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Monday, Sept. 21, 2009


White House Nominates Arun Majumdar to Head ARPA-E

Image of Arun Majumdar

Late last Friday the White House announced that Arun Majumdar was the administration’s nominee as the first director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Majumdar heads Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division and is a professor of engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. The groundbreaking new agency ARPA-E will focus on high-risk, high-payoff technologies that promise to transform the energy landscape, with the goal of reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign energy supplies, reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and improving energy efficiency. Majumdar, who came to the United States as an immigrant, said, “It is a rare privilege and an honor when the President asks you to serve the nation in such a capacity.” His nomination must undergo Senate confirmation.  More>

In the News: Peter Jacobs on the Real Science Behind “FlashForward”

Peter Jacobs image[Symmetry Breaking] On the surface, ABC Studios’ FlashForward seems to have little to do with physics. It follows a pair of FBI agents investigating a mysterious event that causes everyone on the planet to find themselves momentarily in the future. But the show is based on Robert J. Sawyer’s science fiction novel, with physics at its core. Berkeley Lab’s Peter Jacobs, who like one of the characters in the book and TV series is a Canadian scientist and a member of the ALICE collaboration at CERN, discusses the real science behind the story in a video interview. More>

Guest House imageGuest House: Opening Celebration Today

An opening ceremony for the new Guest House is scheduled today at 4 p.m., preceded by tours every half hour from 1 to 4 p.m. Drivers should be extra careful in the area since visitors may be crossing the road between the Guest House and the Z and Cafeteria parking lots, which are closed for the occasion. The new Guest House will open for business on Oct. 1, and Lab employees who want to book rooms for their guests and visitors can do so now by sending e-mail here. UC Berkeley staff can also reserve rooms. Reservations will eventually be made online, once the Guest House website is up and running.  The facility offers 57 rooms and plenty of amenities.

Computing: A Collaboration with the University of Tokyo Information Technology Center

Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences has signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a research collaboration with the University of Tokyo Information Technology Center. The research will involve high performance computing (HPC), computational science, and optimization of applications performance on HPC systems, including, among other topics, numerical libraries for scientific computation; couplers for multi-physics simulations; scientific computing benchmarks; parallel programming models for peta- and exascale systems; auto-tuning technologies; and parallel algorithms for eigenvalue calculations. The agreement provides mutual access to facilities for research and employee exchange opportunities. More>

World of Science: With Science Journalism in Retreat, a New Strategy for Informing the Public

Mercury News logo[San Jose Mercury News] Concerned that journalism's economic problems are reducing Americans' understanding of science, medicine and other research, 35 of the nation's top universities — including Stanford and UC Berkeley — recently announced that they will feed their own accounts of their discoveries directly to top news sites on the Internet. Under the plan, the universities have formed what is essentially their own nonprofit wire service, called Futurity, to provide articles to popular websites such as Yahoo News, Google News, MySpace and Twitter. More>

Guest House imageHeat Wave: Take Precautions During Predicted Hot Weather

Stay cool in this week’s heat by eating light, wearing light, loose clothing, and drinking plenty of fluid. If you feel the onset of a heat-related condition contact Health Services (x6266) or, in an emergency, the Fire Department (x7911). For additional information on heat stress, go here or contact Rob Connelly (x4028). More>

UC Facilities: Northbound Lane of Piedmont Closed This Week and Next

The northbound lane of Piedmont Ave. between Bancroft Way and the Haas School of Business will be closed to traffic in both directions from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekdays Sept. 21 through Oct. 2 for utility work. Vehicles will share the lane on the west side of Piedmont Ave., with flaggers on site to direct traffic. Pedestrians must use the sidewalk on the west side of the street. After 2 p.m. and on weekends, trenches will be covered with steel plates and the roadway will be open to regular traffic. For information contact Christine Shaff, 510-643-4793.

EH&S: Popular 'All Hazard Awareness' Classes Added

Due to an increased demand for the "All Hazard Awareness" course (EHS0135), the Lab's Emergency Services Program will offer two additional training sessions before the end of the fiscal year. The classes will be held in Building 48-109 on Wednesday, Sept. 23, and Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon. Go here to register. For more information, contact Sara Wynne (x5861).

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