East Bay Science Cafe: April 2014

EBSC coffee mug

Held the first Wednesday of every month in the Cafe Valparaiso on Solano Avenue in Albany from 7 to 9pm. 1403 Solano Ave., Albany, California 94706

The East Bay Science Cafe is an informal forum for discussing interesting and relevant scientific issues. The goal is to encourage public engagement with science by inviting members of the scientific community to present topics for a casual evening of conversation. Cafes may vary in length and format depending upon the speaker and the topic. Audience questions are encouraged both during and after!

For more information or suggestions contact Monica Albe.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Dr. Dula Parkinson presents “What I Saw with High-Def, 3D, X-Ray Vision”

Dula Parkinson, teaching students how to mount samples for scanning at the Hard X-ray Tomography Beamline of the Advanced Light Source. Photo courtesy of Dula Parkinson.

Have you ever wanted to look inside a battery, to see what’s going on in there on a microscopic scale that causes it to fail? Or inside the material on the wing of a jet, to see what’s happening when it is under stress? Or inside of a plant to see what happens to it in a drought.

The penetrating power of X-rays allows scientists to see inside of solid objects, and the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a unique source of very bright X-rays that allow researchers to look inside very small samples to collect magnified 3D images very quickly, essentially producing magnified, High-Definition 3D movies.

The Advanced Light Source houses about 40 different X-ray instruments (called “beamlines”) which operate around the clock, serving scientists who come from around the world to take advantage of these bright X-ray beams. Dula Parkinson, a Beamline Scientist, will talk about the Advanced Light Source, and about some of the 3D micro-scale imaging studies that have been completed on his beamline.

Image Left: A 3D image collected at the Hard X-ray Tomography Beamline. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, led by Hrishi Bale and Rob Ritchie, imaged advanced composite materials that are being designed for use on supersonic jets.

These materials were imaged at over 1600 degrees Celcius while under stress so that the material failure sould be characterized in 3D on the micrometer length scale.

These images allow a computer modes to be constructed that simulates the material behavior, which in turn allows the design of improved materials.

Photo courtesy of Dula Parkinson.

Dr. Dula Parkinson’s Bio:

Dula Parkinson finished his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at UC Berkeley in 2006. After a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF and LBNL, he started working at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2010 as a Beamline Scientist, working at the Hard X-ray Microtomography Beamline.

Website for my instrument: http://microct.lbl.gov/
Advanced Light Source site: http://www-als.lbl.gov/
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory http://www.lbl.gov/