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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008
Our Safety, Our Laboratory's Future image

Small Foundry Fire Offers Big Lesson

A fire occurred recently in the Molecular Foundry when a postdoc placed a plastic graduated cylinder on a combination hot plate/magnetic stirrer, intending only to stir the contents. The postdoc had not noticed that the heat was turned on via the combination unit. Within 10 minutes, the plastic melted and started to smolder and the fire alarm was triggered. While the resulting fire was small, it did cause a one-hour evacuation of the entire facility and triggered an Occurrence Report. Lesson learned? Always use a single purpose stirrer rather than a combination unit when heat would damage the container or the contents. Always consider the potential safety problems during all phases of research planning and execution. For each part of an experiment, ask yourself:

• What could go wrong?
• How likely is each failure mode?
• How serious would be the resulting accident?
• How can I eliminate the hazard, reduce the probability of the event or limit the consequences?

Go to OurSafety for more on this incident.

majumdarIn The News: 'Hybrid House' Would Store Appliance Energy Exhaust in Batteries

[KPIX TV] If you're tired of high electric bills, the house of the future may be able to take wasted energy from your home appliances and store it for later. Scientists at Berkeley Lab — including EETD Division Director Arun Majumdar — are working on a so-called "hybrid house." Sources such as exhaust from a dryer or the heat generated from a refrigerator would be converted into energy and stored in giant batteries.

chipIn The News: Denser Chips Possible with ‘Flying’ Plasmonic Lenses

[KGO TV] As reported in the Oct. 24 edition of TABL, Berkeley Lab materials scientist Xiang Zhang and his UC Berkeley colleagues are creating computer chips that could revitalize optical lithography, a patterning technique that dominates modern integrated-circuits manufacturing. KGO TV has produced a feature video on this research and how it may lead to disks that can hold 10 to 100 times more data.

linderSpecial Event: Next ‘Science at Theater’ Talk on Monday, Nov. 24

The revolutionary discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, not slowing down from gravity, means that 75 percent of our universe consists of mysterious dark energy. Eric Linder will delve into the mystery of dark energy as part of the “Science in the Theatre” lecture series on Monday, Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St.).

bldg. 50Construction: Town Hall Meeting on Seismic Upgrades to Building 50

A town-hall meeting will be held for occupants and neighbors of Building 50 to discuss the seismic-upgrade construction that will take place there starting in January. The meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 21, at 9 a.m. in the Bldg. 50 Auditorium. Topics will include the occupant move plan, changes to building egress and parking, and construction activities. Contact Jack Heffernan for more information (x5993).

Dining Services: Cafeteria, Coffee Bar Close at 2 p.m. Today

The cafeteria and Peet’s Coffee Bar will close at 2 p.m. today to allow its staff to participate in their safety stand down.

Staff Development: Classes on Microsoft Word and Excel

The Berkeley Lab Learning Institute is offering Microsoft Excel and Word classes on Wednesday, Dec. 10 and Thursday, Dec. 11.  The classes are taught by CMC Training and cost $50 each. Due to limited space, employees are encouraged to sign up soon. Go here for more information and to register.  E-mail a project ID number to Karen Paris for payment.

Employee Activity: Free and Discounted Tickets for Dickens Fair

Courtesy of the Lab’s Arts Council (an Employee Activities Association club), employees can take advantage of free and discounted tickets for the annual Dickens Christmas Fair. Free tickets are available for performances on Nov. 28, 29 or 30. If not used on those dates, the tickets can be presented at the door for half-off admission on Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 or 21. The event takes place at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Send e-mail with your mail stop location included to Cynthia Jones to obtain tickets.