The Science of Sustainability

Physics

Producer's Notes: Macro Concerns in a Nano World

Producer's Notes: Macro Concerns in a Nano World

When I was assigned to work on our QUEST story on nanotechnology, I braced myself for the complex terrain ahead. The focus is on the public policy implications of the surge in consumer goods containing nanoparticles. And just how big is the market for nano-manufactured goods?

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Macro Concerns in a Nano World

Macro Concerns in a Nano World

At 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, you can't see nanoparticles, but you can find them in everyday products like sunscreen and clothing. But environmental and health concerns are mounting about exposure to nanomaterials, sparking a growing debate about their possible regulation.

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Obesity and the modern man

Obesity and the modern man

Given today's environment, it is surprising that there are still thin people around. The origins of this epidemic are pretty easy to spot—lots of food and less opportunity for exercise. And yet, not everyone in the U.S. is overweight. So why is one person fat and the next thin?

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Producer's Notes: How Edison Got His Groove Back

Producer's Notes: How Edison Got His Groove Back

I love the idea that he was just listening to the radio one day and heard that the Library of Congress was failing in its struggle to preserve a significant portion of our nation's music and sound heritage. Haber basically thought, "well, as a designer of instrumentation for particle physics, I think I can help." And that's what he did.

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How Edison Got His Groove Back

How Edison Got His Groove Back

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are pioneering a new way to recover 100-year-old recordings. Found on fragile wax cylinders and early lacquer records, the sounds reveal a rich acoustic heritage, including languages long lost.

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Nobel Winner Used Stars to Map History of the Universe

Nobel Winner Used Stars to Map History of the Universe

Sitting in a small, non-descript room in the basement of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, astronomy graduate student Hannah Swift and physicist Saul Perlmutter are searching for supernovae, stars destroyed in huge explosions millions or billions of years ago.

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Why no Y? Gender-bending Transcaucasian mole voles

Why no Y? Gender-bending Transcaucasian mole voles

I've always been fascinated by weird animals. Especially those with out-of-the-ordinary genetics. Transcaucasian mole vole. Image Courtesy of Heike HimmelreichOne of my favorites is a little burrowing mammal called a Transcaucasian mole vole. These guys live in the Caucasus Mountains of Armenia, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. There they are born, live, have babies and die. […]

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Plastic not Fantastic

Plastic not Fantastic

Humans produce 500 billion plastic bags annually. In China, they recently banned it. Australia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, South Africa,Taiwan, Mumbai and India have either banned it or discouraged its use by raising taxes. And on March 27, 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the USA to ban it from large grocery stores. More […]

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A Village Takes on Global Warming

A Village Takes on Global Warming

Each big storm with a high tide and an onshore wind takes a big bite out of Sarichef.Photo By Shishmaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition In an email this week from John Woodward, an Alaska builder and Home Energy author, he wrote, "I put together a working/management group to manage the relocation of the community of […]

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Young Einsteins found in Oakland

Young Einsteins found in Oakland

School groups tour the Oakland Schools Science Fair projects at Chabot. Ben Burress, Chabot Space & Science CenterIt's the time of year again that I get a chance to peruse what our scientific-minded youth are thinking on questions of the physical world and universe around us: Oakland Unified School District Science Fair! The science projects […]

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Ugo Conti's Spider Boat

Ugo Conti's Spider Boat

Bay Area engineer Ugo Conti has sailed the world, but has always suffered from seasickness. A queasy stomach became his motivation to design "Proteus" — a spider-like sea craft made for smoother sailing. And it may change the way people take to the high seas.

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Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility

Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility

It's the largest laser beam in the world and it's being built in the Bay Area. The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will shoot tremendous bursts of energy at an area the size of a pencil eraser. The goal? To create fusion ignition, a potential clean energy source for the 21st century.

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Producer's Notes - Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility

Producer's Notes - Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility

Inside the National Ignition Facility. Lawrence Livermore National Lab is building the world's largest laser. Actually, the National Ignition Facility won't have only one laser beam. It will use 192 world-class lasers, all firing simultaneously. In a few billionths of a second about 500 trillion watts, which is nearly 1000 times the power generated in […]

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Urban Heat Islands

Urban Heat Islands

Buildings, concrete, asphalt, tar roof tops and industry have caused cities to reach higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. Now, green-minded architects are taking cooler approaches to their designs.

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QUEST Lab: Aerogel

QUEST Lab: Aerogel

It looks like frozen smoke. And it's the lightest solid material on the planet. Aerogel insulates space suits, makes tennis rackets stronger and could be used one day to clean up oil spills.

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Living in the Sun's Atmosphere

Living in the Sun's Atmosphere

Illustration of a blast of solar wind impacting Earth's protective magnetic field. Credit: NASABreathe in, exhale. Feel the air in your mouth, windpipe, and lungs. That's a sample of Earth's atmosphere: the thin layer of gases enveloping our planet. Did you know that the Sun also has an atmosphere, and that the Earth is inside […]

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Equinox Season

Equinox Season

It's approaching that time of year again: Spring Equinox. The blaze in my home's interior hallway has been signaling this for the last week. The shadow of Chabot's "solar clock" at noon on the equinox produces a pattern of solid green straddling the gnomonI noticed late in the afternoon a couple days ago that the […]

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Nap time for the Sun: solar cycles

Nap time for the Sun: solar cycles

Extreme close-up of the Sun's visible surface, showing 'bubbling' cells of convecting gas–each the size of Northern California. credit: Hinode JAXA/NASA/PPARCBy all accounts, a new cycle-Cycle 24-in solar activity has begun… something you probably didn't notice since the beginning of a solar cycle is quite subtle…. First things first: what is a solar cycle, and […]

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Your Photos on QUEST TV – Call for Submissions

Your Photos on QUEST TV – Call for Submissions

View our original YPOQ pilot featuring photographer Russ MorrisDo you love photographing Science, Environment and Nature in Northern California? Would you like to collaborate on a 2-minute QUEST TV short about your photography for an audience of over 100,000 viewers? We're launching a call for submissions for our new series of TV shorts, "YPOQ: Your […]

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Where in the web?

Where in the web?

Saturn's moon Epimetheus from the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA and APOD. On the bus in Denali National Park a few years ago, I found myself sitting next a couple from the East Bay. If you’ve ever been on the Denali bus, you know that it’s a long ride and […]

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