For over 90 years, UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or Berkeley Lab, has been committed to researching various areas of science.
Berkeley Lab is known most for its discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table. The Lab has geared its research towards looking for solutions to imminent worldwide issues such as climate change and sustainable energy.
Berkeley Lab’s “Science in Motion” animated video series, dedicated to explaining important research at the lab, is looking to “inspire a young audience,” according to Lab digital content specialist Jenny Nuss.
Nuss discussed Berkeley Lab’s mission with the video series and what the lab hopes the project is able to accomplish.
“The intention of the series was to find an engaging way to explain why our research matters to a science-curious audience,” Nuss said in an email. “The series focuses on real approaches, technologies, and solutions that Berkeley Lab is using to solve complex challenges for science, people, and the planet.”
The first video in the series was posted Oct. 26, 2022 and featured Berkeley Lab’s research on nanomaterials and how they can be applied to make small, light-sensored microchips. The second video came out on March 9, 2023, discussing a technique called “enhanced weathering” that would lessen carbon emissions in the atmosphere and assist in the fight against climate change.
Nuss confirmed that Berkeley Lab has future videos in production, projected to release later this spring.
The purpose of the “Science in Motion” video series was to make the research performed at Berkeley Lab easier to understand and appealing to an audience that is curious about science, Nuss noted, but often not able to digest the complex information that the research has yielded.
“The series concept came from the desire to reach a science-curious audience that wouldn’t typically read a science paper or article,” Nuss said. “We landed on animation as a way to make the content more digestible and visually engaging while also connecting the audience to ongoing research and projects at the lab.”
With so many experts and so much important research being performed at Berkeley Lab, it can be hard to decide on individuals to feature in the video series. So, according to Nuss, the project focuses on showcasing the “team-science” needed to solve the many issues that Berkeley Lab tackles.
The project decides to hone in on topics that are close to Berkeley Lab’s research priorities: using science to find solutions to produce clean and sustainable energy and to create a healthier environment.
“The production is a close collaboration with our researchers — keeping a balance between accuracy and visual metaphor,” Nuss said. “We try to break things down to the simplest terms while providing visual metaphors and cues to help the viewer retain information.”