student with a mentor from various divisions.

All students who visited Berkeley Lab are already enrolled in science or environmental programs at Ber-keley High, Castlemont High or Middle College High School on the campus of Contra Costa College.

National Groundhog Job Shadow Day is sponsored by Colin Powell's America's Promise, Junior Achievement, the National School-to-Work Office, and the American Society of Association Executives. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt


Fidelity Investments To Offer Personal Consultations

A Fidelity Investments representative will visit Berkeley Lab on Thursday, Feb. 25, to offer employees one-on-one, 30-minute consultations. Employees who would like to discuss enrolling in Fidelity or have questions about Fidelity and their retirement plans are invited to sign up.

The sessions will be held in the Promenade Building (1936 University Avenue, Room 289F). Space is limited and appointments are required. To sign up call Fidelity Investments between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (800) 642-7131.


Art Exhibit Tour

The Employees' Art Council has arranged a docent-led, private tour of the "Impressionists in Winter: Effets de Neige," art exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 24.

Checks for the tickets are due by March 19. The Lab tours will start at 9 a.m., one hour before the museum opens to the public.

The exhibition is comprised of more than 50 winter landscapes from private and public collections from around the world and includes work by Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin, Gustave Caillebotte, and Pierre-August Renoir.

Ticket are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (65 or older), and $6 for members of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

Additional information on this exhibition can be found on the web at

For reservations or further information, contact Mary Clary by phone or e-mail at [email protected], X4940.


Workshops on Job Application Process

The LBNL Postdoctoral Society in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Postdoctoral Association is sponsoring a three-part workshop on the job application and interview process.

The first session was held on Feb. 11, with the two remaining sessions scheduled for the next two Thursdays - Feb. 18 (interviewing and negotiating) and Feb. 25 (applying for an academic job).

The workshops, which are part of the Society's career workshop series for 1999, are held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Barrows Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. They are designed to provide information on all aspects of the application process, both for academic tenure-track faculty and industry positions. Topics include resume writing, the interview process and negotiation strategies. One session will address issues related to dual-career couples searching for jobs.

Presenters include Kenneth Fong and Charles Morehouse of Hewlett Packard Labs, David Bentley of UC Berkeley, and John Harris of Mills College.

Participants may register either online ( or by e-mail (postdoc@


Power to Be Turned Off on Saturday, Feb. 27

The Facilities Department has scheduled a power outage on Saturday, Feb. 27, in order to facilitate future construction plans at the Blackberry Switching Station. The power will be turned off from about 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the following buildings: 51 complex, 55 complex, 56, 60, 63, 64, 67 modulars, 90 and 90 modulars. Standby generators will be operating to provide power to critical building loads.

For further information contact Mahesh Gupta at X5220 or George Ames at X6837.


February 1999

General Interest


10-11 a.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium

12-1 p.m., Perseverance Hall




Noon, Bldg. 26-109


7:30 - 3:30, cafeteria parking lot

The job application process 4:30-7:30 p.m.,
Barrows Hall, UCB


10:30-12, Bldg. 50 auditorium

Noon, Bldg. 26-109


Individual appointments, Promenade Building (1936 University) Call 1-800-642-7131

The job application process 4:30-7:30 p.m., Barrows Hall, UCB

Seminars & Lectures


"Autoresonant Excitation of a Diocotron Wave" will be presented by Joel Fajans of UC Berkeley
10:30 a.m., Bldg. 71 conf. center

"US Landfills - Changing the Subtitle D Paradigm: Dry Tombs to Bioreactors" will be presented by Terry Hazen of Earth Sciences.
11 a.m., Bldg. 90-2063


"2 Angstrom Crystal Structure of the Nucleosome Core Particle" will be presented by Karolin Luger of Colorado State Univ.
4 p.m., Bldg. 66-316


"Catalytic NOx Reduction by Hydrocarbon in an Oxidizing Atmosphere" will be presented by Harold Kung of Northwestern University.
1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium


"Magnetic Trapping of Molecules" will be presented by John Doyle of Harvard University.
4:30 p.m., 1 LeConte Hall, UC Berkeley (Tea at 4 p.m., 375 LeConte)


"Homology-Directed Repair as a Major DNA Repair Pathway in Mammalian Cells" will be presented by Maria Jasin of Sloan-Kettering Institute and Cornell University."
4 p.m., Bldg. 66-316


"Recent Advances in Scanning Probe Microscopy" will be presented by Paul Hansma of UC Santa Barbara.
1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium


"A Type Transfer Function Approach for the Regional-Scale Assessment of Non-Point Source Groundwater Contamination in Fresno County (CA)" will be presented by Iris Stewart of Stanford University.
11 a.m., Bldg. 90-2063

"Problems in the Interpretations of Quantum Theory" will be presented by Henry Stapp of the Physics Division.
10:30 a.m., Bldg. 71 conf. rm.


Black History Month at LHS

The Lawrence Hall of Science is presenting a series of special exhibits and activities featuring the contributions of black scientists and mathematicians. These include:

For more information on these and other activities, call LHS at 642-5132.


Vending Machines Offer Healthy Snacks

In response to customer requests, Canteen Corporation, the Lab's cafeteria vendor, has introduced a new program - Nurture Our World (NOW) - featuring low fat or nonfat products. To meet the NOW requirements, the food must have no more than seven grams of fat per package. NOW products are identified in the snack vending machines by icons on the selection bins.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed and may be directed to Larry Rich, Canteen's customer service manager, at 483-4870 or to Louise Millard at X5547.


Courier Services

The Facilities Department is providing the Lab with rush courier service with pick-up and delivery both on- and off-site. Transportation can deliver up to 2,000 pounds anywhere in the Bay Area or in central or northern California. On-site materials will be delivered within one hour. For off-site service, a driver is available during normal business hours for same-day pick up and delivery, with rush service depending on destination.

To request a pick up, call Peggy Patterson at X5404.

Rush service is also available from IDS Courier, which operates 24 hours a day and provides pick-up and delivery service anywhere in the Bay Area and in portions of northern and central California. For information call Linda Wright at 548-3263.


Currents Online

The full text and photographs of each edition of Currents are published online at You may find a link to Currents on the Lab's home page under the heading "Publications." The site allows users to do searches of past articles going back to 1994.

To set up your computer to access the web, call the Mac and PC Support Group at X4357.


Flea Market


`81 VW Rabbit, 100K mi, reliable, good for city driving, $700/b.o., leaving lab, must sell, SK, 548-7103

`82 NISSAN Sentra wagon, blue, at, ac, am/fm, 160K mi, new brakes, battery, water pump, $900/b.o., Takahito, X4823, 665-7919

`84 BMW 325i, 125K mi, 2 dr, ac, at, sun roof, alloy wheels, leather interior, metallic blue, first owner, runs good, $3,100, David, 237-7353

`87 TOYOTA Corolla, metallic blue, 4 cyl, a/c, pwr steering, new battery, good cond, 202K, all maintenance records, $900/b.o., Dan, X7763, 528-0387

`88 NISSAN pickup, short-bed, 4 wheel drive, 6 cyl, 113K mi, camper shell, bed liner, carpet kit, flip-up sun roof, am/fm/cass, new tires, runs great, $5,200, Carrie or Beth X4389, 237-6634

`90 VW Cabriolet, convertible, red/black, gray upholstery, auto, par windows, am/fm/cass, alarm, ac, good cond, fun car, Tom or Evan, 547-5445

`90 KAWASAKI EX 500, 12K mi, 2nd owner, exc cond, new tires & brakes, $1,990, Marks, X7312, 524-1869

`94 FORD Mustang, silver, auto V6 3.8L, 59K mi, new transmission, new tires, fully loaded, ps, pb, pw, pwr seat, CD/cass, antilock brakes, air bag, more, runs great, $9,500, (high blue book is $10,800), Lisa, (925) 906-9786, X5314

`96 FORD Aspire, 48K mi, 2 dr, auto, ac, 2 airbags, Blaupunkt stereo/cass, champagne color, $5,500, Henrik, X5279, 243-9909

`96 JEEP CHEROKEE Classic, 4 wd, 100K mi, 6 yr factory warranty, exc cond, fully equipped, 5 spd, 37K mi, price reduced to $16,250, (925) 934-0549

Save $1000 to $1500 on purchase or lease of your next new GM car or truck, ask me how, Dave, X4506


EL CERRITO, flat, 2 bdrm, 1 bth, spacious rms, hardwood floors, nr BART, El Cerrito Plaza & public transportation, no pets, non-smokers only, ref req, $1,200/mo, Janice, X4943, 895-3584

EL CERRITO hills, furn rm, bay view, household privileges incl util, use of washer/dryer, kitchen, 15 min from Lab, $600/mo, Larry, X5406, 237-3321

OAKLAND, Lake Merritt, share a fully (nicely) furn condo w/ friendly young Lab scientist, must see to appreciate: own bdrm & bath, large patio, lake view, $550/mo, Hanover Ave, 2 min to I 580, 15-20 min to Berkeley Lab, avail, 3/1, Ben, X5812, 763-8414

WALNUT CREEK, townhouse, Cannon Drive, 2 bdrm, 2 1/2 bth, attached dbl garage, quiet area off Pleasant Hill Rd, avail 3/1 call for details, $1200/mo, Bob, (925) 376-2211


`93 SUNFISH SAILBOAT, w/ trailer/some accessories, exc cond, white & aqua, has never sailed in saltwater, John, 531-1739 (eve)

BOXES, moving, all sizes, from smallest for books to large clothes boxes w/ hanger bar, as new, used only once, make your offer, Massimo, X7695

BUSTAMENTE papier mache bird "Blue Giant," $500; Hermes scarves `Giverny', `Les Rubans', $175 ea; opera glasses in case, $50; IBM correcting selectric typewriter, brown, $175; antique spice cabinet, 6.5"x23.5"x33", $175; antique hutch, 40.5x19.5" x78", $1,000; new Parker Sonnet fountain pen, firedance fine point, $100; Mont Blanc fountain pen , fine point, burgundy, $100, Lisa, X6268, 841-4855, (eve)

CD PLAYER, 5-disk Kenwood, 103CD, 1 yr old, $85, Steve, X6966

CLOCK, school, Seth Thomas octagon dial, 8 day, ca. 1880, $300, "Ionic", wall clock by New Haven, 8 day w/ time & strike, ca. 1860, $400; both in perfect orig cond, Gary Koehler, X7931

EXERCISE BENCH & PRESS, DP Fit for Life, multiple weight units, exc cond, $75, Rosie, (925) 376-6278

FISHING GEAR, Cannon Downriggers & Associated equip, pneumatic swivel seat, clamp on swivel seats, Steve, X7705, (707) 746-5339

GRILL, George Foreman Lean Mean, small version, great for burgers & fish, used once $25, David, X4506

MICROWAVE, rangetop, very good cond, $120; small desk, $20; dining table & 4 chairs, $45, Y. Lou, X6736, 841-2140

POND, Fiberglass Koi, w/ pump & filter $450/b.o.; Olympus D-220 digital camera, $275/b.o., Marek, 582-5867

SNOW SKIS Olin Extreme, 195cm w/Marker bindings $50/b.o.; Snowboard, Crazy Banana, 160 cm, one year old, only used twice $100/b.o., Gateway PC Pentium 125 MHz w/ 15" monitor, HD 700 MB, 24MB RAM, CD-ROM 4x, internal 14.4 modem, speakers, 1.44" floppy, orig KB & mouse, MS Office Pro CD, $250/b.o. Paul, X2315, 655-6616

STROLLER, sturdy, wide body, sun roof, made in Italy, pd $180, barely used, $90, Miguel, X6443, 526-5291

REFRIGERATOR, small, 3'x2'x2', $50/b.o., leaving lab, must sell, SK, 548-7103

TABLE, coffee, redwood burl glass, unique, $350/b.o.; treadmill, Lifestyle 8.0, runs great, $150/b.o., Lisa, (925) 906-9786, X5314

TV, RCA, 19", closed caption, remote, only 5 mo use, $160; VCR, RCA, remote, only 5 mo use, $90, Takahito, X4823, 665-7919

WINE, vintage `82-'89, Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinot Noir from various wineries, $25-$55, Nobu, X4585


HOUSING, East Bay or SF, July-August 99, for a visiting family fr Italy, 3 adults & two children, Paolo, X6717, StefanoPiantoni@

LANTERN, Coleman, model 200A or 242, any cond, Nobu, X4585

STUDIO or 1 bdrm furn apt in-law for visiting Finnish researcher 4/1-11/30, walk, bike, bus distance to lab, Kathy, X4931, [email protected]

VAN POOL from San Francisco (Haight, Noe Valley and Castro regions) to UCB & LBNL (8 am-5 pm), may need an extra rider & part-time driver, David, X6013


TAHOE KEYS at South Lake Tahoe, 3 bdrm, 2-1/2 bth house, fenced yard, quiet area, close to skiing & other attractions, great views of water & mtns, call for details, $150/night (2 night min) Bob (925) 376-2211


CARTRIDGES, printer, Canon, for BJC-7000, part nos BC-60 (blk) & BC-61 (color), almost new, fine cond, 2 HP printer cartridges part no HP51604A, blk, for ThinkJet, QuietJet, unopened boxes, nominally expired 5/97, Will, 527-5643


Flea Market Ad Policy

Ads are accepted only from Berkeley Lab employees, retirees, and on-site DOE personnel. Submissions must include name, affiliation, extension, and home telephone number.

Ads can only be submitted in writing - via e-mail ([email protected]), fax (X6641), or delivered/ mailed to Bldg. 65B. They will run one issue only unless resubmitted in writing. They will be repeated only as space permits.

The deadline for the Feb. 26 issue of Currents is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19.