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Thursday, March 4, 2010


Trapping Sunlight With Silicon Nanowires

Peidong Yang of the Materials Sciences Division has found a better way to trap light in photovoltaic cells made from silicon that has the potential to substantially cut the cost of solar-based electrical power. Using vertical arrays of silicon nanowires, he and his group improved light trapping by a factor of 73. This reduces both the quantity and the quality of silicon needed in solar cells. More>

dipoleLDRD: Discovery Awards — A Search for Electric Dipole Moment

An electron is a dimensionless point … isn’t it? Yet it has a magnetic dipole moment. Since an electron always has spin (in the quantum sense), it can be viewed classically as a spinning charge with north and south magnetic poles. Does spin also give the electron an electric dipole moment? “If the electron were a line and not a point, you could imagine its charge distributed along the line,” says Benedict Feinberg of the Advanced Light Source. “So I like to say we’re trying to measure the length of the electron.” This is the third installment of a five-part series. More>

chekal bainPeople: Community Relation’s Chekal-Bain to Work for Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner

Mark Chekal-Bain, the Lab’s Community Relations Officer for the past one-and-a-half years, has taken a position as District Director for State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (14th District). His last day is Friday, March 12. A search to fill the position will begin immediately. "Mark's ability to communicate Berkeley Lab's value to our local and community elected officials has helped us advance our science mission. His passion and skills will be missed but well utilized by our dear friend, Assemblywoman Skinner,” says Lab Director Paul Alivisatos. “Mark has been an effective advocate for the Lab and has done an outstanding job helping to organize the nascent Community Advisory Group,” added Jeff Miller, head of Public Affairs. “We look forward to working with him in his new position.”

bus wrapTransportation: New Buses Sport Eye-Catching Wraps

Most agree that the Lab’s new shuttle buses are cleaner, safer, comfier, and, with WIFI capabilities, more convenient. Now, “eye-catching” can be added to the list. The formerly plain, white vehicles have been adorned with colorful wraps that display the Lab’s slogan, “Bringing science solutions to the world,” and the website address. The creative decals will help raise awareness of the Lab's friendly, service-oriented spirit as the buses travel around Berkeley, and hopefully encourage local citizens to go to the Lab website to learn more about our research.

Transportation: No Orange Buses Along Bancroft Ave. Today

Due to anticipated student protest activity on campus, the Lab’s Orange Route buses will not travel on Bancroft Ave. today. Passengers who normally use stops along this corridor should board at Hearst and Euclid Avenues.

colemanIn Memoriam: Philip Coleman, 1920-2010

Berkeley Lab retiree Philip Coleman, who started in 1948 working for what was then called the Mechanical Design Department in the Engineering Division, passed away on Feb. 28. He was 89 years old. Coleman spent 35 years with the Lab, designing equipment for scientists to test their work, particularly on nuclear particle accelerators and medical imaging technology. Services will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Berkeley Ward Meetinghouse in Berkeley (1501 Walnut St.). Go here to read a full obituary, provided by family members.

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