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.
In the early 1900's, researchers from UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology traveled around California and created detailed records of the wildlife they found. A century later, scientists are revisiting the same sites — they've found that global warming is already having an impact.
DNA magnified 850,000 times through a scanning electron microscope DNA day is coming up on Friday April 25th. This annual celebration of genetics and genomics was set up in 2003 to commemorate the sequencing of the human genome and the 50th anniversary of the solving of the structure of DNA.DNA day was thought of as […]
There is a lot we don't know about our DNA and how it works. While there seems to be news every week about genetics, scientists are still in the early stages of finding out what effect our genes have on us (check out this post from another QUEST blogger, Dr. Barry Starr). That's what the […]
Raise your hand if you live in a watershed! Are all of your hands up? We all live in a watershed, an area of land that all water (from rain, snow and springs) flows across, under and through on its way into a common body of water, such as a creek, river, bay or ocean. […]
Last night we completed our observations for the Supernova Legacy Survey. This was a five year program to study supernovae using a 4-meter telescope in Hawaii in combination with several of the largest optical telescopes in the world. The project was headed by a group at a university in Toronto and a group at a […]
A sample of switchgrass at Sandia National LaboratoriesIt doesn't need to be said that there's a heated debate about how to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions with actions that lessen our society's carbon footprint. Biofuels like ethanol or biodiesel are one option. They're touted as being carbon neutral because the CO2 they emit comes from crops […]
First things first: If you swim in the bay, no need to worry about sharks. None of the experts we spoke to could remember a single instance of someone getting bitten. And you can rest easy about Great Whites too; they don’t seem to have a taste for Bay waters. For more on this, see […]
For years there's been buzz — both positive and negative — about generating ethanol fuel from corn. But thanks to recent developments, the Bay Area is rapidly becoming a world center for the next generation of green fuel alternatives. Meet the scientists investigating the newest methods for converting what we grow into what makes us go.
Thought California has consigned coal-burning to the scrap bin? Think again! California has 11 coal-fired power plants, all used to heat limestone into cement — making us one of the biggest cement-producing states in the country. In addition to cement, these kilns produce 95% of the state's airborne mercury pollution and 2% of its greenhouse […]
A Baobab TreeIt is not only animals that can be become endangered but plants and trees as well. One of California Academy of Science's research areas has been Madagascar. Coined as an "Island of Evolution," Madagascar hosts a rich biodiversity of plant and animal life that is indigenous to the area and, unfortunately, highly threatened. […]
The Allen Telescope Array.When I first began to work on Quest's SETI: The Search for ET segment, I have to admit that my initial reaction was "are we still looking for ET?" Of course, humans have been gazing up to the heavens for millennia, asking ourselves that interminable question "are we alone?" And of course, […]
Scientist Alex Gash prepares the "frozen smoke." I've always loved cooking shows. There's something so satisfying about watching an expert gather, wash, peel, macerate, combine and assemble ingredients. And because of the magic of television, we get the whole enchilada neatly packaged within a half hour program. Everything's perfectly cooked, presented and served. And I […]
Web Extra: Part I of our complete November 2007 interview with astronomer Dr. Jill Tarter of SETI Institute on site at the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, CA.
Web Extra: Part II of our complete November 2007 interview with astronomer Dr. Jill Tarter of SETI Institute on site at the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, CA.