The Science of Sustainability

Christopher Smallwood

Christopher Smallwood

Christopher Smallwood is a Graduate Student in Physics at UC Berkeley. He is interested in the nexus between the basic research community and society at large. Originally from the Bavarian-themed tourist town of Leavenworth, WA (yes, real people actually do live there!), he graduated with an A.B. in Physics from Harvard College in 2005, taught fifth grade at Leo Elementary School in South Texas, and has been pursuing his Ph.D. in the Bay Area since the fall of 2007. Currently, he studies experimental condensed matter in the Lanzara Research Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His past research interests have included Bose-Einstein condensation, rubidium-based atomic clocks, hydrogen masers, lenses and mirrors, mayflies, mousetrap cars, toothpick bridges, fawn lilies, the slinky, Legos, vinegar and baking soda volcanoes, wolves, choo-choo trains, and the word "moon."

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Christopher Smallwood's Latest Posts

Introducing the Higgs Boson

Introducing the Higgs Boson

The Bay Area has a big community of physicists involved with the Higgs boson project, and the Physics Department at UC Berkeley has scheduled a special seminar on the topic this coming Friday.

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Racetrack Memory On the Move

Racetrack Memory On the Move

Racetrack Memory is a new idea that could compete with some of the most popular memory devices in use today.

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Computer Memory Poised to Get Shock Therapy?

Computer Memory Poised to Get Shock Therapy?

In recent years, scientists have been playing around with more exotic forms of data storage. It turns out that some very specialized materials are not only like to be magnetically ordered, but are also naturally charged.

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Try These At Home 2: Exploring Buoyancy

Try These At Home 2: Exploring Buoyancy

Buoyancy is the force that decides whether an object will sink or float, and has had a long and colorful history.

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Welcome to the Year of the Laser

Welcome to the Year of the Laser

Perhaps no single development of the last century has been more influential or more important than the laser.

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Dark Matter Tests Positive (Sort of)

Dark Matter Tests Positive (Sort of)

Dark matter – think of matter as a fancy word for stuff – is one of the most exciting but also potentially frustrating phenomena in cosmology today.

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Climate Talks in Copenhagen: No Silver Bullet?

Climate Talks in Copenhagen: No Silver Bullet?

Between the aquarium of drowning-delegate sea-level rise protesters, the chicken flock of animal rights protesters, and the cocktail party of fur-coated protest protesters, there will certainly have been a lot to see these past two weeks in Copenhagen during the latest United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Unlocking the Mysteries of Graphene

Unlocking the Mysteries of Graphene

Researchers in Alex Zettl’s group at Berkeley have endeavored recently to isolate suspended membranes of graphene for study and image them at Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s TEAM 0.5, the world’s most powerful transmission electron microscope (TEM).

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50 Years Later, Still Plenty of Room at the Bottom

50 Years Later, Still Plenty of Room at the Bottom

50 years ago, eminent physicist Richard Feynman gave a gave a prophetic speech at Caltech entitled, "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom." The speech described a rich world of possibilities that could arise if we only applied ourselves toward controlling matter on smaller and smaller scales.

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The Large Hadron Collider Gets Ready to Spin Again

The Large Hadron Collider Gets Ready to Spin Again

.In about one month the world’s biggest science experiment, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, will once again fire up.

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Toward Greener Biofuels and Greener Cars

Toward Greener Biofuels and Greener Cars

For all the excitement, selling the American public on biofuels feels a little like feeding methadone to a heroin addict.

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Try These at Home: 2 Sure-fire Science Demo Classics

Try These at Home: 2 Sure-fire Science Demo Classics

Quick how-to's to make your own non-newtonian matter; float a ball in mid-air indefinitely; pronounce "Bernoulli."

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Are Power Towers the Future of Solar Energy?

Are Power Towers the Future of Solar Energy?

Southern California's Antelope Valley is famous for its desert blooms of California poppies, but has recently become the home of one of the most aesthetically striking new designs in alternative energy.

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The Tantalizing Physics of Invisibility Cloaks

The Tantalizing Physics of Invisibility Cloaks

The prospect of such technology dazzles the imagination. Could we use such a cloak to hide spy planes? Ugly buildings? UFO landing sites?

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3-D is Quidditch, but Much More, Too

3-D is Quidditch, but Much More, Too

Whether here to stay in film this time or another passing fad, 3-D technology will remain both a fascinating technology and valuable tool in science.

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New Nanoparticles Shed Light on Cell Behavior

New Nanoparticles Shed Light on Cell Behavior

Happily, while Michael Crichton's nanoparticles coordinate an attack on a your vital organs, these new bright, stable particles behave more like benign light bulbs in your cells.

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The National Ignition Facility: An Energetic Defense

The National Ignition Facility: An Energetic Defense

For all of the laser's exciting aspirations and promise of new technology, the press' reaction to NIF throughout the twelve years of its construction has been often lukewarm, and at worst scornful.

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An Ode to Enrico Fermi

An Ode to Enrico Fermi

The concept of the "Fermi Problem"–a hard question made readily accessible by back-of-the-envelope calculations and familiar knowledge–is still powerful in physics and beyond. Science teachers routinely use these types of questions as brain teasers.

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Superconductivity: an Arsenic-Laced Future?

Superconductivity: an Arsenic-Laced Future?

In February of last year scientists discovered a new champion in their quest for a better superconductor, a material based on iron and, curiously enough, arsenic.

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