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Friday, Feb. 13, 2009

Science in the Movies

CERN’s ATLAS: An Angel or a Demon?

angels and demons

What does ATLAS — the giant experiment at CERN built and staffed partly by Berkeley Lab researchers — have to do with the Vatican? ATLAS stands in for an antimatter experiment where “world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon,” played by Tom Hanks in the movie “Angels and Demons,” discovers evidence of an “unstoppable time bomb” hidden in the Vatican. To stop the unstoppable, Langdon joins forces with Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, played by Ayelet Zurer. This week Hanks, Zurer, and director Ron Howard are visiting CERN and ATLAS for the movie’s European premiere. More>

yelickPeople: NERSC Director Joins Science Council That Advises State Lawmakers

Kathy Yelick, director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), has been named to the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). The group — which is nonpartisan, impartial, and non-profit — was created by the state assembly in 1988 to “offer expert advice to the government and recommend solutions to science and technology-related policy issues.” Berkeley Lab is a National Laboratory Affiliate of CCST.

In The News: Team in Germany Maps Neanderthal Genome

skull[Associated Press] Researchers in Germany have completed the first draft of the Neanderthal genome, three billion genetic building blocks that will shed new light on the ancient hominid as well as the origins of its closest relation — humans. Gene expert Edward Rubin, director of Berkeley Lab’s Genomics Division and the Joint Genome Institute, is leading a separate project to sequence targeted segments of the Neanderthal genome. His work has shown that the Neanderthal genome is as much as 99.5 percent the same as humans. “We’ll look carefully at the data they’ve generated, and it will tell us in what areas we really want to look,” he said. More>

bookDOE Update: Lab Has Free Copies of ‘Decade of Discovery’ Book for Staff

As announced in Today at Berkeley Lab last month, the Department of Energy has published a book called “A Decade of Discovery,” which chronicles some of the most significant scientific discoveries and technological innovations coming out of DOE laboratories over the last 10 years. Berkeley Lab has received about 50 books for distribution to staff. Those interested in receiving a copy can send e-mail (include MS address) here.

DOE Update: Nominations for Lawrence Awards Now Open

lawrenceThe Department of Energy invites nominations for the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Awards, which honor U.S. scientists and engineers at mid-career for exceptional contributions in research and development supporting the DOE and its mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States. Awards are given in chemistry, materials research, environmental science and technology, life sciences, nuclear technologies, national security and nonproliferation, and high energy and nuclear physics. Nomination deadline is April 1. More>

Training: Course for Supervisors and Work Leads

The Berkeley Lab Learning Institute is hosting a two-day session of the course “Fundamentals of Leading and Motivating People” on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 18 and 19. The course is designed to help supervisors and work leads achieve project goals, manage time, and improve communication within the team. Go here for more information, and here to register.