Science archive

Warmer, drier climate altering forests statewide

Warmer, drier climate altering forests statewide January 20, 2015:

Thanks to historical data preserved in UC Berkeley’s libraries, campus botanists have been able to compare tree survey data from the 1920s and ’30s with forest service data today. They find a decline in large trees and an increase in the density of small trees in forests throughout the state. The large tree decline seems to be caused by water stress.

Was first nuclear test the start of new human-dominated epoch, the Anthropocene?

Was first nuclear test the start of new human-dominated epoch, the Anthropocene? January 16, 2015:

Is Earth at the dawn of a new geological epoch dominated by human-influenced geologic and environmental change? Anthony Barnosky is part of a group that proposes that this new era, called the Anthropocene, indeed began at the start of the nuclear era with the 1945 Trinity nuclear bomb test in New Mexico.

Q&A: Alivisatos, Kavli directors explore future of nanoscience

Q&A: Alivisatos, Kavli directors explore future of nanoscience January 14, 2015:

In advance of the inaugural symposium Jan. 15-16 of the new Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute, Kavli ENSI director Paul Alivisatos joins Paul McEuen, director of the Kavli institute at Cornell, and Nai-Chang Yeh, director of the Kavli institute at Caltech, to discuss the future of nanoscience.

Blocking hormone could eliminate stress-induced infertility

Blocking hormone could eliminate stress-induced infertility January 12, 2015:

Berkeley scientists show that the effects of chronic stress on fertility persist long after the stress is gone. This is because a hormone that suppresses fertility, GnIH, remains high even after stress hormone levels return to normal. In rats, they successfully blocked the hormone gene and restored normal reproductive behavior, suggesting therapeutic potential for stressed humans and animals in captive breeding programs.

Unique Sulawesi frog gives birth to tadpoles

Unique Sulawesi frog gives birth to tadpoles December 31, 2014:

Amid the amazing biodiversity of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi lives a 5-gram frog that gives direct birth to tadpoles, without ever laying eggs. This unique reproductive strategy, found in a group of fanged frogs endemic to the island, is described for the first time by UC Berkeley herpetologist Jim McGuire and colleagues from Indonesia and Canada.

Berkeley researchers develop new standard for sharing neuroscience data

Berkeley researchers develop new standard for sharing neuroscience data December 19, 2014:

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a computational framework for standardizing neuroscience data to assist data sharing among neuroscientists worldwide, much as the jpeg and TIFF standards have made sharing digital images easy. The researchers are part of the UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab and UCSF partnership called BRAINSeed.

Students show off ‘autonomous vehicles’ at L.A. Drone Expo

Students show off ‘autonomous vehicles’ at L.A. Drone Expo December 16, 2014:

UC Berkeley engineering students joined civil engineering professor Raja Sengupta at the first-ever Drone Expo in Los Angeles on Saturday, demonstrating their “unmanned autonomous vehicles” to a crowd of some 4,000 hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Berkeley innovators named fellows of National Academy of Inventors

Berkeley innovators named fellows of National Academy of Inventors December 16, 2014:

Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, chemical engineer Jay Keasling and chemist Richard Mathies were among 170 people named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. The organization honors innovators who have file patents in the United States.

Study reveals resilience of Roman architectural concrete

Study reveals resilience of Roman architectural concrete December 15, 2014:

An international research team studying the mortar used to build such Roman architectural marvels as the Pantheon, Trajan’s Markets and the Colosseum has found a secret to the material’s resilience. Led by scientists at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab, the team found that as the mortar cures, it forms a crystalline binding hydrate that prevents microcracks from propagating.

New therapy holds promise for restoring vision

New therapy holds promise for restoring vision December 8, 2014:

A new genetic therapy developed by UC Berkeley scientists has not only helped blind mice regain light sensitivity sufficient to distinguish flashing from non-flashing lights, but also restored light response to the retinas of dogs, setting the stage for future clinical trials of the therapy in humans. The therapy involves inserting photoswitches into retinal cells that are normally “blind.”

National Medal of Science ceremony streamed live from White House Nov. 20

National Medal of Science ceremony streamed live from White House Nov. 20 November 19, 2014:

President Barack Obama will honor three UC Berkeley faculty members on Thursday, Nov. 20, at a White House ceremony for the 19 new winners of the National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology & Innovation.

Education professor Barbara White dies at age 64

Education professor Barbara White dies at age 64 November 18, 2014:

Professor Barbara White, a faculty member at UC Berkeley for 25 years whose broad ranging academic background encompassed education, computer science, psychology, and mathematics, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 64.