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Monday, Dec. 8, 2008


Scientists Create Ceramic That Mimics Mother of Pearl

Biomimicry — technological innovation inspired by nature — is one of the hottest ideas in science but has yet to yield many practical advances. Time for a change. Through the controlled freezing of suspensions in water of an aluminum oxide and the addition of a well known polymer, a team of researchers — led by Berkeley Lab materials scientist Robert Ritchi — has produced ceramics that are 300 times tougher than their constituent components. More>

well wind millIn The News: Energy Goals a Moving Target for States

[New York Times] In hopes of slowing global warming and creating “green jobs,” Congress and the incoming administration may soon impose a mandate that the nation get 10 or 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources within a few years. Yet the experience of states that have adopted similar goals suggests that passing that requirement could be a lot easier than achieving it. So far the number of successes and failures is “sort of a 50-50 kind of affair,” said Ryan Wiser, a researcher with Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division and co-author of a recent report on the targets. More>

candlesSpecial Event: Lab-Wide Holiday Party on Thursday, Dec. 18

All employees are invited to join together in the cafeteria from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, to celebrate the holiday season. Food and beverages will be served, and Director Chu will address the gathering at approximately 4 p.m. The Lab is conducting a collection drive for the Alameda County Food Bank, so attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for donation.

hoffmanPeople: Hoffman Uses Broken Jewelry to Help Brighten Broken Lives

What normally sinks to the bottom of people’s jewelry boxes — broken chains, bracelets with missing stones, and one earring missing its mate — is gold to Rose Hoffman, who works in the Lab’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer. While most of us eventually toss these miscellaneous odds and ends, Hoffman uses them to create new pieces of jewelry. And during this holiday season, she’s using these creations to help brighten the lives of others.

murayamaIn The News:  Japan’s International Science Enterprise

[Physics Today] To attract global recognition and foreign scientists — and reverse the brain drain that has drawn topnotch Japanese scientists abroad — last year Japan launched the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI). Among the first of a planned 30 research centers is the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) headed by Hitoshi Murayama, a professor at Tokyo University who maintains his ties to Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division and UC Berkeley. In a revolutionary development for Japan, 18 of IPMU’s 34 full-time scientific members are from outside Japan, and English is an official language. More>

busCommuter Survey:  Provide Feedback by Dec. 12 for Chance at Prizes

Employees are invited to provide their feedback on getting to and from work by completing a survey on commuting. Answers to the survey are anonymous, but prizes will be given to a random selection of responders. The deadline for the survey has been extended to Friday, Dec 12.

Lab Directory:  Staff Who Have Moved Must Update Their Address

With many staff being relocated up to and around the Hill, addresses and some phone numbers have changed. To ensure that deliveries and phone calls arrive at the right destination, staff who have recently moved are asked to update their directory listing as soon as possible.