News Center

One in 10 Americans depends on the Colorado River for bathing and drinking. Last fall’s record-high temperatures reduced Colorado snowpack in winter 2018 to 66 percent of normal, sparking concern over water shortages downstream and leaving water managers fearful of a repeat. Berkeley Lab hydrological science expert Bhavna Arora explains how unseasonably warm weather and drought can affect water quality.

Feature Story

VIDEO: 5,000 Robots Merge to Map the Universe in 3D

October 17th, 2018

How do you create the largest 3D map of the universe? It’s as easy as teaching 5,000 robots how to “dance.” DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, is an experiment that will target millions of distant galaxies by automatically swiveling fiber-optic positioners (the robots) to point at them and gather their light. In creating this detailed map, scientists hope to learn more about dark energy, which is driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.

News Release

Acrylic Tanks Provide Clear Window Into Dark Matter Detection

October 16th, 2018

Scientists have a new window into the search for dark matter – an acrylic vessel that features a grouping of 12-foot-tall transparent tanks with 1-inch-thick walls. The tanks, which will surround a central detector for a nearly mile-deep experiment under construction in South Dakota called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), will be filled with liquid that produces tiny flashes of light in some particle interactions.

Feature Story

Ancient Pigment Can Boost Energy Efficiency

October 9th, 2018

Egyptian blue, derived from calcium copper silicate, was routinely used on ancient depictions of gods and royalty. Previous studies have shown that when Egyptian blue absorbs visible light, it then emits light in the near-infrared range. Now a team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has confirmed the pigment’s fluorescence can be 10 times stronger than previously thought.

News Release

Scientists Present New Clues to Cut Through the Mystery of Titan’s Atmospheric Haze

October 8th, 2018

Experiments at Berkeley Lab have helped scientists to zero in on a low-temperature chemical mechanism that may help to explain the complex molecular compounds that make up the nitrogen-rich haze layer surrounding Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

News Release

By Jove! Methane’s Effects on Sunlight Vary by Region

September 26th, 2018

Scientists investigating how human-induced increases in atmospheric methane also increase the amount of solar energy absorbed by that gas in our climate system have discovered that this absorption is 10 times stronger over desert regions such as the Sahara Desert and Arabian Peninsula than elsewhere on Earth, and nearly three times more powerful in the presence of clouds.

News Release

Toward a New Light: Advanced Light Source Upgrade Project Moves Forward

September 25th, 2018

The Advanced Light Source (ALS), a scientific user facility at Berkeley Lab, has received federal approval to proceed with preliminary design, planning and R&D work for a major upgrade project that will boost the brightness of its X-ray beams at least a hundredfold. The upgrade will give the ALS, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, brighter beams with a more ordered structure – like evenly spaced ripples in a pond – that will better reveal nanoscale details in complex chemical reactions and in new materials, expanding the envelope for scientific exploration.