Tag Archives: Berkeley Lab

Seven Big Ideas – Science at the Theater

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presents Seven Big Ideas – 8 new episodes from the popular Science at the Theater series.

The first episode, Seven Big Ideas, features seven Berkeley lab scientists who have eight minutes each to introduce their revolutionary projects to the audience.

Meet Blake Simmons, who has been working on a plan to replace a barrel of oil with plants and microbes. But not just one barrel of oil, he says, his idea is intended to replace all the barrels of oil that keep countries all over the world moving.

He explains that oil produces many products for our carbon economy, such as gasoline, diesel, polymers and more. In order to undo our reliance on oil we have to find substitutes for all of these different products that the oil produces.

Watch “Seven Big Ideas” to hear about his plan to make replacing oil affordable and sustainable, as well as other game changing ideas from Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, Bill Jagust, and more!

See what other episodes are in the Science at the Theater series!

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An Astrophysicist’s Take on the End of the Mayan Calendar

The end of the world is nigh. At least, that’s what some people think will happen when the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. But Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist George Smoot has an entirely different take, one that honors the remarkable precision of the ancient Mayan astronomers and keeps our planet far from imminent disaster.

In “Mayan Cosmology Ends: Precision Cosmology Progresses,” a public talk delivered in front of the Great Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza, the Berkeley Lab scientist discusses what the Mayans achieved solely with the naked eye and comments on the significance of the approaching end of the current World Age of the 5,000-year-long Mayan Long-Count Calendar.

No, the end of the world is not at hand, Smoot says, but it’s true that we’re undergoing a fantastic transition in cosmology. The Mayan view of the universe was based on the sun and moon, a handful of planets, and a couple of thousand stars. Ours is an evolving cosmos reaching back over 13 billion years, based on a cornucopia of data accumulating almost daily and including hundreds of billions of galaxies.

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