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Thursday, April 30, 2009
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Lessons Learned: Failed Workbench

Recently a researcher went to move a mobile workbench when it collapsed. It had approximately 80 pounds of equipment on it and the brakes were released. Although no one was hurt, the potential for much greater damage and injury was high. Previous models of this workbench, manufactured by Lista, have been safely used for heavy loads for many years, with no similar incidents reported prior to this occurrence. The workbench that failed was a newer version of this model, which has been redesigned. Upon closer inspection, the new design has several problems: a much weaker attachment of the cross-piece to the ends; a two-part adjustable cross-piece instead of a single piece construction; and fewer and smaller screws to attach the table top (photos). EH&S is asking all employees to inspect their benches to make sure they do not have similar problems and discontinue orders of workbenches with this vendor.

video glossaryWeb Feature: New Homepage Includes Video Glossary of Science Topics

Have you ever wanted to ask a scientist to define a term in lay language? With the help of scientists all over Berkeley Lab, the Public Affairs Department created a video glossary, which is prominently featured on the newly redesigned homepage. Numerous topics are included, from cellular senescence and laser wakefield acceleration to extremophiles and gravitational lensing. Each week, new entries will be added, and staff are invited to submit suggestions for topics. And as science changes and entirely new terms arise, we want Berkeley Lab’s video glossary to be the first stop for answers. More>

biofuelsSpecial Event: Lab Scientists to Speak on Biofuels in San Francisco

A symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals will be held Sunday to Wednesday, May 3-6, in San Francisco. The event is hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) are among the co-sponsors. Jay Keasling, Terry Hazen, Kenneth Downing, Bahram Parvin, Seema Singh, and Agnes Lobscheid are a few of the scientists from Berkeley Lab scheduled to make presentations. More>

wadiaSpecial Event: Wadia Talk on 'Solar Energy for Seven Billion People'

Cyrus Wadia, with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, will present a lecture on "Solar Energy for Seven Billion People: Linking Economics to Chemistry Will Get Us There" on Wednesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. His talk is sponsored by the East Bay Science Café, which is held on the first Wednesday of every month at Café Valparaiso in the La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley (3105 Shattuck Ave.). More>

Facilities: Refresher Training for Penetration Permit Procedure

The Facilities Division's Penetration Permit procedure, ADMN-053, has been updated. A refresher-training course (FAC0070) is available on Wednesday, May 13 and July 15. It is recommended that all Responsible Individuals (RI) should take this refresher course. Go here to register for the class. The permit application form and checklist are available here.

IT: E-Mail, Webspace Down Sunday Morning

E-mail, Webspace, Novell and Windows home directories service will be unavailable again this Sunday from 8 to 11 a.m. for hardware replacement. The work is expected to take less than two hours to complete, but extra time could be required. All e-mail will be queued during the maintenance then delivered once service is restored.

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