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Monday, Sept. 14, 2009

In The News

Metamaterials Could Mimic Black Holes

[U.S. News & World Report] Tiny special materials may mimic astronomical events, including the trapping of light in black holes and the disruption of planetary orbits, a new report in the September Nature Physics proposes. The shape and design of such materials may allow scientists to do previously impossible experiments by replicating aspects of the heavens at the laboratory bench. "Astrophysicists build a telescope and watch the sky, and if they’re lucky, in their lives, they’ll see one or two events," says study coauthor Xiang Zhang, with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division. "Now you don’t have to wait 100 years to observe interesting phenomena. Now we can study it in a tabletop experiment." More>

badgeEH&S: Badge Access to Lab Revoked Without GERT Training

Effective Oct. 1, a new policy will be implemented that links General Employee Radiological Training (GERT) and card-access entrance to the Lab. After that date, employees without valid GERT will have all their badge access authorizations revoked. This includes room, building, and general site access. This means entrance to any area that requires card access during business hours will be prohibited, and no entrance to the Lab will be allowed after hours or on weekends.

Over 95 percent of all badge holders have current GERT and won’t be impacted by this new policy. However, there are 392 badge holders who could be denied access when the new system becomes active.

GERT (EHS0470) is available online here. If logging in with an LDAP or badge number, credit should be received within an hour. Those taking GERT with a non-LDAP login and who do not provide an employee badge number will not receive course credit until the EHS Training Group is contacted (x2228, x7603, x7524, or x5271).

For more information on this new policy, contact Don Lucas (x7002)

Research: Putting a Strain on Nanowires

nanowiresJunqiao Wu of the Materials Sciences Division led a study in which it was shown that structural irregularities in correlated electron materials — a phenomenon known as "phase inhomogeneity" — can be engineered at the sub-micron scale through the application of external strain. Correlated electron materials are commanding much attention because they can display such coveted properties as colossal magnetoresistance and high-temperature superconductivity. Wu and his colleagues applied strain to create co-existing metallic/insulating phases in nanowires of vanadium oxide. More>

microphoneSpecial Event: Interim Director Addresses Staff at Town Hall at Noon on Sept. 17

Staff who would like an update on the Lab’s strategic direction, management, safety efforts, and infrastructure initiatives are invited to attend a noon-time, brown-bag, all-hands meeting with Interim Lab Director Paul Alivisatos. The gathering will be held Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Building 66 Auditorium. For those unable to attend, the meeting will be webcast live, and later archived. Questions can be e-mailed to [email protected] during the broadcast, or sent now.

Finance: Sponsored Projects Name Change Reflects Industry Partnerships

The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO), part of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, has changed its name to the Office of Sponsored Projects and Industry Partnerships (OSPIP). The mission of OSPIP is to work with domestic industry, universities, and foreign and federal partners to support the Lab’s principal investigators in their pursuit of sponsored research and partnerships. OSPIP is the organization that submits proposals and negotiates research agreements for the "Work for Others," User, and CRADA programs at Berkeley Lab. The new name more accurately reflects the functions performed by the office in support of the Lab’s mission of obtaining non-DOE funding and pursuing collaborative research activities.

Facilities: Hold Put on Warehouse Storage Requests

The Facilities Division is placing a temporary hold on requests to place equipment and material in storage at the Lab’s Richmond warehouse. Those with an immediate, mission-critical need for storage can contact Bill Llewellyn (x7726). He will review requests on a case-by-case basis.

Employee Activity: COSTCO Rep to Offer Discount Memberships

A representative from COSTCO will be in the cafeteria lobby from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow. Lab employees who complete an application in person will be offered a discount membership to the warehouse store.

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