John Bonnell of UC Berkeley and Marilia Samara of the Southwest Research Institute in Arizona are planning to launch a sounding rocket into the night sky over Alaska to study curls in the Northern Lights. The NASA-funded Ground-to-Rocket Electron-Electrodynamics Correlative Experiment could reveal how these curls form as ionized particles from the sun strike the atmosphere.
Researchers from Cal State-Long Beach, Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have launched “Kelp Watch 2014,” a scientific campaign to determine the extent of radioactive contamination of the state’s kelp forest from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
Ever since Tim White & his team reported the discovery of Ardipithicus ramidus in 1994, anthropologists have debated whether the 4 million-year-old creature was an ape with human features or a human ancestor retaining some ape-like features. A detailed analysis of the fossils by White & William Kimbel of the Institute of Human Origins confirms that it belongs to the human lineage.
A nutshell description, or a super-short video, can be a powerful tool in helping people understand the science behind global warming, says Michael Ranney, a cognitive psychologist at the Graduate School of Education. Ranney and his research team recently published five short explanatory videos (one just 52 seconds long), which quickly went viral.
UC Berkeley physicist Yunqiao Wu, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and Berkeley Lab researcher, has used vanadium dioxide to create a micro-muscle that can catapult a tiny object with a thousand times more power than human muscle. He hopes to use the material to make artificial muscle fibers.