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Berkeley Lab Currents

January 29, 1999


Lab Helps Post Office Bask in New Light

By Allan Chen

Representatives from the U.S. Postal Service, Berkeley Lab, and the Department of Energy were among the dozens of guests gathered at the Rodeo Post Office to celebrate the installation of a new energy-efficient lighting system developed by researchers from the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD).

The prototype integrated task lighting system, designed for Postal Service use by a group led by EETD's Michael Siminovitch, will reduce lighting energy costs by at least 30 percent while providing a more pleasant work environment.

With seed money from the DOE's Federal Energy Management Program and funding from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), the Siminovitch team worked closely with Postal Service engineers to develop a system that would help reduce glare and improve comfort for postal employees.

"The project was a unique exercise in bringing together the two goals of improving energy efficiency and lighting quality," Siminovitch said. "To do this, we've integrated a high-efficiency task lighting system with a low-level ambient lighting system and coupled these to an energy control system."

An occupancy sensor turns off the task lighting directly above the sorting station when the letter carrier leaves.

With the completion of the prototype system, the USPS is planning installation and testing of the system in a larger mail distribution facility. Eventually, the Postal Service expects to install the new lighting technology in sorting facilities throughout the United States. The design team is currently gathering information on the energy savings and employee reaction to the new system. Early results indicate a very favorable response from the carriers.

Said Rodeo Postmaster Joe McDonald, "We need to take care of our customers and employees if we are to compete in the next millennium."

Berkeley Lab Director Shank described some of the energy-efficient technologies developed at Berkeley Lab over the years and told Postal Service employees, "I hope this technology will help make your work life better. We look forward to continuing working with the Postal Service."

Dean McCauley from DOE's Federal Energy Management Program told the group that "the process we've developed here, the holistic way of looking at the energy use buildings and making buildings work better for us is transferable to facilities everywhere. The work the Postal Service is doing here will take a big bite out of federal energy use and greenhouse gas production."

In addition to Siminovitch, members of the Berkeley Lab team that developed the lighting system include Jeff Mitchell, Erik Page, Kevin Gauna, and Doug Avery.

Said Siminovitch, "There was a high level of cooperation from the beginning, from the national and regional offices of the Postal Service, the Postmaster, and the interagency cooperation between the Department of Energy, the Postal Service and Berkeley Lab."

Photo: Michael Siminovitch of EETD (left), Lab Director Charles Shank and Bernie Denno of the Postal Service posed at the Rodeo Post Office under the new lighting system developed at Berkeley Lab. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt. (XBD9901-00156-02)


Vice President Gore Announces New Technology Initiative at AAAS Meeting

By Paul Preuss

Vice President Al Gore chose the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Anaheim, Calif., to announce the Administration's major new program of information technology research. Speaking on Sunday, Jan. 24, before a hall packed with hundreds of scientists and science educators, managers and communicators, Gore outlined plans to request $336 million in Fiscal Year 2000 for the program, which he dubbed "IT2" - a 28 percent increase over current government spending in the field.

If approved, the money will be distributed among the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense (including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

About $70 million of the total is intended for the DOE, the bulk of which will go to national laboratories, including Berkeley Lab.

In a follow-up briefing, DOE Undersecretary Ernest Moniz said DOE's role would largely be played in "high-end computing for cutting-edge science," including computer simulations. He said proposals will be invited from laboratories soon and program dollars will be distributed after a peer-review process, assuming the budget is approved.

In his speech Gore mentioned only one individual national lab: Berkeley Lab. After noting the Clinton administration's commitment to research and discovery and its belief "that government must support fundamental investments in science and technology, even when we don't know precisely where those investments will lead," Gore named some examples of things we did not know just three years ago, the last time he addressed the AAAS.

"For instance, we know a lot more today about how the universe works," the Vice President said. "Just last year, thanks to the groundbreaking work being done at Sidings Springs Observatories and Lawrence Berkeley Labs, we learned that there isn't enough matter in the universe to slow the pace of its expansion, and that, in fact, the expansion of the universe is accelerating." (See Currents, Dec. 18, 1998.)

Gore stressed the role of advanced computing in this and other discoveries in such fields as climate modeling, biochemistry, materials science, and genetic engineering. The Administration's request for increasing current information technology research will go hand in hand with continued tax credits for business, which Gore noted has invested $600 billion in private capital in global networking. The increased emphasis on information technology research, he said, is important for two reasons.

First, the Vice President said, "the science that this research could make possible is awesome to contemplate" - everything from computers that can understand and speak human languages to advanced simulations that will replace nuclear tests and predict tornadoes.

But, said Gore, "while the possibilities in science are awesome, the possibilities for our jobs, our families, and our economy is even more awesome." He cited the 7.4 million information technology jobs that "our investments 30 years ago helped create," and the millions more jobs projected to result from continued investment.

To match the budget dollars requested for new hardware and software research, Gore also emphasized the need to ensure that all segments benefit from the "fruits of discovery" through education and access to technology, as well as a desire to see that the new technology of the information age serves "our oldest and most cherished values."


AAAS Looks at Challenges for the New Century

By Lynn Yarris

What the new millennium could bring for the American scientific community dominated the policy talks at the 165th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement Science, which was held Jan. 21-26 in Anaheim.

AAAS President and UC Santa Cruz Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood said in her welcoming lecture that she sometimes feels like Alice in Wonderland, peering through the looking glass into a world that is not as it appears to be.

"On the one hand, American science is preeminent," Greenwood said, having enjoyed tremendous victories in discoveries and the advancement of knowledge. On the other hand, she said, "Our individual victories and accomplishments may feel good but they do not necessarily portend a prosperous future for science."

All scientists in this country should be concerned with our children's declining interest and poor academic performance in science and math, Greenwood said. The result has been an increasing turn by American youth towards mythology and mysticism.

"We are in danger of losing the next generation's support," she said. "If we expect the nation to fund science in the national interest, there must be a national interest in science."

A key problem, Greenwood warned, has been that science teachers across the nation, especially at the K-12 level, are facing "a powerful and vocal minority of parents and community leaders who are distrustful of and antagonistic towards science, especially when scientific data conflict with religious beliefs."

In response, Greenwood proposed "Project 20/20," a campaign to ensure that there is at least one scientist, engineer or scientifically literate professional on every school board.

"For many years now, this strategy of involvement has been pursued by a variety of grass roots groups who see school boards as an opportunity to further their goals or agendas," Greenwood said, citing specifically the efforts of the creationists. She calls her proposal Project 20/20 in the hope that it will provide the next generation with 20/20 vision of the world around them.

"Alice traveled through the looking glass and into a world that was confusing and distorted, and where she encountered things that were not what they seemed," Greenwood said. "At first she was helpless, but, like a good scientist, Alice explored her surroundings, analyzed its contents and tested hypotheses about what might be effective in interacting with this strange and distorted land. Once she approached her dilemma systematically and creatively, the solutions became clear."

Rita Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation and a microbiologist from the University of Maryland, agreed that improving science and math education is vital. However, she also admonished the science community to "not write off the population that has already finished school."

In a briefing to the media, Colwell urged scientists to improve their communications with the public at large and specifically with Congress.

"We don't really seem to make the case [for science] powerfully enough for the average person and for Congress," Colwell said. "At least we're not doing as well as we should."

Traditionally, scientists have expected to be funded because they are doing "important things for the good of humanity," Colwell said; but the scientific community needs to do a better job of making the connection between basic research and everyday life.

A discussion on Congressional attitudes towards science was presented by Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, a Michigan Republican and the first physicist elected to Congress.

"I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help you," Ehlers said at the start of his talk. When his audience laughed, Ehlers immediately responded, "Someday I hope to say those words and nobody will laugh."

Ehlers was brief in discussing what the new Congress views as funding priorities for science. He did say that the Spallation Neutron Source will proceed but probably at a slower funding pace than its supporters would like. With regards to the space station, he said there are "serious concerns about the enormous costs and what we can expect to benefit from it." He did not think Congress would "go along" with the global warming treaty signed at Kyoto because of "overstatements by its proponents," and a "lack of understanding by the public."

The focus of Ehlers' talk, however, was on the need for an entirely new national science policy. He argued that despite its enormous record of achievement, the U.S. scientific community has essentially been operating on "auto-pilot," guided by the policies of Vannevar Bush in his 1945 report "Science: The Endless Frontier." Quoting California Congressman George Brown, ranking minority member of the House Science Committee, he said, "Congress doesn't have a science policy; we have a budget policy."

Ehlers recently led a task force charged with developing a new long-range science and technology policy, the results of which have been published in a report entitled "Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy." The report can be found online at science/science_policy_report.htm. Ehlers encouraged people with an interest in science to read the report and then write to their congressional representatives and urge them to follow its recommendations.

"Or you can write to Congress first and then read the report," Ehlers joked.

Rosina Bierbaum, associate director for environment at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, seconded much of what Ehlers said in terms of Congress having a budget rather than a science policy. She also cautioned that despite the emergence of a budget surplus, discretionary spending caps remain in place, and 14 percent of civilian R&D funding comes from this pool of money.

In the face of continued stiff competition for funds, she said, scientists will also have to contend with the Government Performance and Results Act (GRPA). The objective of GRPA is to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in federally-funded programs. But its implementation will increase the pressure on federally-funded researchers to communicate to policy-makers and the public the rationale for their work and the significance of their results.

"It won't be enough to be discoverers of knowledge," Bierbaum said. "Scientists will also have to participate in the distribution of that knowledge."

Millennial Contretemps

Even at the meeting in Anaheim there was no escape from what was taking place in Washington, D.C. In her welcoming lecture, AAAS President M.R.C. Greenwood took note of a curious parallel between the most talked about scandal at the close of this millennium and the most talked about scandal at the close of the last one.

"As our nation observes the drama of accusations against President Clinton, the comparison with the last millennium would not be complete if I did not mention that in the year 999, Pope Sylvester II was accused of sodomy, worshipping idols, and raising the dead," said Greenwood. President Clinton might take comfort to know that Gerbert of Aurillac, who as Sylvester II became the first French pope, survived those accusations and went on to gain renown for his scholarly achievements and astute politics.

Strange But True

With thanks again to M.R.C. Greenwood and surveys from Research America, we can report from the AAAS meeting that the American public has a high opinion of science. More than 50 percent of the respondents in a national poll agreed that scientists have "very great prestige." Polls also show that the American people believe the benefits of scientific research outweigh the harmful effects, and that federal taxes should support basic research.

More than 90 percent of this same public, however, "did not understand" the term "molecule," and nearly 80 percent were equally vague about the term "DNA." Perhaps the most sobering statistic of all is this: the amount of money the American public spent on candles last year - approximately $5 billion - is roughly equivalent to the annual budget of the National Science Foundation!

--Lynn Yarris


Michael Crichton on Science & The Media

Author Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame addressed the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement Science last week. Turn to Page 3 for more on his talk about science and Hollywood.


News Digest


Science Magazine Available Online To Lab Employees

A site-wide subscription arranged by Berkeley Lab's Library offers employees immediate online access to the web version of Science magazine. Science Online ( allows users to read the full text of the current issue of Science, do searches, browse archives, and sign up for e-mail alerts about specific topics. The site also includes links to Science's online publications, such as Science Careers, Science Now, and Next Wave.

Science Online also includes links to related information, making the online version of the magazine richer than its printed counterpart.

This free access is made possible by a license bought by the Library which allows Lab employees to log directly onto the website from a Lab domain.

Access to Science Online is also available through the Library page at (Click on the letter "S" under the heading "LBNL Electronic Journals.") Users may want to bookmark that site, since the Library subscribes to numerous other online journals.


UC Launches Digital Library

Last week the University of California opened its digital doors to the public by launching the California Digital Library (CDL), a gateway to an integrated web of digital collections, services and tools at CDL is a collaborative effort of the nine UC campuses and is housed at the UC Office of the President.

The project builds, manages, and provides access to shared collections of materials for the University and its partners. CDL's browsing and searching tools allow users to view more than 2,000 electronic journals as well as special and archival collections throughout the state.

The website complements the Melvylreg. Union Catalog of UC-owned print and non-print materials, as well as campus-based catalogs and websites, by directing users to electronic journals, other materials and search tools.

CDL and its partner libraries on each UC campus are also using digital technologies to help users share UC's 30-million volume print collection. Debuting with CDL is Request, a new service for UC faculty, graduate students and staff to request materials located anywhere in the nine-campus system.

CDL is also collaborating with the California State Library to build the Library of California, an electronic library that could eventually link all of the state's public, private, school, and academic libraries - as well as many of its museums and think tanks - into one of the world's largest information-sharing networks.

--Monica Friedlander


STAR Chamber Now at Home at Brookhaven

Photo: The Time Projection Chamber of STAR, originally built at Berkeley Lab, is now getting settled in its new home at Brookhaven National Laboratory. STAR - the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider) - will be used to study quark-gluon plasma, the dominant state of matter in the early stages of the universe. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt. (XBD9812-03107-04)


Vegetation Assessment for Tritium Shows Negligible Environmental Impact

Results of an analysis to characterize tritium concentrations in trees in the northeast section of Berkeley Lab - especially those near the National Tritium Labeling Facility (NTLF) - show that all potential tritium doses in the vegetation are well within the safety guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

These findings are consistent with earlier risk assessments conducted by Berkeley Lab, which indicated that potential radiation doses from the minute amounts of tritium emitted at the NTLF pose negligible public risk.

The study was required by the Department of Energy prior to the removal and off-site disposal of eucalyptus trees as part of a three-year wildfire control project for the East Bay hills. The Laboratory is establishing a mid-canyon firebreak to slow the potential spread of wildland fires.

The project analyzed 171 samples from tree cores and chips, leaves, and "duff" (leaves, twigs and other residual litter on the ground) at distances of approximately 20, 50, 100 and 125 meters from the NTLF emissions stack, as well as from more distant trees in six other targeted groves. Even using the most conservative assumptions, the study found, the highest possible dose would be a small fraction of the EPA's safe-dose threshold.

For example, in tree wood the highest free water tritium concentration was 21 picoCuries per gram and the highest organically bound tritium concentration was 9 picoCuries per gram. If tree wood with these maximum tritium concentrations were converted to mulch and used on residential vegetable gardens, the annual potential dose from eating the vegetables is estimated to be 0.04 mrem.

That dose is about 250 times lower than the 10 millirem-per-year threshold for air exposure established by the EPA - or 2,500 times lower than the 100 millirem threshold established by other federal standards.

The highest organically-bound tritium concentration found (1,280 pico-Curies per gram in one location of duff) would translate to a potential dose of 0.02 millirem if someone were to ingest and handle it weekly for a year. That total is 500 times below the EPA threshold.

By comparison, humans are exposed to radiation doses of 5 millirem on a round-trip cross-country airplane flight or a chest x-ray, 25 millirem for a dental x-ray, and 30 millirem for a mammogram.

Doses were also calculated for prospective disposal of the removed wood, all of which would be less than one-half of one percent of the EPA safe standard of 10 millirem, resulting again in negligible public impact.

More information on the analysis can be acquired from Ron Pauer, group leader for Environmental Protection, at X7614.


Elsewhere at the AAAS: Crichton Defends Hollywood

By Paul Preuss

Unflappable despite persistent problems with his electronic slides, Michael Crichton at one point asked his large and friendly audience, "Does this happen when Bill Gates gives a talk?" and got a resounding "yes" in reply.

In an early morning talk at the AAAS meeting, the former medical doctor and biological researcher turned novelist (The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park) and television producer ("ER") attempted to persuade his listeners that it is pointless to complain about Hollywood's portrayal of science and scientists. Movies can't and won't change, he said, and the only way scientists can improve their public image is by doing it themselves.

Crichton lambasted what he called "ritual abuse," the frequent complaints about media portrayal of scientists as crazy, incompetent and dangerous, and "hot air," the notion that movie producers would benefit from better scientific consultation. His talk was liberally salted with Hollywoodiana, such as Samuel Goldwyn's apocryphal remark, "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."

Crichton had no trouble drawing examples of ritual abuse from his own experience. He pointed to a publicity still from Jurassic Park in a recent New York Times article: Richard Attenborough, Laura Dern and Sam Neill watch a baby dinosaur emerge from an egg, with a caption suggesting that scientists were irresponsibly hatching a menace that would ravage the planet. Yet, Crichton said, the dinosaur debacle was not the fault of the paleontologists played by Dern and Neill, who are in fact the heroes of the piece, but of the character played by Attenborough, a greedy tycoon.

More persuasive was his argument that all professions are portrayed badly in the movies: without heartless doctors, venal businessmen, lying lawyers, and corrupt politicians there would be no stories. He cited a recent survey conducted by certified public accountants detailing Hollywood's miserable treatment of CPAs. When his audience laughed, Crichton shot back, "You laugh at accountants, but not at yourselves."

Crichton contended that the demands for external action, "the ticking clock," and other Hollywood movie imperatives make it impossible for anything like the scientific method - self-motivated, internal, intellectual, open-ended - to be portrayed accurately on film. He dismissed the notion of more accuracy through research by saying, "People ask me if I visited any real genetics labs when I was writing Jurassic Park. Why should I? They don't know how to make dinosaurs."

Crichton saved the least entertaining but most persuasive part of his talk for last, suggesting that those who complain about science in Hollywood movies and TV shows are missing the point - and missing an opportunity.

"Stop bashing the media and learn to use it," he said, urging scientists to join authors and film directors in making themselves available to the media. He decried the abuse scientists heap upon members of their own profession, such as Carl Sagan and Jacob Bronowski, when they become popular. "They should be supported, not trashed."

Crichton, who claimed that he had left medicine "as a service to my patients," urged scientists to set up web sites, help lines, referral services, and other ways of conveying direct benefits to the public. Despite Hollywood portrayals, scientists are among the most respected professionals in the country, he said. The way to capitalize on that strength is to let people know "what science can do for America. It will come in handy the next time you ask for a trillion-dollar accelerator."

Photo: Michael Crichton (crichton.jpeg)


Around the Lab


New Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics Founded at NERSC

By Jon Bashor

As the Human Genome Project continues to decipher the secrets of our genetic makeup, scientists around the world are gaining new insight into our understanding of the biology of health and of disease.

Computational tools are crucial in making the discoveries possible. To streamline the retrieval of key information from the ever-growing banks of data, the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics, or CBCG, has been created in the Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Division (NERSC).

Mapping and sequencing the human genome is an international effort between two dozen large centers, including the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute. The current rate of overall sequencing of base pairs is 150 million base pairs per year. However, to fully sequence the three billion base pairs in the human genome by 2003, the participating centers will need to sequence two million per day.

"When we looked at the genomics community, we saw that there will be an explosion of data in the next few years," said NERSC Division Director Horst Simon. "We also noticed that no one is really ready to handle that amount of data."

The information contained in the genome data is of immeasurable value to medical research, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and researchers in fields ranging from microorganism metabolism to structural biology. At expected data rates, the sequences generated each day for the next five years will represent hundreds of new genes and proteins.

"There have been dramatic changes in the tools used in both biology and computation, and we see our job as getting those tools to work in synch so that you can use the tools in one area to work for the other," said Manfred Zorn, co-leader of the new center. Zorn's Bioinformatics Group was already developing computational tools for this work in support of the Human Genome Grand Challenge. That work includes development of specialized software modules, database design and developing methods for indexing genomic information.

"One of the problems we see is that once we have all this information, each center will have warehoused the data in their own computer system, following their own scheme," Zorn said. "But for it to be truly useful, we have to have it in an accessible format."

To make the information widely available, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Berkeley Lab established "The Genome Channel," a web-based resource which provides a graphical interface using standard annotation for all genome sequences completed to date. The Genome Channel allows users to zoom in on a particular chromosome, then see how much of that chromosome has been sequenced. Users can then bore down into each individual sequence and the accompanying annotation.

However, knowing the sequence of the DNA does not indicate the function of the genes - specifically, the actions of their protein products: where, when, why, and how the proteins act, the essence of the biological knowledge required.

Implicit in the DNA sequence is a protein's three-dimensional topography, which in turn determines function. Uncovering this sequence-structure-function relationship is the core goal of modern structural biology today. If there is a gene there, analyzing the folded structure of the accompanying protein can give scientists a clue as to the gene's characteristics.

Inna Dubchak, a computer scientist at CBCG, has developed statistical-based models to predict fold classes of proteins. Such predictions are useful in that they can reduce the number of possible protein structures, thereby helping scientists zero in faster on those of most relevance.

In developing her method, Dubchak used the Standard Classification of Proteins, or SCOP. She then took the physical and chemical properties of the amino acids which make up proteins and represented each amino acid by a vector of its properties.

The data were then fed into a neural network, which Dubchak trained to recognize SCOP fold classes. Over time, the neural network is then able to recognize sequence-shape correlation. As a result, Dubchak's method can be used to classify protein sequences according to certain protein topologies, or folds, (i.e., assign a fold class to a protein sequence). Computational biologists can then take these potential folding structures and use computers to see how closely they fit with actual proteins, thereby moving closer to discoveries to improve health, preserve the environment and increase our understanding of genetic makeup.

Quantitative descriptions of the three-dimensional structures of proteins and other biological macromolecules holds significant promise for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the search for effective new drugs with few or no side effects and in the effort to understand the mystery of human disease.

Zorn's group also provides bioinformatics support to the Life Sciences Division and works with a group at the UC San Francisco Cancer Center. Initial funding for the center will be through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program.

"We want to become the premier provider of bioinformatics expertise and services for biologists at Berkeley Lab," said Zorn, who was recently named as the Lab's representative on the UC systemwide Life Sciences Informatics Task Force. "We also plan to develop partnerships, carrying out research in bioinformatics and working with the bioinformatics community in areas such as education, training and standards development."

The center staff also includes Sylvia Spengler, Frank Olken and Donn Davy.

Photo: The staff of the new Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics: Left to right, standing: David Demirjian, Inna Dubchak, Manfred Zorn, Donn Davy, Denise Wolf, Janice Mann, Sylvia Spengler Kneeling: Igor Dralyuk, Mischelle Merritt. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt. (XBD9901-00199)


Lab Life: In Memoriam

Sally Shlaer

Sally Shlaer, a pioneer in computer software development who led a software project at the Lab's Biomedical Treatment Facility in the late 1970s, died on Nov. 12 at the age of 59.

A leading figure in the field of object-oriented approach to software development, she co-wrote two books on this subject. In 1985 Shlaer co-founded Project Technology Inc., a Berkeley software consulting and training company.

Shlaer is survived by children Deborah, Kari and Jon, two grandchildren, and her partner Steve Mellor.

Donations in her memory may be made to the American Heart Association, 120 Montgomery St., Suite 1650, San Francisco, CA 94104.


Through the Wilderness to Help Inner City Kids

By Monica Friedlander

This spring Nathan Martin will set out on a scenic 2,600-mile, six-month hike that will take him through some of the country's most beautiful wilderness areas. Starting in the small town of Campo, near the California/Mexico border, Martin will wind his way up the Pacific Coast through the state's majestic Sierras and Washington's Cascade Mountains before finishing his journey at Manning Park, across the Canadian border.

But this is not your average vacation hike. Nor is Martin an experienced long-distance hiker. A researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD), he is going on this trip to raise money for the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club's Inner City Outings (ICO), an outreach program that offers wilderness adventures to people who normally would not be able to participate in them, such as low-income youths, hearing or visually impaired people, and the physically disabled.

"When I heard about ICO, it soun-ded like a great activity," says Martin, whose longest hike to date was only two weeks long. "I decided quickly that this was a worthwhile organization to raise money for. The hike gives me an opportunity to put my efforts to a good cause while taking some time off."

Martin is asking people to sponsor him at the rate of a penny per mile (or $26 based on his expected mileage), but he welcomes any contributions.

Inner City Outings, first established in 1971, now includes more than 40 chapters across the country and serves approximately 10,000 participants. The program is run by volunteers, and the outings are guided by trained and certified Sierra Club leaders. The trail is maintained by the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

Embarking on what he expects to be a five to six-month journey at an average of 15 to 18 miles per day will present Martin with his share of challenges. Preparations for the trip include weekly 20-mile walks, doing extensive research, and taking basic wilderness survival courses.

"Before I get started, I have to make sure that I have carefully considered all of the logistics required for such an undertaking, such as where to mail myself food, what lightweight equipment to use, and how to meet up with friends and family on the trail," he says. "Once I get on the trail the hike becomes much more of a physical and emotional endurance test."

Martin will begin his journey in April or May, depending on snow conditions in the Sierras, and expects to be on the trail through September. He will take a leave of absence from the Laboratory during this period. "We will be sorry to lose Nathan for six months," said Mark Levine, the director of EETD. "But we are looking forward to learning how a six-month interlude of trekking and solitude affects his view of life and work."

Martin has set up a web page ( for anyone interested in following his progress. During his trip the site will be maintained by his family. "I hope that his trip will inspire other Lab employees to become involved in volunteer activities, whether this or any other," he says.

To contribute to ICO on behalf of Nathan Martin's hike, mail a tax-deductible contribution to Sierra Club Foundation, Inner City Outings - San Francisco Bay Chapter, 85 Second Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Make sure to indicate that the contribution is on behalf of Nathan Martin's PCT hike.

For more information about the Inner City Outings program visit its website at

Photo: Nathan Martin of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division is preparing for a half-year hike that will raise funds for the Inner City Outings program. (Nathan.jpg)


Bulletin Board


Surplus Chemical Exchange Program

Surplus chemicals are available to Lab employees through the LBNL Chemical Exchange Database. This resource helps users locate chemical products they need for experiments and tests. The current chemical surplus lists are available electronically at

All surplus chemicals are free of charge and will be delivered within 24 to 48 hours. Many chemicals are in unopened containers. For more information contact Shelley Worsham at X6123.


Judges Needed for Science Bowl

Berkeley Lab volunteers are sought to serve as judges for the Science Bowl competition, to be held at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 20.

An on-site training session for volunteers will be held on Friday, Feb. 12, from 12 to 1 p.m. in Perseverance Hall. For more information contact Marva Wilkins at [email protected] or X5640.


Bldg. 62 Food Service

Lab employees who work in or near Bldg. 62 need not walk or ride down to the cafeteria each day for fresh lunches. Salads, Upper Crust sandwiches, soft drinks, and fruit are all delivered daily to the lobby of Bldg. 62 from 11:30 to 1:30. Postage stamps are also available for purchase. Suggestions for other items are encouraged.


Eye Glass Collection

Medical Services is collecting used eye glasses for recycling. A collection bin is set up by the front counter of Bldg. 26 for anyone who would like to donate glasses.


More Than 75 Summer Camps for Kids at Lawrence Hall of Science

Registration is now open for Law-rence Hall of Science's residential summer camps, which offer week-long sessions with a variety of themes, each for a different age group. The sessions run from June 21 through Aug. 14.

Participants will explore coastline ecology in the Santa Cruz Mountains, backpack in Tahoe National Forest, or study marine biology research at the UC Bodega Marine Lab.

Full and half-day camps are also being organized, with registration for those starting on March 27. These include science, math and technology workshops, trips to the UC Botanical Garden, and youth sports camps.

In addition to the camps, the Hall of Science offers a hands-on science center and a variety of special labs and activities for the entire family.

For more information or to register, call 642-5132 or look up LHS's website at


Backyard Monsters

A new exhibit on "Backyard Monsters: The World of Insects" will start on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Lawrence Hall of Science. The exhibit, which runs through June 6, will feature realistic robotic insects, live demonstrations, and a variety of related activities.


Lab Picks New Travel Partner

Beginning on March 1, travel services for the Laboratory will be provided by Maritz Travel Company. Maritz, a well established company in business since 1894, was chosen through a competitive selection process in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Its clients include Sun Microsystems, Apple, Colgate, Palmolive, and Whirlpool.

Maritz's National Reservation Center, located in St. Louis, has a toll-free number for reservations and will be open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., PST. Emergency service will be available at other times. Tickets will continue to be issued at the Lab and delivered by the Lab mailroom.

Employees are invited to attend one of three information sessions scheduled to introduce Maritz:

These sessions will also cover enhancements to Travel POWER, the Lab's web-based system that gives travelers real-time access to travel information and the ability to book their own reservations.

The Lab Travel Office is located in Bldg. 936. Additional information is available on its website at Questions and comments may be e-mailed to travelhotline@


New Rate for 1999 Insurance Company Contract Fund

The UC Treasurer's Office has negotiated two new contracts for the Insurance Company Contract (ICC) Fund for 1999. Contributions invested in the ICC Fund during 1999 will be pooled with existing money in the Fund to produce an anticipated rate of return of 6.96 percent, which reflects the average yield of all contracts.

The contracts are with Monumental Life Insurance and Principal Life Insurance. Both companies are rated A+ by A.M. Best Company based on financial condition and operating performance.

More information can be found on the UC Bencom website at


Introduction to EH&S Now Part of Employee Orientation

The monthly class on "Introduction to EH&S at LBNL" has been dropped from the regular EH&S class schedule and is instead included as part of the New Employee Orientation, which is held on the second Tuesday of each month. For EH&S training information and schedules, visit the EH&S website at


Currents Online

The full text and photographs of each edition of Currents are published online at http://www. 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.




Jan. 29 --Feb. 12, 1999

General Interest

4 Thursday

7:30-3:30, cafeteria parking lot

11:30-12:40, cafeteria parking lot

9 Tuesday

New Employee Orientation
9 a.m.-1 p.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium

Weight Watchers
Noon, Bldg. 26-109

11 Thursday

Travel Office Information Session
10-11 a.m., Perseverance Hall
1:30-2:30 p.m., Bldg. 90-1099

12 Friday

Travel Office Information Session
10-11 a.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium

Training for Science Bowl Volunteers
12-1 p.m., Perseverance Hall

Items for the calendars may be sent via e-mail to currents_calendar@, faxed to X6641 or mailed to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the Feb. 12 issue of Currents is 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.


Seminars & Lectures

FEBRUARY 1, Monday

Physics Department Colloquium, UCB
"Multidisciplinary Applications of Laser-Polarized Noble Gas Magnetic Resonance" will be presented by Ron Walsworth of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
4:30 p.m., 1 LeConte Hall

FEBRUARY 2, Tuesday

Environmental Energy Technologies Division Seminar
"LBNL's Lo Nox Combustion Technologies for Heat and Power Generation" will be presented by Robert K. Cheng of EETD.
11 a.m. to noon, Bldg. 90-3148

FEBRUARY 4, Thursday

Surface Science and Catalysis Science Seminar
"Experimental Probes of the Transition State for Dechlorination of CFCs on Pd Surfaces" will be presented by Andrew Gellman of Carnegie Mellon University.
1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium

Environmental Energy Technologies Division Seminar
"The Status of Heat Island Research at LBNL" will be presented by Hashem Akbari of EETD.
Noon, Bldg. 90-3075

FEBRUARY 5, Friday

Surface Science and Catalysis Science Seminar
"The Effect of a Single Adsorbed Atom on the Local Electronic Structure at Semiconductor Surfaces: STM-Photovoltage Imaging" will be presented by Gaddi Haase of the Weizmann Institute for Science, Israel.
1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66 auditorium

FEBRUARY 8, Monday

Physics Department Colloquium, UCB
"Spin Memory and Coherence in Semiconductors" will be presented by David D. Awschalom of UCB Santa Barbara.
4:30 p.m., 1 LeConte Hall, UCB

FEBRUARY 9, Tuesday

Center for Environmental Biotechnology Seminar
"Geological Constraints on the Distribution of Microorganisms in Subsurface Environments" will be presented by Rick Colwell.
Noon, Bldg. 50A-5132

FEBRUARY 11, Thursday

Environmental Energy Technologies Division
"How Feasible is Compressorless Cooling in California Houses? Common Misconceptions and Possible Solutions" will be presented by Joe Huang of EETD.
Noon, Bldg. 90-3075


EH&S Class Schedule: February 1999

To enroll contact Susan Aberg at X7366 or enroll via the web
( Pre-registration is required for all courses.


Golf Club Scores

Results from the tournament played on Jan. 23 at Rooster Run Golf Course in Petaluma:

Flight 1

1. Mark Campagna

2. Ralph Sallee

3. Russ Ritter

4. John Crvarich

5. Kensley Rivera

Flight 2

1. Don Weber

2. Roberto Martinucci

3. Victor Hou

4. Bob Ferrero

5. Gilbert Goo

Flight 3

1. Palaio, Nick 72

2. Eric Van Nieuwberg

3. Gary Palmer

4. Vickie Weber

5. Mark Cushey

Closest to the pin

Flight 1: Ralph Sallee

Flight 2: Bob Ferrero

Flight 3: all missed the green


Flea Market

Autos/ Supplies

`78 VW Scirocco, about 120K mi, runs good, 4 spd, orig owner, $500/b.o., Steve, X6941

`85 TOYOTA Camry, ac, ps, good cond, new parts, 163K mi, $3,000/b.o., Hashem, X4287, (925) 299-0560

`86 CORVETTE Coupe, dark metallic red on graphite leather, 4+3 std. shift, Z51 suspension, new tires, new battery, 67K mi, always garaged, 2nd owner, exc stock cond, $14,000, Geoffrey, X4626, (925) 685-8202

`91 MERCURY Sable, 138K mi (45K on a rebuilt engine), fair cond, ps, pb, pw, pwr seat, luggage rack, $2,300 blue book/ b.o., Meg, X6866

'93 MAZDA B2200 pickup, 5-spd, short-bed, 73K mi (highway), under extended warranty up to 100K mi, camper shell, bed liner, carpet kit, flip-up sun roof, am/fm/cd (Sony), ac, runs great, $5,800/b.o., Winnie, X7393

`95 FORD Mustang, V6-5 spd, 45K mi, alarm, new tires, major service 12/98, exc cond in/out, white, $9,500, Bela, X4466, 704-8915

`96 Ford X-Cab Ranger, heavy duty XLT, 4 Liter, 4 spd auto OD, white, privacy glass alum rims, full abs, 31K mi, meticulously maintained, factory warranty, $11,500, $1,800 below dealer price, Eric, X5486


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

NORTH BERKELEY, one bdrm, in-law, quiet, garden setting, private entrance, laundry & util incl, non-smoking, no pets, ideal for singles, $900/mo + security, Fred, X7270, Carol 526-3189

OAKLAND, Lake Merritt, share fully (nicely) furn condo w/ friendly young LBNL scientist, own bdrm & bath, large patio, lake view, must see to appreciate, $550/mo, Hanover Ave, 2 min to I 580, 15-20 min to Berkeley Lab, avail 3/19, Ben, X5812, 763-8414

OAKLAND, Rockridge, share 3 bdrm, 2 bthrm house, opening for a housemate from 4/1 to 12/1 (negotiable), furn rm, washer/dryer, quiet neighborhood, safe area, ideal for visiting scholar, 10 min walk to Rockridge shuttle, $605/mo, excl util, Nathan, X5137


CRIB & MATTRESS, $70; kitch-en table, sturdy, wooden, expandable, $50, Peter or Karen, 482-0148

DESK, lg (30"x30"x60") light oak, school-teacher type, solid wood, $200, I can deliver if you help move it, Nancy, X5102

FILE CABINET, 2 drawer, unfinished, solid pine, well-constructed, $100, Julie, X2420.

MACINTOSH POWER PC, Performa 6400/180 w/ Apple 15" monitor, HD 1.6GB, 16MB RAM, CD-ROM 8x, internal modem 28.8kbb, 1.44" floppy, orig KB & mouse, loaded w/ software & orig CD (Adobe Photo Deluxe, lots of BIO application software), Chang, X6103, 558-8817

MONITOR, Sony 15", for PC or Mac, w/ Mac adapter, exc cond & resolution, get a huge improvement over a 14" screen for only $100; Ohm bookshelf speakers, great sound, low price, $65/pr; Olin Racing Comp CRX Skis, 190cm w/ Salomon 647 Bindings, $50; Yamaha Multi (4) track cassette recorder (used once), MT4X, $125; Yamaha Tone Generator MU5 General Mid, $45, Henry, 658-7807

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

SCRAPBOOKING SUPPLIES, 25% off, must get rid of all Creative Memories inventory (albums, adhesives, stickers, paper, etc), Shelley, X6123, (925) 820-3172

STEREO EQUIPMENT, AR turntable, $300; Superphon Revelation Preamp $250; Shure V15VxMR 10hr, $150; Magneplanar 1.4, $500, Dave X4506

SNOW SKIS, Volkel P10 Pro SL 205cm w/ ESS bindings, $200/b.o., Head Cr X-10 205cm w/ Tyrolia bindings, $100/b.o., Rossignol 185cm w/ Tyrolia bindings, used 1 time, $150/b.o., Dynamic Slalom DP 200cm w/ Tyrolia bindings, $100/b.o., Steve, X6598, (925) 689-7213

SKI Solomon, all mtn, PR8 (200cm), 3 days use, ESS bindings, $200/b.o.; Volkl-P9, SL, ESS bindings, $125/b.o.; Atomic pro G.S., `96 w/'86 757 Equipe bindings, $175/b.o.; Technica boots, TNT, dark purple, mens, size 9.5, $120/b.o., Lange boots wms, size 7.5, $35/b.o.; camera, Minolta 7000, 200 mm lens, case more, $300/b.o.; wheels, custom KMC alloy, 15"x10" off Toyota, 4x4, camper shell off Nissan, $150/b.o., Bob, (925) 432-2383

TABLE, coffee, new, hand-crafted golden oak & ceramic tile, contemporary style, originally crafted for a woodworkers show, $375, Roger, 223-2517

WASHER/DRYER, stacking, Maytag, very good cond, $500/b.o., Steve X6619, 845-6511 (eve)


BABY-SITTER, teen, for 6 yr old, Tues & Thurs, 6-10 pm, every other week, $4/hr, must have own transportation or live nr Adams Point in Oakland, Patty, 268-0674

HOST FAMILY for German student, 16 yrs-old, wants to spend 3-6 months of his junior yr at a Bay Area high school, start 9/99, fluent in English, friendly, willing to contribute to household chores, baby-sitting, etc, cover expenses, Karsten, X6732

HOUSING, studio or 1 bdrm furn apt/in-law for visiting Finnish researcher, 4/1 to 11/30, walk/bike/bus distance, Kathy, X4931

HOUSING for senior professor/wife from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, wish to rent one bdrm furn flat from 9/1/99 through 2/00, up to $1,000+/ mo; exchange for flat in Jeru-salem is possible, Michael, X4669

HOUSING EXCHANGE, LBNL family of 5 seeks summer home exchange w/ family in UK, Berkeley Victorian 5 bdrm home avail 6/15 to 7/14, need home in London or Oxford from 6/23 to 7/8. Our home is 3 blks from UCB & LBNL shuttle, car exchange avail, Mike, X4669

WORK FOR LABORERS, qualified, looking for heavy duty side-jobs, installation of concrete, asphalt, dirt removal, etc, 20 yrs exp, avail after Lab hrs, eve & weekends, Mike, X6021

PASCAL COMPILER, need the old Borland Turbo Pascal Compiler for DOS, version 7 and/or accompanying manuals, other versions/brands will not work, will pay reasonable price, Mike, X4030, 527-6206


KENSINGTON home, June/July, exchange or rent, time/length of stay flexible, 3 bdrm, 1.5 bath, bay view, lg yd, quiet level street, $1,500/month, Alice or Dick, 524-1641

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 & mtn, $150/ night, 2 night min, Bob, (925) 376-2211

KAUAI condo in Poipu, nr Spouting Horn, 1 bdrm, 1 bth, sleeps 4, full kitchen, all amenities, ocean view, 3 pools & saunas, recreation rm w/exercise equip, first week of Oct. 1999, $700 for the week, (925) 855-1328, after 6 pm

Lost & Found

FOUND, car or truck key behind cafeteria, Scott, X2285

Flea Market Ad Policy

Ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and on-site DOE personnel. Only items of your own personal property may be offered for sale. Submissions must include name, affiliation, extension, and home telephone number.

Ads must be submitted in writing - via e-mail ([email protected]), fax (X6641), or delivered/ mailed to Bldg. 65B. No ads will be taken by phone.

Ads will run one issue only unless resubmitted in writing. They will be repeated only as space permits.

The deadline for the Feb. 12 issue is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5.


Flea Market ad policy

Due to the large volume of ads received each week, ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and on-site DOE personnel. No other ads will be accepted. We encourage past contributors to the Flea Market to use other local services, such as LBNL's online housing listing (call X6198 for information), and the UC Housing Office.

Please note also: