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Berkeley Science Review - Spring 2010

Berkeley Science Review - Spring 2010

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Published by: The Berkeley Science Review on May 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Spring 2010 Issue 18
Molecular movies • An epic explosion • Art and the brain • Discovering planets
• The Compass Project 
For over half a century, the Institute for Defense Analyses has beensuccessfully pursuing its mission to bring analytic objectivity and under-standing to complex issues of national security. IDA is a not-for-profit corpo-ration that provides scientific, technical and analytical studies to the Officeof the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the UnifiedCommands and Defense Agencies as well as to the President’s Office ofScience and Technology Policy.To the right individual, IDA offers the opportunity to have a major impact onkey national programs while working on fascinating technical issues.Along with competitive salaries, IDA provides excellent benefits includingcomprehensive health insurance, paid holidays, 3 week vacations andmore – all in a professional and technically vibrant environment.Applicants will be subject to a security investigation and must meeteligibility requirements for access to classified information. U.S. citizenshipis required. IDA is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.Please visit our website www.ida.org for more information on our opportunities.
Please submit applications to: http://www.ida.org/careers.php
Institute for Defense Analyses 4850 Mark Center Drive Alexandria, VA 22311
IDA is seeking highly qualified individuals with PhD or MS degrees
Sciences & Math
Pure & AppliedMathematics
Computational Science
Computer Science
Information Technology
Operations Research
Technology Policy
broaden your perspective
 your career 
 your future
 your nation
Hania Köver
Managing Editor
Rachel Bernstein
 Art Director
Marek Jakubowski
Copy Editor
Greg Alushin
Rachel BernsteinMary Grace LinAdrienne McKeeFrankie MyersRobin PadillaShirali Pandya
Layout Editors
Nicole BennettAzeen GhorayshiAsako MiyakawaOrapim TulyathanTerry Yen
 Web Editor
 Jesse Dill
Sundance Press
 Welcome to the rst issue o a new decade. While we can’t oresee what the next ten years will bring,one thing is certain: UC Berkeley scientists are setting out with ambitious projects and high hopes orthe uture. In the physics department, particle theorists are on a quest or a “Theory o Everything:”one that reconciles the currently conficting theories o gravity and quantum mechanics and reducesall o physics to one single, elegant idea— Phuongmai Truong takes you through it on page 32. Mean-while, researchers in the astronomy department are trying to answer the age-old question “Are wealone?” by searching or Earth-like planets as part o NASA’s Kepler mission—Linda Strubbe explainshow on page 14. Could there be lie on other planets? It might not take much: scientists at LawrenceBerkeley National Laboratory have discovered an organism that can survive all by itsel without light,oxygen, or most nutrients (p. 13). And speaking o weird creatures and unamiliar lie orms, MichelMaharbiz and his colleagues in the electrical engineering department are developing remote controlled“cyborg beetles” as part o a DARPA-unded project—Sisi Chen surveys military involvement in insectresearch on page 35. While some UC Berkeley scientists are pursuing ambitious uturistic ideas, others are delving deepinto the past, yielding surprising new insights about our origins. In a project that has taken almost20 years to reach completion, researchers have unearthed Ardi, our 4.4 million-year-old ancestor andthe oldest hominid skeleton ever discovered. Among other things, Ardi calls into question the widelyaccepted idea that we evolved rom chimpanzees—Rachel Bernstein has the ull story on page 18.Further insights into evolution come rom research in the integrative biology department—on page 12Robert Gibboni explains how scientists can use fy genetics to learn about the mechanisms o evolutionat the molecular level.Besides designing the uture and dissecting the past, UC Berkeley scientists are also spending theirtime making the present a better place. Reporting rom the eld on page 28, Richard Novak describeshow a group o UC graduate students and San Francisco–based engineers traveled to the Amazon toteach kids about science. On a more local level, three physics graduate students have ounded a pro-gram to help underrepresented students in the physical science navigate academic lie—read about iton page 9. And in the bioengineering department, scientists are using their knowledge o biomaterialsto develop new avenues or stem cell therapy (p. 24).Putting together this issue o the
has been incredibly un and rewarding. The magazine would notbe possible without the dedication and enthusiasm o the student volunteers who write, edit, design,and illustrate its articles, and I’m very grateul to have worked with such a talented set o individuals.I would like to especially thank Rachel Bernstein or her continued support and Marek Jakubowski,together with his layout team, or making it all come together so beautiully.Enjoy the issue,Hania Köver
© 2010 Berkeley Science Review.
No part o this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any orm without the expresspermission o the publishers. Financial assistance or the 2009-2010 academic year was generously provided by the Ofce o the Vice Chancellor oResearch, the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly (GA), the Associated Students o the University o Caliornia (ASUC), and the Eran Karmon MemorialFund.
Berkeley Science Review 
is not an ofcial publication o the University o Caliornia, Berkeley, the ASUC, or the GA. The views expressedherein are the views o the writers and not necessarily the views o the aorementioned organizations. All events sponsored by the
are wheelchairaccessible.
For more information
Letters to the editor
story proposals
are encouraged and should beemailed to
or posted to the Berkeley Science Review, 10 Eshleman Hall #4500, Berkeley, CA 94720.
or visit
UC Berkeley researchers unearth the oldest hominid skeleton to date, shedding new light on humanity’s evolutionary past. Front and back coverdrawing by Colleen Kirkhart or
; design by Marek Jakubowski.

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