07/12/10 California Magazine — In 1985, Jack Moehle, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Berkeley, traveled to Chile to sort through the rubble left in the wake of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the coast. He was one of a number of Californian and Chilean engineers who collaborated to study the structural damage. As a result of their research, both the United States and Chile modified their building codes to nearly identical standards. This year, Moehle and a Berkeley reconnaissance team returned to Chile in the aftermath of the 8.8 magnitude shaker on February 27. Because of the similarity in building codes, the sort of damage Moehle has found could predict how California would fare in a major quake.
06/17/10 BusinessWire — Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, introduces solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes. This simple, sustainable, robust device can potentially provide an immediate inexpensive solution to electricity needs in parts of the world lacking electrical infrastructure. A group of scientists, including Prof. Boris Rubinsky at UC Berkeley, study the electrolytic process in living matter for use in various applications, including the generation of electric energy for self-powered implanted medical electronic devices
06/15/10 Bloomberg — Two cutting-edge medical technologies, stem cell transplantation and gene therapy, were combined in an attack on the AIDS virus that may lead to new strategies for treating people infected with HIV. "If you could develop a therapy to make HIV-proof blood cells, then you could create a true cure for HIV. This is a very promising clinical trial that takes us in that direction," said David Schaffer, a professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley, who co-directs the school's stem cell center and wrote a commentary accompanying the study.
06/06/10 San Francisco Chronicle — UC Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea, 73, a former Shell Oil executive, is a student of disaster. He has spent decades investigating catastrophic engineering failures, from the New Orleans levee breaches in Hurricane Katrina to the space shuttle Columbia's fiery end. Now he has assembled a team of researchers to delve into the April 20 explosions that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
05/05/10 — Whenever you see a headline about a new threat to our health, safety or well-being, rest assured that a Berkeley engineer is thinking of ways to mitigate that threat in the future. Civil engineer Robert Bea, for example, has spent 55 years thinking about offshore oil drilling platforms and how to make them more reliable. So, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and began gushing 5,000 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico, Bea was one of the first experts contacted and interviewed by the press.
05/05/10 — About every 10 days, falling rock shatters the tranquility of Yosemite National Park. "It's a dynamic place," says park geologist Greg Stock. "Rockfall is the most powerful geologic force acting on the park today. The goal is to eventually predict rockfalls and better constrain the hazard." Enter Valerie Zimmer, a Berkeley geoengineering Ph.D. student who launched her doctoral work studying rockfall in mines using tiny acoustic sensors to document the rock mechanics and geophysical forces underground.
04/29/10 Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration) — With an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 barrels of oil spilling each day into the Gulf of Mexico after a drilling rig exploded and caught fire on April 20, the Chronicle spoke on Thursday with Robert Bea, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, to gain an understanding of the situation, its challenges, and the role university researchers could play in preventing and responding to such accidents. Mr. Bea has more than 55 years of engineering experience with offshore platforms.
04/19/10 The Daily Californian — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week appointed a UC Berkeley professor to serve as a new type of adviser on clean energy issues for countries in the Western Hemisphere. Daniel Kammen, a professor in the campus's Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Department of Nuclear Engineering, will serve as one of three senior fellows for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas
04/07/10 — Clean and green technologies are on the rise in Silicon Valley. Electric car startups like Tesla Motors and solar cell and biofuel innovators are snapping up commercial space, while established companies like Applied Materials are growing their clean energy divisions. “Over the past six years, clean tech's portion of venture [capital] investments has grown from merely 3 percent to more than 25 percent,” reported the San Jose Mercury News in January. The newspaper went on to pronounce clean and green technologies the next great wave of innovation in Silicon Valley. It's no surprise to five Berkeley Engineering alumni who work in the up-and-coming sector.
03/03/10 — After 70 years in environmental engineering, Harvey Ludwig (B.S.'38, M.S.'42 CE) has learned a thing or two about the field. Ludwig ran his own environmental engineering consulting firm in the United States for 26 years before moving to Thailand to start a company that consulted on water and sanitation projects there and in other developing countries around Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It was an eye-opening experience, and ever since, Ludwig has freely shared his insights on how to translate Western technologies into best practices for emerging markets.
03/01/10 The Washington Post — The earthquake, centered 200 miles southwest of the capital, was one of at least a dozen in Chile since 1973 that were larger than magnitude 7. The quakes release stresses between two tectonic plates that are moving past each other at a rate roughly one-third faster than the plates that define the San Andreas fault in California, according to Jonathan Bray, a professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
02/27/10 Gwinnett Daily Online — Chile's preparedness and the extent of Saturday's earthquake explain why the loss of life and property was far less than the death and destruction Haiti's less powerful quake caused last month, experts say. "The Haiti earthquake was shallower, the high population area was closer to the fault that ruptured and, very importantly, the buildings and infrastructure in Chile are designed considering earthquake effects - whereas Haiti had no building codes,'' said Jonathan Bray, an earthquake engineering professor with the University of California, Berkeley.
01/07/10 Berkeley Lab — UC Berkeley ranks second in a survey of U.S. academic institutions best suited to take advantage of cleantech trends by fostering a pipeline of collaboration of businesses, universities, state initiatives, investors and research dollars.
11/13/09 — Next month, representatives from around the world will convene at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in hopes of providing the broad outline for a new agreement that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to sustainable levels. It is critical that, unlike Kyoto, the new agreement simultaneously provide for sustainable growth and energy utilization.
05/02/09 — From Monica Tanza, a mechanical engineering senior interested in sustainable design, to Cagla Meral, a civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. student working on greener cement, women are pursuing their ambitions at Berkeley Engineering.
03/02/09 — A large part of gasoline and diesel engine pollution consists of two components: soot and nitrogen oxides, or NOx. Soot is made up of tiny carbon particles that hang in the air and dirty it, but NOx, a mix of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, has a more complicated story. NOx feeds chemical pathways that are fueled by sunlight and produce the noxious brew we call smog. In general, reducing NOx tailpipe emissions reduces this pollution. But, as CEE professor Robert Harley has found, there is an exception to this rule, known as the ozone weekend effect, that can confound air quality management efforts unless it is understood.
03/02/09 — Brown grease - a nasty melange of leftover animal fat, pan scrapings and other gunky residue - is a sewer pipe's worst enemy. In San Francisco, a pilot project led by two Berkeley Engineering alumni is in the works to explore for the first time how wastewater treatment plants throughout California might turn the unappealing stuff into biodiesel fuel. "For the city, it's going to be a win-win situation," says Domenec Jolis (Ph.D.'92 CEE), a senior engineer at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the project's co-principal investigator.
11/02/08 — Up to 5 percent of the globe's climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions result from manufacturing the durable and immensely popular construction material known as Portland cement, says Cagla Meral, a 27-year-old doctoral student in the civil and environmental engineering department. Convinced that cement is far too useful and ubiquitous to ever be replaced, Meral is working to develop a greener form of it. Her research explores how carbon dioxide can be "sequestered" or locked back into blended cement while maintaining strength and other important properties of cement-based materials like concrete.
06/02/08 — In Bangladesh last year, Johanna Mathieu saw unmistakable signs of the poisoning afflicting the impoverished country. "Everyone would show us their hands," says the 26-year-old doctoral student in mechanical engineering. The painful and disfiguring sores, blisters and dark spots are telltale indicators of the deadly toll exacted by arsenic-laced water wells. Mathieu is working with an interdisciplinary group to develop a simple, inexpensive process for removing the toxic element from the water supply.
05/02/08 — There were plenty of clues around campus that April was Earth Month: tree plantings, conferences and summits, awarding of Sustainability Awards and granting of Green Initiative grants. But the maturity of UC Berkeley as a hub of sustainability awareness and action goes far deeper; Berkeley marks Earth Day every day, and its efforts are being felt on campus and far beyond.