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Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009


Report Shows Cost of Installed Solar PV Systems Fell in 2008

Berkeley Lab researchers yesterday released "Tracking the Sun II: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2008." The new report found that the average cost of going solar in the U.S. declined by more than 30 percent from 1998 to 2008, a trend that can be largely attributed to the success of market-building policies at the state and local level. Findings also show that, after a three-year plateau, costs decreased by 3.6 percent from 2007 to 2008, marking a pivotal year for the American solar industry. More>

People: Majumdar Confirmed as First Head of DOE's ARPA-E

Image of Arun MajumdarThe U.S. Senate has approved the nomination of Arun Majumdar, director of the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division and a professor at UC Berkeley, as the first director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E’s goals are to create technologies that have the potential to reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign energy supplies, reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency. The nomination was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate last night. 

spintronicsResearch: From Nanosolar to Spintronics

Atoms and molecules may be tiny, but they hold big promise to Michael Crommie. A Berkeley professor of physics with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, Crommie envisions a day when molecular machines, quantum computers, and molecule-sized solar cells are commonplace. To turn these dreams into reality, Crommie is uncovering the principles that govern the behavior of nanoscale structures. "I'm interested in how we can create very small structures and control them, and to understand the mechanisms that make them behave the way they do," Crommie says. More>

Corrections: Chu Talk is Monday Morning; Start Date for Open Enrollment is Oct. 29

Yesterday’s special edition of TABL listed the incorrect time suffix for Steve Chu’s address to staff on Monday. It will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m., not p.m. The Building 50 Auditorium doors will be open from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. Also, the morning edition of TABL listed the incorrect date for the start of the benefits Open Enrollment period. It begins next Thursday, Oct. 29, and ends at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Employee Development: New Workshop on Performance, Career Mentoring Discussions

chattingWould you like to improve your performance and career development conversations with employees you supervise? Get tips and tools to help you set goals, give feedback, and handle common challenges at the Berkeley Lab Learning Institute’s new "Performance and Career Mentoring Conversations" workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 4. This 2.5-hour session is relevant for both scientific and operations supervisors. Participants will collaborate with peers on case studies, plus discuss and brainstorm your own conversation challenges. Registration required (BLI0130). More>

Lab History: John F. Kennedy Visit in 1962

kennedyIn the early sixties, Berkeley Lab was enjoying unprecedented recognition, with numerous Nobel Prizes already under its belt. As a result, a steady stream of VIPs came to visit, including the queen of Greece, Prince Philip, and Lord Snowden. But perhaps the biggest star to grace the Hill was President John F. Kennedy on March 23, 1962. After landing at the Alameda Naval Air Station, his motorcade made its way to Building 70. He chatted with Lab Director Ed McMillan, accompanied by California Governor Pat Brown, Edward Teller, Robert McNamara, and Glenn Seaborg, then the head of the Atomic Energy Commission. He then went to Memorial Stadium to give a speech before 88,000 listeners, on the occasion of the campus’s 94th anniversary. Photos of this and other historic events are available on the Lab’s Flickr website. Go here to read a New York Times book excerpt on Kennedy’s 1962 visit to California.

bay bridgeUC Update: Seismic Safety, Open Enrollment in Latest Newsletter

The latest edition of Our University, the University of California’s newsletter for faculty and staff, is now available. It includes stories on open enrollment, the collaboration of UC medical centers to revolutionize breast cancer care, and solutions for seismic safety, among others. More>

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