Alexis T. Bell: A Career in Catalysis and University Administration at UC Berkeley
Alexis T. Bell in UC Berkeley classroom, circa 1990.
Alexis T. Bell in UC Berkeley classroom, circa 1990.
New partnership between DOE national labs and universities builds on JCAP’s advances in artificial photosynthesis, renewable fuels
Scientists at JCAP create new materials by spraying combinations of elements onto thin plates. (Image courtesy of Caltech)
Workers load uranium slugs into the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge in 1943. Image: Ed Westcott/US Army/Manhattan Engineer District.
A big advance in carbon capture technology could provide an efficient and inexpensive way for natural gas power plants to remove carbon dioxide from their flue emissions, a necessary step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming and climate change. Developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and ExxonMobil, the new technique uses a highly porous material called a metal-organic framework, or MOF, modified with nitrogen-containing amine molecules to capture the CO2 and low temperature steam to flush out the CO2 for other uses or to sequester it underground.
From alum Walter Drisdell's lab at LBL: new research published in the journal ACS Catalysis exams experiments performed vis X-ray spectroscopy on working solar fuel generator prototypes to demonstrate that catalysts made from copper oxide are superior to purely metallic-origin catalysts when it comes to producing ethylene, a two-carbon gas with a huge range of industrial applications – even after there are no detectable oxygen atoms left in the catalyst.
Professor David Schaffer has been selected to serve as the next director of Berkeley’s California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3-Berkeley), effective July 1, 2020, following a campuswide search chaired by MCB Professor Jasper Rine. Schaffer is succeeding Susan Marqusee, who stepped down June 30, at the end of two highly successful terms in the position.
A new program called BeArS@home will customize interactive lab experiments that have historically been available only in the classroom for online learning by College of Chemistry undergraduate students this fall. When the COVID-19 pandemic kept students away from campus this spring, Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry had to scramble to keep the laboratory sections working. Now they are getting serious and building the real thing.
Jingguang Chen, President of the North American Catalysis Society, has announced that Enrique Iglesia, Theodore Vermeulen Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley has been named the recipient of the 2021 NACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis.
Teresa Head-Gordon, Chancellor's Professor of Chemistry, Bioengineering, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, joins three colleagues from Berkeley Engineering who have received funding from the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute for COVID-19 projects.
The College of Chemistry is pleased announce that Professor Jeffrey Long has received a 2020 award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Society annualy recognizes leaders in various fields of chemistry around the world. This year, the Society acknowledged over 80 individuals and teams for their exceptional achievements in advancing the chemical sciences through their work in everything from education and research, to innovation, policy and volunteering.
Dr. Lloyd Noel Ferguson (B.S., '40; Ph.D. '43, Chem) was a brilliant chemist, a dedicated teacher and mentor, and an ardent supporter of young black people who were entering the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. Dr. Ferguson had to regularly fight racisim as he naviagted his way through his education and career. Dr. Ferguson was the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, only three years after earning his undergraduate degree.
While rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere cause great concern worldwide, most of us pay little attention to risks posed by CO2 changes indoors. Roya Maboudian, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, studies the properties of nano-materials, including how their surfaces affect their performance. As a 2019-2020 Bakar Fellow, she is developing small, inexpensive and sensitive CO2 sensors. She described her research and its potential.
On June 10, 2020, under the banners of #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM, scientists around the world call for non-Black scientists to step back from their usual work to educate themselves and develop concrete actions to promote change. “Wednesday June 10, 2020 will mark the day that we transition into a lifelong commitment of actions to eradicate anti-Black racism in academia and STEM,” the organizers say. “Your plan should include an actionable goal, steps you will take to reach your goal, and metrics/indicators you will look for to know whether you are successfully moving towards your goal.”
Markita Landry and UC Berkeley recently filed patents on a new nanotube technology to delete genes in crop plants without the risk of inserting new genes. Editing the genome of crop plants can boost such traits as disease resistance or drought tolerance. Since the new process adds no genes to the plant genome in the editing process, it conforms to non-GMO requirements in the U.S. and several other countries outside Europe.
The Molecular Sciences Software Institute has launched an open-source website that will allow biomolecular scientists from around the world to share computer-aided drug-testing simulations targeting the protein at the center of COVID-19. Under the leadership of Teresa Head-Gordon, the MolSSI team started work on the COVID-19 website about a month ago, after scores of scientists began discussing ways to share simulation modeling data they had on the coronavirus.
Our energy and water systems are inextricably linked. Climate change necessitates that we transition to carbon-free energy and also that we conserve water resources as they become simultaneously more in demand and less available. New research shows that CCS could stress water resources in about 43% of the world’s power plants where water scarcity is already a problem. Further, the technology deployed in these water-scarce regions matters, and emerging CCS technologies could greatly mitigate the demand CCS places on water consumption.
Each year, a number of graduate students from the College work as instructors in undergraduate courses to gain experience for future careers in academia. The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award honors a unique group for their outstanding work in the teaching of undergraduates. The recipients are nominated from within their teaching departments. The UC Berkeley GSI Teaching & Resource Center provides the award recipients with certificates of distinction and normally would host a celebratory ceremony in the spring.
Spectroscopy announced this week that Markita Landry, UC Berkeley Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been named the winner of the 2020 Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award. The award will be presented to Landry at the 2020 SciX 2020 conference in October in Sparks, Nevada, where she will give a plenary lecture and be honored in an award symposium.
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program is a prestigious grant awarded annually by the National Science Foundation to approximately 2,000 students pursuing research-based Master's and doctoral degrees in the natural, social, and engineering sciences at US institutions. This year, 17 graduate students and four undergraduate students from the College of Chemistry have received 2020 fellowships.
Fewer vehicles on the road and the slowing world economy has lead to blue skies over the world including the Bay Area, China, and Italy. Locally, every day since March 14, the EPA Air Quality Index has reported all nine Bay Area counties bathed in green on its color scale, for good quality air. It’s rare to have so many consecutive clean-air days. And last week, air-quality sensors that measure particulate matter showed the lowest average readings of any week so far in 2020 — down 21% in Oakland, 36% in San Jose and 41% in San Francisco from the week before.