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Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Chu Energy Secretary Nomination

Confirmation Hearing Was Smooth, Swift

The hearing for the nomination of Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu as the next Secretary of Energy appeared to go smoothly. Chu’s two-hour-long hearing before senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday was marked by repeated praise for his exemplary scientific background and his accomplishments at Berkeley Lab. Senator Feinstein was especially effusive in her praise of both Chu and the Laboratory. In his opening statement, Chu reiterated the President-elect’s commitment to renewable energy resources and called for aggressive efforts to increase energy efficiency. Energy efficiency was a refrain he would return to time and time again in response to inquiries about increased domestic oil production. Chu’s opening statement can be viewed here. Chu’s entire confirmation hearing can be viewed here.

pattersonPeople: Patterson Contributes to Computing Consortium’s Essay Compilation

What does the new government need to know about the value of computing research? What are some of the most promising and exciting research opportunities in the field? What computing capabilities are critical for the nation today and into the future? The Computing Community Consortium has collected a series of short essays on these topics, including one by Berkeley Lab Computational Research Division’s David Patterson on “The Future of Computer Architecture.” More>

louiePeople: Birthday Symposium for Materials Scientist Steven Louie March 21-22

“Frontiers in Condensed Matter Physics and Nanoscale Materials” is a two-day symposium in honor of Steven Louie’s 60th birthday, co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Physics Department, the Berkeley Lab Molecular Foundry, NERSC, and the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS). The symposium will take place March 21–22 at UC Berkeley and will consist of invited talks from colleagues, former students, and postdocs, two poster sessions during lunch, and a banquet dinner. The deadline for registration and abstract submission is Feb. 13. More>

Award: Hyper-CEST Recognized by German Cancer Center

hyper-cestHyper-CEST — a technique developed at Berkeley Lab for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that allows detection of signals from molecules present at 10,000-times-lower concentrations than conventional MRI techniques — has received the Emil Salzer Prize for Cancer Research from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Federal State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The technique was developed by Alex Pines, David Wemmer (right), and Leif Schröder (center) of Berkeley Lab, and Thomas Lowery (left) and Christian Hilty of UC Berkeley.

mathematicianIn The News: Mathematicians Land Top Spot on Best Job List

[Wall St. Journal] According to the Wall Street Journal, "mathematician" has landed at the top spot in a new study ranking the best and worst jobs in the U.S. The study evaluates 200 professions to determine the best and worst according to five criteria inherent to every job: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, and stress. According to the study, mathematicians fared best in part because they typically work in favorable conditions — indoors and in places free of toxic fumes or noise — unlike those toward the bottom of the list like sewage-plant operator, painter, and bricklayer. Other rankings of interest include biologist (4), software engineer (5), physicist (13), and chemist (60). More>

Employee Development: Workshop on Lab's Tuition Reimbursement

The Berkeley Lab Institute will offer a workshop on the Lab's tuition reimbursement program on Wednesday, Jan. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Participants will learn about the program's policy and guidelines, the types of programs offered, and getting reimbursed. This workshop is free. Registration is required (BLI0101). Call Karen Paris (x5122) for more information.

Safety: Red Wing Shoes Here Tomorrow

The Red Wing Work Shoe vendor will be onsite tomorrow from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Employees may be required to wear safety shoes to protect from potential hazards. Those working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, may be authorized to purchase safety shoes. More>

Policy: Prompt, Thorough, Timely Resolution of Concerns

Berkeley Lab employees who register a concern via one of the many avenues available to them can expect a prompt and complete assessment as well as a timely response to the issue. The Department of Energy considers a work climate that includes free and open expression of employee concerns, without fear of reprisal, as essential to the safe and efficient accomplishment of DOE missions. Berkeley Lab and other contractors are expected to respond respectfully to all concerns in a prompt and effective manner. The Lab’s Employee Concerns Program is part of the Research and Institutional Integrity Office. Address questions to Meredith Montgomery (x4453). Go here to view and/or download a poster listing worker rights information.