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Supernova Twins: Making Standard Candles More Standard Than Ever

Supernova Factory group (SN factory) - Greg Aldering, Kyle Boone, Hannah Fakhouri and Saul Perlmutter.

Type Ia supernovae are bright “standard candles” for measuring cosmic distances. Standard enough to discover dark energy, they’re far from identical. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab-based Nearby Supernova Factory have shown that supernova twins with closely matching spectra double the accuracy of distance measures.

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics Has Berkeley Lab Roots

SNO feature update

Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers played important roles in the design and construction of SNO – the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – as well as subsequent data analysis that contributed to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Canada’s Arthur McDonald.

National Security on the Move with High Energy Physics


Scientists are developing new technology that will safely and quickly detect nuclear material in large objects such as cargo containers.

For Ultra-cold Neutrino Experiment, a Successful Demonstration

Bottom view of a CUORE tower. Credit: CUORE Collaboration

An international team of nuclear physicists announced the first scientific results from the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE) experiment. CUORE is designed to confirm the existence of the Majorana neutrino, which scientists believe could hold the key to why there is an abundance of matter over antimatter.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Recipients of 2015 Breakthrough Prizes

Doudna Breakthrough Feature

Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter and biochemist Jennifer Doudna were among the featured recipients of the 2015 Breakthrough Prizes in Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences.

Hide & Seek: Sterile Neutrinos Remain Elusive


The Daya Bay Collaboration, an international group of scientists studying the subtle transformations of subatomic particles called neutrinos, is publishing its first results on the search for a so-called sterile neutrino, a possible new type of neutrino beyond the three known neutrino “flavors,” or types.

Not Much Force: Berkeley Researchers Detect Smallest Force Ever Measured

Mechanical oscillators translate an applied force into measureable mechanical motion. The Standard Quantum Limit is imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, in which the measurement itself perturbs the motion of the oscillator, a phenomenon known as “quantum back-action.” (Image by Kevin Gutowski)

Berkeley Lab researchers have detected the smallest force ever measured – approximately 42 yoctonewtons – using a unique optical trapping system that provides ultracold atoms. A yoctonewton is one septillionth of a newton.

Beyond the Higgs Boson: A Detector Add-on Helps Scientists Look Deeper

Installation of Insertable b-Layer, or IBL into the ATLAS detector of the Large Hadron Collider. Credit: Heinz Pernegger, CERN

Last month, ATLAS, the particle detector that helped find the Higg’s boson, got an upgrade. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN added a new set of sensors, called the Insertable b-Layer, or IBL, into the core of the detector. The IBL will be closer to particle collisions than previous sensors and contain more,

Surprisingly Strong Magnetic Fields Challenge Black Holes’ Pull

A computer simulation of gas (in yellow) falling into a black hole (too small to be seen). Twin jets are also shown with magnetic field lines. Image credit: Alexander Tchekhovskoy, LBL

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems’ dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes’ powerful gravitational pull, says a team of scientists from Berkeley Lab and Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany.

A Path Toward More Powerful Tabletop Accelerators

3D Map of the longitudinal wakefield generated by the incoherent combination of 208 low-energy laser beamlets. In the region behind the driver, the wakefield is regular. Credit: Carlo Benedetti, Berkeley Lab

Making a tabletop particle accelerator just got easier. A new study shows that certain requirements for the lasers used in an emerging type of small-area particle accelerator can be significantly relaxed. Researchers hope the finding could bring about a new era of accelerators that would need just a few meters to bring particles to great