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Friday, May 8, 2009

Washington D.C. Update

President’s Energy Budget Delivers for Science

President Barack Obama announced an FY20010 budget request of $26.4 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) that includes more than $4.9 billion for the Office of Science, an increase of $184 million or nearly four percent above the FY2009 appropriation. The request for Berkeley Lab totals $531 million, approximately $24.5 million above the FY2009 appropriation, which translates to about a 4.8 percent increase. Energy Secretary Steve Chu said the budget request reflects the President’s commitment to “ending our dependence on foreign oil, restoring our scientific leadership and putting Americans back to work through investments in a new green energy economy.” The President’s budget complements the $38.7 billion that DOE will invest as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. More>

Research: How to Make (and Someday Capture) an Anti-Atom

anti-matterFor the ALPHA collaboration at CERN, Joel Fajans and his Accelerator and Fusion Research colleagues Jonathan Wurtele, Alex Friedman, David Grote, Ron Cohen, and Jean-Luc Vay helped design and test a trap to mix positrons and antiprotons together to form antihydrogen — the fabled stuff science fiction writers like Dan Brown use to blow things up, or send spaceships to the stars. Fact is, no one has yet held onto antihydrogen atoms for more than a few thousandths of a second. Fajans will explain why the Vatican is safe from antimatter at a lecture Monday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Chan Shun Auditorium in the Valley Life Sciences Building on campus. More>

People: A New Light Source in Shanghai to Launch Soon

SSRFThe Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF), a brand new third-generation light source, is poised to begin operations after a favorable recommendation from an international review committee. The SSRF will begin operations with seven beamlines but has the capacity to grow to 60. The review committee included John Byrd of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division (AFRD), Ross Schlueter of Engineering, and Thomas Earnest of Physical Biosciences. In 2000, Berkeley Lab hosted a review of the accelerator design; once the project was approved, a Lab team helped design the storage ring under principal investigator Derun Li of AFRD. More>

In The News: Was Mars’ Magnetic Field Blasted Away?

mars[Universe Today] Spacecraft orbiting Mars have found only weak magnetic fields present in various regions of the Red Planet. These fields are probably remnants of an earlier global field that has since disappeared. But how and why did the global field vanish? In a new study, Berkeley Lab earth scientist Michael Manga and colleagues suggest that energy released by massive collisions upset the heat flow in Mars’ iron core that produced the magnetic field. More>

In The News: Expect Insurance Rates to Get Hot, Hot, Hot

fire[Miller McCune] What does it mean for state homeowners if the West is entering—or has entered—a new era of wildfire danger, fueled by global warming? Evan Mills, with Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Divison, answered unambiguously. "With the patterns of extreme weather events becoming more intense and more variable (due to climate change), the actuarial challenge will grow, and this will, in turn, put pressure on prices. It's a simple fact: As losses rise, so too will premiums." More>

Construction: H1 Lot in Front of Building 50 Close Next Week

Due to drilling in connection with the Building 50 seismic retro-fit project, the H-1 parking lot in the front the building will be closed to all parking starting Monday at 5 a.m. until Friday at 2 p.m. The lot will be closed to address safety concerns and prevent vehicle damage. All reserve parking in the areas of Buildings 50, 70 and 70A will be limited to free up additional parking spaces. Contact Site Access (x4855) for more information.

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