National labs bring in seven R&D awards

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories have won a total of seven R&D 100 awards for 2014, recognizing the world's top 100 industrial inventions for last year.

The trade journal R&D Magazine announced four awards would be handed out to Livermore lab scientists for advances in thin-layer chromatography, a new spectrometer that measures X-rays 10 times more precisely than current technology, an optical technology combining many small laser beams into a single high-power beam, and a method of optical polishing for use in the National Ignition Facility.

This year's award winners, according to Livermore lab officials, could aid in identifying explosives and illegal drugs, make high-accuracy X-ray fingerprinting available to nonexpert users, upgrade fiber lasers for defense applications, and offer new techniques for polishing high-quality glass optics.

The Livermore lab has captured 152 R&D awards since 1978.

Lawrence Berkeley Lab scientists will take home three R&D awards, for developing faster ways to analyze the chemical composition of cells, new genetic tools to improve crops, and a bioinformatics platform for screening 3-D cell models.

The technologies could lead to advances in biofuels, food crops, drug screening and biomaterials, and to a better understanding of microbial communities, Berkeley lab officials said.


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The Berkeley lab has won 73 R&D 100 awards.

The winners will be honored Nov. 7 in Las Vegas.

Library meeting space reservations now online

Community meeting rooms at the Berkeley Public Library can now be reserved online. New reservations software known as "[spaces]" is intended to make the free reservations more convenient by allowing users to locate available meeting rooms and submit a request online. Users will then receive immediate email notification that the request was received followed by an email confirming or declining the request within a few days.

Meeting rooms are available free to reserve by Berkeley-based groups and organizations when they are not in use for library or city events at the Central, North Branch, South Branch and West Branch libraries. Availability is during operating hours The four community meeting rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, tables, chairs, a podium and a projector (presenters must bring their own laptops and cables).

Reservations must be made at a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks in advance.

For more details www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/library/meeting-rooms or call 510-9818-6195.

Artist holding book release and discussion

Painter Squeak Carnwath celebrates her new book "Horizon on Fire: Works on Paper 1979-2013" with a discussion and signing at 6 p.m. July 25 at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way.

Carnwath, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, will appear in conversation with Sonoma painter Chester Arnold. The new book from Kelly's Cove Press features 90 images of works over 35 years by the Oakland painter.

The book is published in connection with Carnwath's exhibition that opens Sept. 22 at the College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery. The show will travel to the Ulrich Museum of Art, University of Kansas; Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon; and Katzen Arts Center, American University.

Carnwath's awards include two individual Artist Fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Details: 510-548-0585

Berkeley Playhouse presents "Zombie Prom"

Third through seventh grade students in the Imagination Players educational program at Berkeley Playhouse make up the cast of the off-Broadway musical "Zombie Prom," opening July 22 at the Julia Morgan Theatre, 2640 College Ave.

The show, featuring 1950s rock and roll songs, "tells the story of high school sweethearts, and the chaos that results when radiation makes one of them a zombie."

Performances are at 3:30 and 7 p.m. July 22 through 25. For more details or tickets visit berkeleyplayhouse.org/zombie-prom/ or call the 510) 845-8542 x351

West Edge Opera offers its Summer Festival

West Edge Opera opens its 35th season with its new Summer Festival at 8 p.m. July 26, featuring an "immersive" production of Puccini's "La Bohème" in the atrium of the Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St. at the Ashby BART Station.

Performances continue at 8 p.m. Aug. 1 and 3 p.m. Aug. 10. All performances are preceded by a lecture beginning 45 minutes prior to curtain.

The festival continues with Philip Glass's "Hydrogen Jukebox" at 5 p.m. July 27, and 8 p.m. Aug. 2 and 8; and the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie's "The End of the Affair" at 3 p.m. Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 and 8 p.m. Aug. 9.

Subscriptions and single tickets are available at www.westedgeopera.org or 510-841-1903. All seating is general admission.

-- Jeremy Thomas and Chris Treadway

Town hall meetings set on library plan

The final town hall meetin to get input and ideas on the future course of the Berkeley Public Library and how it can better serve the community will be held 12:30 to 2 p.m. July 19 at the Claremont Branch, 2940 Benvenue Ave.

Input will be used in drafting the system's three-year strategic plan. Details: 510-981-6195 or www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.

Post office proclamation and celebration

As activists continue their efforts to prevent the sale of the historic downtown post office building, the City Council this week issued a National Postal Heritage Proclamation "honoring 239 years of public service from the U.S. Post Office and 100 years since the construction of our main downtown post office." A birthday gathering for the building was held on the front steps on Old City Hall before the July 8 council meeting.

Activists plan a second gathering celebrating the building and the establishment of the U.S. Postal Service from 1 to 2 p.m. July 26 on the steps of the main post office, 2000 Allston Way. The day has been declared National Postal Heritage Day and the public is invited for music, birthday cake and a group photo. Similar events are planned at other post office buildings around the United States.

New art exhibit opens at Central Library

A retrospective exhibit of paintings by Berkeley artist and author Pete Najarian opened this week at the Central Library, 2090 Kittredge Ave., and runs through Aug. 3. The public can meet Najarian and discuss his work at a reception at 2 p.m. July 13 in the first floor Catalog Lobby of the Central Library.

Najarian's works have been exhibited locally and internationally. He has also taught creative writing at the Scripps College for Women in Claremont and at UC Berkeley, and served as a Fulbright Lecturer in Armenia. For more details about the exhibit and reception call 510-981-6241 or visit www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.

-- Jeremy Thomas and Chris Treadway