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Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009


Integrating Wind Energy by Linking Buildings to the Grid

wind energy

In utility parlance, wind energy is known as a “variable load.” That’s because wind is naturally unpredictable and inconstant. What’s worse, it is more likely to blow at night, when demand for electricity is at its lowest. Because the electric grid requires that supply and demand must always be in balance, making efficient use of wind energy turns out to be no trivial matter. Pamela Sporborg, a Presidential Management Fellow who is spending six months at the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, is heading a new project to find more effective ways to economically integrate variable loads from renewable sources to the electrical grid. More>

Thanks Giving

Web Feature: Neutrino Hunting (and Blogging) in Antarctica

kleinBerkeley Lab physicist Spencer Klein is traveling to Antarctica to hunt for neutrinos, and he wants you to tag along — at least digitally. Follow his blog as he chronicles his trip to the Ross Ice Shelf, where he'll study the site characteristics and test prototype hardware for ARIANNA, a proposed experiment to look for radio pulses produced by neutrino interactions in the ice. Klein leaves for Antarctica this Saturday with Lab engineer Thorsten Stezelberger.

grassIn The News: JBEI Featured in Green Science Program for Teens

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) was featured on a national TV show aimed at teenagers that explains what it means “to go green.” The show is produced by Eco Company, which learned about JBEI through the Science in the Theater event on biofuels. Blake Simmons, who heads JBEI’s Deconstruction Division, took the Eco team on a tour of the JBEI facility and explained the basics behind biofuels research, covering topics such as photosynthesis and sugar polymers. An amazing amount of science is packed into the five-minute segment, which can be viewed here.

black holeComputing: Keeping Astrophysics Data Out of Archival 'Black Holes'

As both an astrophysicist and director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Mike Norman understands two common perspectives on archiving massive scientific datasets. During a live demonstration of streaming data simulating cosmic structures of the early universe at the recent SC09 high-performance computing conference in Portland, Norman said that some center directors view their data archives as "black holes," where a wealth of data accumulates and needs to be protected. During the demo, data was streamed over a reserved 10-gigabits-per-second provided by ESnet (Energy Sciences Network), located at Berkeley Lab. More>

leafIn The News: Foosball Meets Artificial Photosynthesis

[KQED QUEST Radio] When QUEST radio producer Lauren Sommer set out to investigate how Heinz Frei of the Physical Biosciences Division (PBD) and other Berkeley Lab scientists were working to create an artificial leaf, she never suspected that quantum mechanics would enter the picture. Then she interviewed PBD’s Graham Fleming and learned about the central role of quantum phenomena in photosynthesis. With the help of Jahan Dawlaty in Fleming’s lab, she got a lesson in how quantum mechanics is a lot like Foosball. For the QUEST radio episode on the artificial leaf go here; to learn how quantum mechanics resembles Foosball, go here.

EH&S: Seasonal Flu Shot Clinic Scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2

Lab employees can take advantage of another onsite seasonal flu shot clinic, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon. Cost is $10. Pneumonia shots will also be available for $45. Appointments are required (x6266).

Shuttle Bus: Schedule Adjusted Today

Due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Lab’s shuttle bus services will alter final departure times today: Building 65 — 6 p.m. for the Blue Route, 5:40 p.m. for Rockridge Route; Building 62/66 — 5:50 p.m. for the Orange Route; Potter St. — 5:25 p.m.; JBEI — 5:35 p.m.

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