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  • Two Berkeley Lab Researchers Receive DOE Early Career Research AwardsTwo Berkeley Lab Researchers Receive DOE Early Career Research Awards
    Two scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to receive significant funding for research through its Early Career Research Program. The program, now in its tenth year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work. The two Berkeley Lab recipients are among a total of 73 recipients selected this year, including 27 from DOE’s national laboratories. The scientists are each expected to receive grants of up to… Read more »
  • Some Assembly Required: Scientists Piece Together the Largest U.S.-Based Dark Matter ExperimentSome Assembly Required: Scientists Piece Together the Largest U.S.-Based Dark Matter Experiment
    Upper (left) and lower photomultiplier tube arrays are prepared for LZ at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF) Most of the remaining components needed to fully assemble an underground dark matter-search experiment called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) arrived at the project’s South Dakota home during a rush of deliveries in June. When complete, LZ will be the largest, most sensitive U.S.-based experiment yet that is designed to directly detect dark matter particles. Scientists around the world have been trying for decades to solve the mystery of dark matter, which makes up about 85 percent of all… Read more »
  • Simons Foundation Contributes $20M More to Observatory Exploring Early UniverseSimons Foundation Contributes $20M More to Observatory Exploring Early Universe
    The site of Simons Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile. (Credit: UC San Diego) The Simons Observatory, a Berkeley Lab-involved project under construction in Chile’s Atacama Desert that will measure the properties of universe’s early light – the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – with extreme precision, has received a new commitment of $20 million from the Simons Foundation. The foundation, which supports basic scientific research with grants and through in-house research, had previously committed $60 million toward the project. The new commitment, which will support the observatory’s operations, will be paid over a period of five years beginning in 2022. A key… Read more »
  • What if Dark Matter is Lighter? Report Calls for Small Experiments to Broaden the HuntWhat if Dark Matter is Lighter? Report Calls for Small Experiments to Broaden the Hunt
    Junsong Lin, an affiliate in Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division and UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher, holds components of a low-mass dark matter detector that is now in development. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab) The search for dark matter is expanding. And going small. While dark matter abounds in the universe – it is by far the most common form of matter, making up about 85 percent of the universe’s total – it also hides in plain sight. We don’t yet know what it’s made of, though we can witness its gravitational pull on known matter. Theorized weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs,… Read more »
  • A New Filter to Better Map the Dark UniverseA New Filter to Better Map the Dark Universe
    Just as a wine glass distorts an image showing temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background in this photo illustration, large objects like galaxy clusters and galaxies can similarly distort this light to produce lensing effects. (Credit: Emmanuel Schaan and Simone Ferraro/Berkeley Lab) The earliest known light in our universe, known as the cosmic microwave background, was emitted about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The patterning of this relic light holds many important clues to the development and distribution of large-scale structures such as galaxies and galaxy clusters. Distortions in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), caused by a phenomenon… Read more »
  • The ‘Little’ Computer Cluster That CouldThe ‘Little’ Computer Cluster That Could
    The PDSF computer cluster in 2003. (Credit: Berkeley lab) Decades before “big data” and “the cloud” were a part of our everyday lives and conversations, a custom computer cluster based at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) enabled physicists around the world to remotely and simultaneously analyze and visualize data. The Parallel Distributed Systems Facility (PDSF) cluster, which had served as a steady workhorse in supporting groundbreaking and even Nobel-winning research around the world since the 1990s, switched off last month. During its lifetime the cluster and its dedicated support team racked up many computing achievements… Read more »
  • VIDEO: The Making of the Largest 3D Map of the Universe
    In this video, DESI project participants share their insight and excitement about the project and its potential for new and unexpected discoveries. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab, DESI Collaboration)   DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, will mobilize 5,000 swiveling robots – each one pointing a thin strand of fiber-optic cable – to gather the light from about 35 million galaxies. The little robots are designed to fix on a series of preselected sky objects that are as distant as 12 billion light-years away. By studying how these galaxies are drifting away from us, DESI will provide precise measurements of the… Read more »
  • Dark Energy Instrument’s Lenses See the Night Sky for the First TimeDark Energy Instrument’s Lenses See the Night Sky for the First Time
    DESI “first light” image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51. This image was obtained the first night of observing with the DESI Commissioning Instrument on the Mayall Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona; an r-band filter was used to capture the red light from the galaxy. (Credit: DESI Collaboration) On April 1, the dome of the Mayall Telescope near Tucson, Arizona, opened to the night sky, and starlight poured through the assembly of six large lenses that were carefully packaged and aligned for a new instrument that will launch later this year. Just… Read more »
  • Setting a ‘Gold Standard’ for Ultrasensitive Particle DetectorsSetting a ‘Gold Standard’ for Ultrasensitive Particle Detectors
    Alan “Al” Smith places an aluminum sample exposed to radiation at Berkeley Lab’s Bevatron accelerator into a lead and concrete box containing a detector at a low-level radiation counting facility in this 1950s photograph. (Credit: Berkeley Lab) Note: This article was adapted from an article originally published by the Sanford Underground Research Facility. View the original article. In 1953, Alan “Al” Smith arrived for his first day of work at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Over the next seven decades, Smith would greatly advance the science of ultrasensitive particle detectors. Smith worked to improve the… Read more »
  • Berkeley Lab Researcher Wins Machine-Learning Competition With Code That Sorts Through Simulated Telescope DataBerkeley Lab Researcher Wins Machine-Learning Competition With Code That Sorts Through Simulated Telescope Data
    A rendering of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope’s dome. (Credit: LSST Collaboration) A new telescope will take a sequence of hi-res snapshots with the world’s largest digital camera, covering the entire visible night sky every few days – and repeating the process for an entire decade. That presents a big data challenge: What’s the best way to rapidly and automatically identify and categorize all of the stars, galaxies, and other objects captured in these images? To help solve this problem, the scientific collaboration that is working on this Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project launched a competition among data scientists to… Read more »
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