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July 25, 2008

tabl-image Research Update:
Weighing Gold Atoms One by One

There’s a new “gold standard” in the sensitivity of weighing scales. Using the same technology with which they created the world’s first fully functional nanotube radio, Berkeley Lab researchers led by Alex Zettl have fashioned a nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) that functions as a scale sensitive enough to measure the weight (mass) of a single atom of gold. The NEMS scale could prove especially useful for measuring the mass of proteins and other molecules that don’t fare well in mass spectrometry. More>

Name Change: The Facility Formerly Known as SLAC

Our sister national laboratory in Palo Alto across the Bay will be undergoing a name change. DOE will rename the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) sans the “Stanford”; that particular word is trademarked by Stanford University, and DOE wants to own the names to all of its national laboratories. DOE’s stated goal is to “choose a name that will reflect the new nature” of the facility formerly known as SLAC. More>

tabl-imageALS News: Proteins that Use Salt to Transport Sugar

ALS staff at beamline 5.0.2 made an extra effort to supply the special setup that researchers from UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine needed to solve the structure of proteins known as sodium glucose cotransporters, which use energy stored in sodium gradients to pump glucose into cells. The discovery could help save millions of children who suffer from chronic diarrhea, plus accelerate development of new drugs for diabetes and cancer. Read the UCLA press release.

tabl-imageIn the News: Gassing Up With Garbage

The New York Times reports that after years of false starts, a new industry that sells motor fuel made from waste is getting a big push in the United States. Are commercial sales really possible within months? Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu cautions that the technology may not yet be there. More>

Ergonomic Safety: A Study to Select Safer Pipettes

Ira Janowitz of the Lab’s Ergo Team is working with the Center for Science and Engineering Education’s student interns Monica Lichty and Lady Cortez to conduct a study of manual and electronic pipettes. Results will help Berkeley Lab researchers select and use pipettes with less exposure to ergonomic risk factors. Find out how to volunteer.

tabl-image TV Replay: Dark Energy, Chasing Raindrops, Solar Water Heater

Well worth seeing again is the premier of “Dark Energy” on KQED’s QUEST last Tuesday, on the web here, featuring Saul Perlmutter with appearances by Onsi Fakhouri, Hannah Swift, and Rahman Amanullah. The same QUEST show followed Inez Fung and her colleagues as they track the history of raindrops in the water cycle, on the web here. And viewers who missed Ashok Gadgil and his students on ABC 7 News last week can see or read the story of their new solar-powered water heater here.