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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
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Profiles in Safety: Goggles, Safety Glasses Are Different

Grad student Tyler Meldrum was in his lab at Stanley Hall one day, flushing acid out of a tube. Due to poor planning, some of the diluted triflouro acetic acid splashed near his eyelid. He had safety glasses on, but should have been wearing goggles, which seal to the face. He ran to the eye wash station and flushed for several minutes; luckily, he suffered no injuries.

Months later, when Materials Sciences held its annual near-miss competition, Meldrum retold his story, complete with PowerPoint presentation. He bested his competitors, as measured by an applause-o-meter, winning a $250 prize and the dubious honor of having a policy changed due to his mistake: anyone working with wet chemicals must wear goggles, not just safety glasses. “Since then I’ve been very cognizant of the type of eyewear I wear,” he says. While rewarding unsafe behavior may seem odd, the contest accomplished its goal — changing safety behavior.

Research: Dark Energy's Best Standard Candles Get Better

candlesMembers of the international Nearby Supernova Factory (SNfactory), a collaboration among Berkeley Lab, a consortium of French laboratories, and Yale University, have found a new technique that establishes the intrinsic brightness of Type Ia supernovae more accurately than ever before. These exploding stars are the best standard candles for measuring cosmic distances, the tools that made the discovery of dark energy possible. More>

shankWorld of Science: Former Lab Director Shank on South Dakota Science Board

[Rapid City Journal] Nationally recognized scientist and research leader Charles Shank has joined the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. The state agency is overseeing development of the underground science and engineering laboratory at the former Homestake Mine in Lead. Shank, the retired director of the University of California-managed Berkeley Lab, is also known for pioneering contributions while at the AT&T Bell Labs. Berkeley Lab is a member of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab (DUSEL) planned for the Homestake Mine, led by physicist Kevin Lesko. More>

cell phoneTech Transfer: Entrepreneurial Researchers Invited to Share Feedback

How can Berkeley Lab support the entrepreneurial goals of its researchers? What really helps scientists take their inventions to the marketplace? How can the Lab foster the launch of more startup companies? That's what the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department wants to know. Researchers interested in either entrepreneurial activities or starting a company are invited to participate in a short informational interview on the topic of technology incubators and other resources for startups. To provide feedback, call Suzanne Storar (x4306).

Construction: Drilling Operations for This Week and Next

drillingAs part of a geological investigation, drilling for soil borings is taking place in four locations at the Lab and will affect parking in those areas. Three soil borings in the Building 25/25A area and one south of Building 48 are being drilled this week. These operations will affect parking in the Old Town area. One location will require a change to the traffic flow around Buildings 4 and 5. Flagmen will direct the traffic in this area. Contact Sheree Swanson (510-220-5430) or Tim Kemper (925-250-9351) for more information.

Correction: Floyd is Still Safety Manager at ALS

An article in the May 14 issue of Today at Berkeley Lab on the appointment of James Floyd as chair of the Lab’s Safety Advisory Committee incorrectly stated he was the "former" manager of the Advanced Light Source’s Environment, Health and Safety program. He still holds that position.

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