Posts byDat Mai

From the Editor

Dear Readers,   Another year has come and another spring has arrived. A stroll around the campus shows a bustling student body even larger than the year before. Undoubtedly, amongst the crowd are scientists who are trying to solve a problem related to this population increase. As there becomes more of us, how can we
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Staff Listing, Spring 2018

Editor in Chief Dat Mai Editors Zeke Barger Katie Deets Kyle Hemes Tim Jeffers Nanticha Lutt Hayley McCausland George Otto Copy Editors Dana Goodacre Molly Lapoint Ana Lyons Managing Editor Katie Deets Art Director Ashley Truxal Designers Cameron Baker Amanda Bischoff Jing Dai Thai Dao Nicole Repina Emily Hartman Mackenzie Kirchner-Smith Elija Mehlferber Alexandra Ramsey
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Toolbox—Perovskites

Perovskite, made of eight repeating octahedral units, has a high solar power conversion efficiency which may make solar cells more economical. Due to its high efficiency and unique crystal structure, it has been the topic of various research endeavors with the potential to advance solar technology. The term ”perovskite” is used to describe a crystal
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Jose M. Carmena

The brain—or as Dr. Jose Carmena calls it, “the ultimate frontier”—has immense capabilities. It regulates our biological processes, initiates our actions, harbors our conscience, and stores the knowledge we use to understand the world. To expand our understanding of this ultimate frontier, UC Berkeley professor and co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses
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3D printing the future

As 3D printing has become a more common option for designers and builders, researchers are exploring replacing the plastic printing material they use, with natural alternatives. Using biological materials such as plant fibers and bio-derived resins helps reduce the environmental impact of 3D printing, and can also help inspire us about new ways to construct
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Road to longevity

Jeanne Calment died at the astounding age of 122 years, 3 months, and 6 days—the oldest recorded living person. Jeanne was reputed to still be smoking, drinking, and indulging in her native rich French cuisine well into her triple digits. Given the rarity of such longevity, why did Jeanne live as long as she did?
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A decentralized future

Almost every aspect of our life is routed through a central clearinghouse before it reaches us. Our money is dispensed through banks, our electricity is controlled by power companies, and the webpages we access are filtered by Google. However, massive security breaches, transparency concerns, and a desire for tighter control of personal information are pushing
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Powered by life

You are feeling sick. Your doctor wants to monitor you for a few weeks, so you are given a miniaturized implant—a sensor that measures various metabolite levels in your system and sends them to your doctor to assess. If the monitor senses an imbalance in your system, it can inform the doctor immediately. But this
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Plant protectors

Tucked away behind the UC Berkeley football stadium lies a phantasmagoria of towering cacti and flowers. The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden (UCBG) is both a destination for an easy afternoon with visiting parents and an homage to the sheer variety of forms plant life can take. It is particularly stunning in the spring when many
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Biofabrication

The tags on our clothes, the soles of our shoes, even the backs of our phones may one day read: “Made by Biology.” Over millennia cells have evolved to construct materials as diverse as wood, glass, and even glue. Rather than use toxic chemicals and high pressure or heat, this architectural power comes from instructions
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Pushing the envelope

Most of us have been there: delicately balancing an overflowing cup of coffee while rushing to work. Some of us have even risked a light jog with our precious cargo. This careful balancing act may be impressive for a human, but it hardly matches the stunts regularly performed by hummingbirds. Professor Robert Dudley, the principal
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Guardians of the brain galaxy

As we develop in the womb, billions of neurons come together to build the complex network that will become our brain. But what organizes and protects these neurons as they shape our future self? Neuron formation and maintenance results in a lot of cellular waste that requires rapid clearance from the brain to avoid tissue
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Sizing up awe

Imagine standing on the beach, looking out at the vast ocean. There is no land in sight on the horizon. The depth of the water seems immeasurable. When confronted with a scene like this, many people feel a powerful emotion: awe. Berkeley psychologists have found that the causes of awe depend on culture, but its
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From the Field

On August 17th, 2017, lightning and thunder from a cosmic storm 130 million light years away reached the Earth. Two neutron stars, each heavier than our Sun but small enough to fit in the Bay Area, orbited one another in a nearby galaxy. In their movement, they emitted gravitational waves (GWs), ripples in space-time that
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Plantation peril

Replacing rainforests with farms has many obvious consequences, but a recent paper from Nature Communications suggests that the ecological effect of deforestation is even greater than previously imagined. In this study, researchers, including several from UC Berkeley, showed that species that thrive in farmlands can negatively affect ecosystems of rainforests nearby—even if those rainforests are
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Pumping iron: ferrosomes

Bacteria are not as simple as most of us think. While the widespread definition of a bacterium is simply a single-celled organism without any specialized sub-cellular compartments called organelles, such a blanket statement fails to take into account the discoveries of many types of bacterial organelles. Examples include the anammoxsome, a large compartment that allows
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Ant speak

An army of ants charge quickly into the kitchen, waging war on a nearby pantry. As unwelcome houseguests, they take food, shelter, and whatever resources that come their way. For millions of homeowners, Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) can be a nightmare of a pest. Adept at living in large metropolitan areas, these invasive ants have
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Whatever floats your stone

Pumice can be seen bobbing towards the ocean surface and clustering together to form massive pumice rafts after underwater volcanoes erupt. These rafts will travel across oceans, carrying coral, barnacles, algae, and other sea life, increasing biodiversity. At the same time, pumice are ocean hazards threatening to damage and stall ship engines. The pumice’s dual
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From the Editor

Dear Readers, Autumn has arrived, with its crisp air and bustling streets. Sidewalks and coffee shops teem with students and researchers, chatting, exchanging ideas, and discussing science. In many ways, science is forged through these connections—between people, concepts, techniques—as ideas become woven together into true progress. In this issue of the Berkeley Science Review, several
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Life on the edge

Did life evolve somewhere else? Of course,” says Richard Mathies, chemistry professor at UC Berkeley. Mathies is developing the technology to explore extraterrestrial life in our solar system and beyond. “What does it look like? I’m not sure.” Recent advances in space exploration technology have led to an explosion of newly discovered exoplanets in our
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BSR and Beyond

If you’ve read any Berkeley Science Review (BSR) article, you know one of our goals—to tell engaging stories about UC Berkeley research. But hidden within the glossy pages of the magazine is our second, less obvious mission. In producing the BSR, we work together and teach each other how to write, design, edit, and publicize
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