Nuclear chemistry

Solar beats nuclear at many potential settlement sites on Mars

May 10, 2022

Rendition of colony on Mars

An artist’s rendering of a crewed Martian biomanufactory powered by photovoltaics and capable of synthesizing food and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing biopolymers and recycling biological waste. (Artwork credit: Davian Ho, UC Berkeley)

The high efficiency, light weight and flexibility of the latest solar cell technology means photovoltaics could...

The first women chemists at Cal

February 5, 2018

Early Women Chemistry Scientists at Cal The College salutes the pioneer women chemistry faculty at Cal. Both as scientists, and as early faculty members at the University, they helped to pave the way for the next generations of women faculty and students.

Are heavy metals toxic? Scientists find surprising clues in yeast

June 7, 2021

Rare earth elements

Elements on the periodic table that make up the lanthanides, or rare-earth heavy elements.

Lanthanides are rare-earth heavy metals with useful magnetic properties and a knack for emitting light. Researchers had long assumed that lanthanides’ toxicity risk was low and therefore safe to implement in a number of high-tech breakthroughs we now take for...

From bomb to the moon: Harold Urey, alum and Nobel laureate of principles

October 14, 2019

Harold Urey

Harold Urey worked for the Manhattan Project. But by contrast, the Nobel-prize winning chemist distanced himself from nuclear weapons development after the war. His search for science beyond defense work prompted a shift into studying the origins of life and lunar geology. Now, this absorbing biography "The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey" by science historian Matthew Shindell, uses the researcher’s life to show how a conscientious chemist navigated the cold war.

Harold Urey was not a fan of the atomic bomb he helped develop

August 6, 2020

Harold Urey, 1940s

Urey at his desk, photograph, circa late 1940s (Northwest Indiana Times)

Missoula first noticed Harold Urey in May of 1915, when the University of Montana announced the winners of the annual C.A. Duniway Scholarship Books.
Urey, a 22-year-old freshman from Indiana by way of a mining camp in the Gallatin Mountains, received the biology award....

Do You Know the Way to Berkelium, Californium?

March 24, 2021

Berkelium, Californium

Scientists at Berkeley Lab’s predecessor, the UC Radiation Laboratory, discovered berkelium in 1949, and californium in 1950. Today, Berkeley Lab scientists are using state-of-the-art instruments at the Molecular Foundry to better understand how actinides like berkelium and californium could serve to accelerate...

Discoveries at the Edge of the Periodic Table: First Ever Measurements of Einsteinium

February 3, 2021

Members of the discovery team at Berkeley Lab

Berkeley Lab scientists Leticia Arnedo-Sanchez (from left), Katherine Shield, Korey Carter, and Jennifer Wacker had to take precautions against radioactivity as well as coronavirus to conduct experiments with the rare element, einsteinium. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

Since...

UC Berkeley grad takes a closer look at nuclear forensics chemistry

January 14, 2021

In 2017, radiochemistry graduate student Mark Straub left the comfortable academic environs of UC Berkeley and moved to the middle of New Mexico, where he spent his summer working full time at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the birthplace of the Manhattan Project. There, Mark teamed up with LANL scientists ...

Scientists recruit new atomic heavyweights in targeted fight against cancer

December 15, 2020

Katherine Shield (from left), Dahlia An, and Tyler Bailey at Berkeley Lab

Research authors Katherine Shield (from left), Dahlia An, and Tyler Bailey (lead author) are part of a research team that developed new methods for the large-scale production, purification, and use of the radioisotope cerium-134, which...