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Friday, August 6, 2010


E.O. Lawrence Fellowship Winner Wrangles Data and Field Work

Gina Lamendella

A few weeks ago, Gina Lamendella of the Earth Sciences Division was standing on the deck of the 165-foot Brooks McCall research vessel at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when she learned that she had received an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Fellowship. The fellowship was a big surprise and even bigger accolade. It recognizes outstanding people from historically underrepresented groups in emerging scientific fields and provides 50 percent of the recipient’s salary for up to three years.

Her shipboard celebration was short-lived, however. She was soon back to work, helping to collect the smallest of organisms in an effort to track one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history. Lamendella uses molecular genetic tools to study microbial communities in far-flung places, from the human gut, to soil, to the oil-contaminated water and beaches of the Gulf. More>

Summer Lecture Series: Carbon Smackdown Visualizes Clean Energy

SmackdownThe final Carbon Smackdown match takes place Monday at noon in the Building 50 Auditorium. Juan Meza of the Computational Research Division will reveal how scientists use computer visualizations to accelerate climate research and discuss the development of next-generation clean energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar cells. The talk will be webcast live. You can also go there to watch previous Smackdown lectures.

Special Event: Foundry and NCEM Joint User Meeting

FoundryThe Molecular Foundry and National Center for Electron Microscopy will hold their joint User Meeting starting Thursday, September 30. This year's meeting theme is Nanoscience for Energy Technology and will feature talks from solar energy luminary Michael Gratzel and DOE's Linda Horton, along with the popular NanoFest science film festival. In addition, workshops will be held on October 1 in seven areas reflecting the theme. Speakers are encouraged to submit abstracts until August 15; for those interested in presenting a poster, the deadline is September 15. Registration is $150 for Lab employees and $75 for students. To learn more, click here.

Research: Selenium Makes More Efficient Solar Cells

Research reported in the journal Applied Physics Letters, published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), describes how solar power could potentially be harvested by using oxide materials that contain the element selenium. A team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory embedded selenium in zinc oxide, a relatively inexpensive material that could be promising for solar power conversion if it could make more efficient use of the sun's energy. The team found that even a relatively small amount of selenium, just 9 percent of the mostly zinc-oxide base, dramatically boosted the material's efficiency in absorbing light. More>

Escherichia coliIn the News: Biotech Offers Promise for Producing Fuel

[Los Angeles Times] Recently, scientists reported a significant step toward the futuristic goal of making oil: an engineered strain of the gut bacterium Escherichia coli that can make a diesel-like mixture of hydrocarbons. The researchers, at South San Francisco-based biotech company LS9 Inc., created their biological hydrocarbon factory using genes from water-dwelling blue-green algae that naturally make tiny amounts of the fuel. "Rather than changing the infrastructure to fit nature's fuel, let's change the biology," said Berkeley Lab scientist Jay Keasling, who is involved with both the Amyris and LS9 efforts. More>

Employee Activity: Discount Tickets for Employees for Two Oracle Arena Shows

Get tickets for Barnum’s FUNundrum, from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, showing August 11-15. The deadline to take advantage of discount ticket pricing is August 9. Go here to order and enter BERKLAB as the special offer promotion code. Also get a discount on the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes showing December 16 and 17. Download this form to order.

Safety: Use Caution When Walking Over Leaves and Pine NeedlesPine Needles

Please take time to review the attached “1 Minute 4 Safety” slide. The leaves and pine needles on sidewalks and parking lots are slick, causing potential slip hazards. If you see potential areas of accumulated debris please contact Betsy Reyes, [email protected], or the Facilities Work Request Center x6274 for assistance.

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