Tapping the West’s water

9/12/2011 - Two years ago David Sedlak, UC Berkeley professor of civil and environmental engineering, was invited to speak at the Nobel Conference in Minnesota about his area of expertise: urban water systems. Seeing an opportunity to tell the story of the water delivery networks that are falling apart under our feet, Sedlak did more than deliver a talk describing the problem. He came up with an idea to help solve it.

Berkeley civil engineering professors receive award to study Gulf oil spill

8/30/2011 - UC Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professors Evan Variano and Allen Goldstein are part of a research consortium funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to study effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Their project title is "Gulf of Mexico Integrated Spill Response Consortium." A total of $112.5 million over three years will support this portion of the GRI research effort.

Tough act to follow

8/18/2011 - MIT rejected him. CalTech rejected him. So did Duke and UCLA. But Berkeley saw potential in the teenager from a small Catholic high school in Modesto, and from the time he arrived on campus, Matthew Zahr didn’t disappoint. The civil and environmental engineering student graduated this spring with a 3.988, earning his major’s top undergraduate award, the department citation, and was nominated, along with four others, for Berkeley’s highest undergraduate honor, the University Medal.

Eco-driving: Ready for prime time?

6/16/2011 Institute of Transportation Studies - The time may finally be right to sell Americans on eco-driving, according to a group of transportation experts from four University of California campuses as well as representatives from industry and government who attended an all-day conference on May 18. Sometimes called green driving, eco-driving refers to techniques drivers can use to maximize their mileage while saving fuel and minimizing tailpipe emissions.

Environmental engineering professor Kara Nelson receives grant for sanitation research

5/2/2011 The Daily Californian - UC Berkeley professor of environmental engineering Kara Nelson has been awarded a five-year $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her unconventional research in sanitation and human waste management. Nelson said she will use the grant money to treat human waste at the point where it is being produced, in an effort to eliminate the amount of contact humans have with fecal pathogens.

PEER presents briefing on Japan earthquake and tsunami

4/27/2011 Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center - The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center will give a public briefing presenting the preliminary results of a U.S. research team's reconnaissance trip to Japan to survey damage from the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami of March 11, 2011. The briefing, to be held on April 28, is jointly organized by the PEER, GEER, and EERI's Learning from Earthquakes Program.

Radioactive particles arriving in the Bay Area, but pose no risk, say UC scientists and health officials

3/18/2011 San Jose Mercury News - While public health officials downplayed fears that a plume from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors was descending on California, scientists at UC Berkeley declared they were already detecting radioactive particles from 5,000 miles across the ocean. The differing accounts illustrated the confusion on the fallout from Japan's crisis, but scientists and public health experts agreed that whatever radiation may drift to California and the West Coast will be too minuscule to pose any health risks. "We see evidence of fission particles -- iodine, cesium, barium and krypton, a whole dog's breakfast of radiation," said Ed Morse, professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley, whose students have set up a monitor on the rooftop of the campus's Etcheverry Building.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill response should be focused, Berkeley engineering professor says

3/16/2011 NOLA - The latest detailed analysis of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico offers no new theories on what caused the deepwater-well blowout in April, but it does bring a fresh take on how the oil industry and government can make drilling safer. Bob Bea, the UC Berkeley engineering professor who achieved renown for his independent analysis of the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina, says top oil companies need to put their heads together to develop best practices and equipment for drilling in the most dangerous conditions.

How to measure an oil spill

2/2/2011 - When oil was flowing from BP’s broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico last spring, the company estimated the flow rate at about 1,000 barrels a day. But news outlets wanted an independent estimate. Could Ömer Sava?, an expert in fluid mechanics and turbulent flows, help? Soon Sava? became involved in a national effort to establish the “official” flow rate, a number that would dictate not only the level of resources assigned to the cleanup but also its legal ramifications once the emergency had passed.

Energizing the energy agenda

12/14/2010 - While climate change and carbon emissions are very much in today’s headlines, what is less often discussed is the need to provide technological societies with the economic imperative to make changes in our global energy system.