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Berkeley Lab Wins Seven 2015 R&D 100 Awards

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Berkeley Lab has won seven 2015 R&D 100 awards. This year’s winners include a high-capacity anode for rechargeable batteries, a technique to synthesize the lightest, strongest material ever made, and a new way to analyze and visualize mass spectrometry data.

Scientists Call for National Effort to Understand and Harness Earth’s Microbes for Health, Energy, Agriculture, and Environment

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To understand and harness the capabilities of Earth’s microbial ecosystems, nearly fifty scientists from Department of Energy national laboratories, universities, and research institutions propose a national effort called the Unified Microbiome Initiative.

A Simpler Way to Estimate the Feedback Between Permafrost Carbon and Climate


Researchers led by a scientist from Berkeley Lab have developed a simple model of permafrost carbon based on direct observations. Their approach could help climate scientists evaluate how well permafrost dynamics are represented in the Earth system models used to predict climate change.

Gut Microbes Enable Coffee Pest to Withstand Extremely Toxic Concentrations of Caffeine

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Scientists discovered that coffee berry borers worldwide share 14 bacterial species in their digestive tracts that degrade and detoxify caffeine. They also found the most prevalent of these bacteria has a gene that helps break down caffeine. Their research sheds light on the ecology of the destructive bug and could lead to new ways to fight it.

Berkeley Lab Scientist Invents New Technique to Understand Cloud Behavior

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With two off-the-shelf digital cameras situated about 1 kilometer apart facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Berkeley Lab scientists David Romps and Rusen Oktem are collecting three-dimensional data on cloud behavior that have never been possible to collect before.

Energy Secretary Honors Berkeley Lab Scientists

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Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has awarded Berkeley Lab scientists Bill Collins and Greg Bell with DOE Secretarial Honor Awards, which are the department’s highest form of non-monetary employee recognition.

Major New Research Project to Study How Tropical Forests Worldwide Respond to Climate Change


Tropical forests play major roles in regulating Earth’s climate, but there are large uncertainties over how they’ll respond over the next 100 years as the planet’s climate warms. A multi-institutional project led by Berkeley Lab, called NGEE-Tropics, will combine field research with model development to represent how tropical forests interact with Earth’s climate in much greater ecological detail than ever before.

Computer Sims: In Climatic Tug of War, Carbon Released From Thawing Permafrost Wins Handily


There will be a lot more carbon released from thawing permafrost than the amount taken in by more Arctic vegetation, according to new computer simulations conducted by Berkeley Lab scientists.

A New Level of Earthquake Understanding

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Working at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), researchers studied quartz from the San Andreas Fault at the microscopic scale, the scale at which earthquake-triggering stresses originate. The results could one day lead to a better understanding of earthquake events.

First Direct Observation of Carbon Dioxide’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect at the Earth’s Surface

The scientists used incredibly precise spectroscopic instruments at two sites operated by the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. This research site is on the North Slope of Alaska near the town of Barrow. They also collected data from a site in Oklahoma. (Credit: Jonathan Gero)

Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface for the first time. The researchers, led by Berkeley Lab scientists, measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface over an eleven-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions.