We know that most people don’t appreciate being woken up in the morning, but we might have finally found the exception to that norm. About a week ago, on Oct. 9, David Jeffrey Wineland was woken up by his wife to the tune of a cool $600,000.

10-18 Our Growing Nobel FamilyOh, and the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics just happened to come along as a nice byproduct.

Though it’s been in place for more than 100 years, most of us remember the Nobel Prize for its questionable decisions – see Barack Obama, 2009 – but we now have another reason to remember it. Wineland was a Berkeley undergraduate in the 1960s and went on to study at Harvard and the University of Washington. But focusing on the important school out of the three, let’s reiterate — he got his bachelor’s degree at Cal!

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berkeley nobel

This morning, UC Berkeley physics professor Saul Perlmutter won the Nobel Prize in physics. What what, Berkeley represent!

He and his fellow teammates (Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess) apparently discovered that the universe is being blown apart by a sneaky little force known as “dark energy.” The most likely explanation for this bewildering behavior has something to do with Einstein’s equations that we here at the Clog are not quite sure we understand.

All we know is that this dark energy talk has some physicists murmuring about the possibility of multiple universes. read more »

It's probably cooler than this.You know that trite-and-true expression about fearing the unknown or whatever? Well, it doesn’t usually apply to roller coasters, since most people who are scared of them can pretty well pinpoint the fact that humans aren’t really designed to, like, fall out of the sky and stuff as being the reason why.

But if you’re still determined to LEARN MORE about “the physics of roller coasters and the physiology and psychology of thrill-seeking,” the Lawrence Hall of Science, as usual, has all the answers at Scream Machines, an interactive exhibition “for thrill seekers of all ages”! Sure, it’s on ’til January, but don’t roller coaster simulations and awesome views of the bay just scream summer? Yes, yes they literally do. (ArewerightLOL?!)

Anyway, student tickets are $9 and come with admission to the museum, which is a sight less than you’d pay to get into Disneyland or one of  its emotionally stunted bastard stepchild amusement parks like Six Flags. And you (probably) won’t have to deal with absurd lines or ugly tourists. Yay!

Image Source: Canadian Veggie under Creative Commons
Scream Machines [Lawrence Hall of Science]
Earlier: Oakland EatReal Festival This Weekend

Hold onto your Catbus, ‘cuz it’s about to get crazy!

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau signed proverbial nuptials with UC Berkeley’s Japanese counterpart, the University of Tokyo. Esteemed to be among the “top public universities in the world,” the two schools plan to exchange brain power primarily in the fields of physics, math, astronomy and cosmology.

UT is even going to build a satellite facility on our campus. Now that’s commitment.

Image Source: Jim Epler under Creative Commons
University of Tokyo, UC Berkeley to exchange scholars in cosmology, other areas [UC Berkeley News]

In case you’re unfamiliar with the TV sitcom series “The Big Bang Theory” (and we’re guessing you are) it’s about the relationship between two socially awkward physicists working at CalTech and their ditzy blonde neighbor. Basically, a sitcom version of Beauty and the Geek.

Apparently, our very own physics professor, George Smoot, wrote to the producers of the show and requested to be featured on an episode. Smoot won the Nobel Prize in read more »

In a time of economic crisis that seems to permeate every fiber of everyone’s being, Berkeley has managed to win a quantum of solace (you’ll see how cheesy that was in a second, here), in the form of an $11 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to build a Center for Integrated Precision and Quantum Measurement. This center is planned for the basement of the new Campbell Hall, which will eventually take the place of the old Campbell Hall … which is still standing. Hm.

Anyway, Berkeley’s proposal proverbially drop-kicked the competition, beating out about 100 other applicants for the big Science bucks. Michael Crommie, Berkeley physics professor and the project’s main dude, told the Daily Cal that “The facility at Berkeley is targeting research in a bunch of delicate quantum measurements in the realm of physics … ” Ooh, that’s tender, brah. He also stated that another goal of the project is “to create a low-noise, high-stability facility.” Because, lord knows those physicists can get some major ragers going when particles start a-flyin’. The Clog approves.

Image Source: cayusa under Creative Commons
Technology Institute Awards UC Berkeley $11 Million Grant [Daily Cal]