Archive for Top Story
For decades, no one worried much about the air quality inside people’s homes unless there was secondhand smoke or radon present. Then scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory made the discovery that the aggregate health consequences of poor indoor air quality are as significant as those from all traffic accidents or infectious diseases in the United States. They are now working on turning those research findings into science-based solutions, including better standards for residential buildings and easier ways to test for the hazardous pollutants.
Using an ultrahigh-precision microscopy technique, Berkeley Lab researchers have uncovered a way to improve the collective catalytic activity of enzyme cocktails on cellulosic biomass, boosting the yields of sugars for the production of advanced biofuels.
The Department of Energy has renewed funding for the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) for another five years. JBEI is a multi-institutional partnership for advanced biofuels research led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Making Do with More: Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Engineer Plant Cell Walls to Boost Sugar Yields for Biofuels
Using the tools of synthetic biology, JBEI researchers are engineering healthy plants whose lignocellulosic biomass can more easily be broken down into simple sugars for the production of clean, green and renewable advanced biofuels.
Berkeley Lab recently hosted an international workshop that brought together top climatologists, computer scientists and engineers from Japan and the United States to exchange ideas for the next generation of climate models as well as the hyper-performance computing environments that will be needed to process the data from those models. It was the 15th in a series of such workshops that have been taking place around the world since 1999.
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a computer model of a protein that helps cells interact with their surroundings. Like its biological counterpart, the virtual integrin snippet is about twenty nanometers long. It also responds to changes in energy and other stimuli just as integrins do in real life. The result is a new way to explore how the protein connects a cell’s inner and outer environments.
The Planck collaboration will soon release its first cosmological results from trillions of measurements of the cosmic microwave background. The results owe much to Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), including tens of millions of hours of massively parallel processing, plus the expertise of physicists and computational scientists in the Computational Cosmology Center (C3) who generated a quarter of a million simulated maps of the Planck sky, essential to the analysis.
Electrons flowing swiftly across the surface of topological insulators (TIs) are “spin polarized,” their spin and momentum locked. This new way to control electron distribution in spintronic devices makes TIs a hot topic in materials science. Now Berkeley Lab scientists have discovered more surprises: contrary to assumptions, the spin polarization of photoemitted electrons from a topological insulator is wholly determined in three dimensions by the polarization of the incident light beam.