Friday, October 28, 2011

Phonons in a stellar crust

The crust of a neutron star is extremely dense. Penn State Illustration

Vincenzo Cirigliano and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory present a theoretical description of phonon interactions in the exotic phases of matter found in neutron stars, which play a role in the stars’ physical properties. (Full Story)

Scientists claim global warming made NM's fires worse

Scientists think global warming isonly going to make the situation worse, and drought will still be a fact oflife in the Southwest. "We expect we're still gonna get drought," said Dr. Todd Ringler, a climate modeling expert at Los Alamos National Laboratory." (Full Story)

Cartographers of the infectious world

Antigenic map of influenza viruses: each virus strain appears as a small coloured blob, each antiserum as an unfilled blob. Cambridge University image.

One analysis that is transforming how scientists track changes in the virus is antigenic cartography. Developed by Professor Smith with Dr Alan Lapedes (Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico) and Professor Ron Fouchier (Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam), and first published in Science in 2004, the technique is useful not only for tracking the past evolution of the virus but also holds promise for predicting what comes next. (Full Story)

Magnetic algae make biofuels sticky

he trick involved transferring to algae a gene from soil bacteria that align themselves with Earth's magnetic field, explained Pulak Nath at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory. (
Full Story)

A tool to touch the sun

Solar Probe Plus shown with solar array panels in stowed position. NASA image.

The project, Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP), is backed by a consortium of institutions, including the CfA, NASA, the University of California, Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama Huntsville, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Lab officials speak out on CMRR

NNSA LASO head Kevin Smith (left) and LANL Director Charlie McMillan answer questions during a community leaders breakfast at the lab Tuesday. Monitor photo.

The Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility was a hot topic of conversation Tuesday morning as the Los Alamos National Laboratory hosted a community leaders breakfast.

Then McMillan answered his own question when he said, “what do we need (the CMRR) for? “We need it for research,” McMillan said. “Plutonium has been around for 60 years and it is a very complicated material. We need a place where we can do more research on it. (Full Story)

Also from the Moni
tor this week:

Technology returns home to LA

Project Director Steve Huebner with the heat pipes powering the Justice Center’s new solar thermal domestic hot water system. Monitor photo.

In 1963, local resident George Erickson made the first working model of a heat pipe at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), based on a concept by George Grover.

That technology has traveled to the outer limits – providing thermal control for spaceships and satellites orbiting thousands of miles above the earth – and has now returned home to provide solar thermal domestic hot water (DHW) to the Justice Center and animal shelter. (Full Story)

More from the Monitor:

Bandelier says thanks

Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott presents framed artwork of the park to Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan and NNSA Los Alamos Site Office head Kevin Smith during a community leaders breakfast this morning. (Full Story)

Weird science — and other scary Halloween opportunities

Elizabeth Martineau, of the Bradbury Science Museum, frightens Mark Christy, 4, and his mother, Miriam, with a wolf skull as the museum prepares for High-Tech Halloween. New Mexican photo.

Instead of giving out candy, the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos is giving out science for Halloween. Included on the menu are chattering skulls (when people manipulate the skulls, that is) of both man and beast, a gyro bicycle that twirls you round and round like a mad scientist's experiment and a lightning tube that responds to touch. (Full Story)

Photo of the day: Nuclear explosion simulation

Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic
This Month in Photo of the Day: Photos From New National Geographic Books

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory study nuclear explosions by using 3-D simulations. They follow a long tradition of nuclear research that led to the creation of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. From the National Geographic book Visions of Earth. (See the photo here)

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Genetically modified algae are magnetic, for ease of manipulation

Proving that there’s always a different way to approach a problem, researchers at Los Alamos National Lab have devised a pretty clever method of algae harvesting that could take a major chunk out of the cost of algae-based biofuel production. And all they had to do was create a magnetic organism.

Scientists at LANL have genetically engineered a new kind of algae that is magnetic, which could lead to new and simple ways of both extracting genetically engineered biofuel-producing algae from water and extracting the lipids that contain the hydrocarbons from the algae (full story).

This story also appeared in PhysOrg.

NASA: One-third of gamma ray sources are complete mysteries

The Fermi Space Telescope has detected 1,873 gamma ray sources in space, and nearly 600 are complete mysteries, NASA wrote today on its website.

NASA's Fermi team has recently released the second catalog of gamma ray sources from its satellite's Large Area Telescope and have no idea where nearly one-third of gamma rays originated.

Fermi sees gamma rays coming from directions in the sky where there are no obvious objects likely to produce gamma rays," said David Thompson, Fermi deputy project scientist, of Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

[NASA: Another instrument onboard, the Fermi Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor, is monitoring gamma-ray bursts at lower energies. The GBM is a collaboration among scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (full story).]

Valuable heavy isotopes recycled to research labs as security facility is decommissioned

National nuclear security, energy and research agencies completed transfer of a rare nuclear material among research laboratories to stretch its use and secure it as a nuclear security research facility is decommissioned.

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Office of Nuclear Energy completed transfer of 40 grams of the special isotope curium-244 from Los Alamos National Laboratory to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory (full story).

LANL celebrates International Year of Chemistry

In order to bring attention to and celebrate the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to civilization, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution declaring 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry.

"Our goal, which is consonant with the

greater goal of the United Nations and

IUPAC, is to educate concerning the

discipline of chemistry and share some of

our excitement concerning the wonders of chemistry," said chemistry division leader Carol Burns (full story).

Gene sequenced by Harmon students

Students at J.C Harmon High School have determined the DNA sequence for the common sunflower. The gene was mixed with sequencing chemicals and sent to the Joint Genome Institute at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico where the sequencing reaction was run (full story).

Appro notches up another Los Alamos super deal

Supercomputer maker Appro International has lassoed itself another supercomputer win at the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Los Alamos has five other clusters that are part of its non-classified computing capacity, which is collectively called Turquoise and which have nearly 300 teraflops of aggregate computing capacity. This includes a baby version of the Opteron-Cell hybrid called "Roadrunner" which was built for Los Alamos by IBM (full story).

Homemade explosives school begins fourth year

In 2012 the Lab will begin its fourth year of offering the Homemade Explosives (HME) School to select members of the U.S. Military. A new video on the LANL YouTube channel shows how the course has expanded to include a mock Afghan village.

The school is sponsored by the Department of Defense Joint IED Defeat Organization and is taught by LANL personnel from the Weapons Experiments division and the Lab's Hazardous Devices Team (watch video).

ChemCam for Mars Science Laboratory rover, undergoing pre-flight testing

Los Alamos National Laboratory and partners developed a laser instrument, ChemCam, that will ride on the elevated mast of the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity.

The system will allow Curiosity to “zap” rocks from a distance, reading their chemical composition through spectroscopic analysis (watch video).

Officials cite no damage from 3.8 magnitude earthquake

"We hear experimental explosions from the lab," Romero said of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. "We hear sonic booms and crashes on [N.M.] 503. But this was totally different."

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, the only noticeable effect was on the lab's seismologists, said spokesperson Nancy Ambrosiano (full story).

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Friday, October 14, 2011

LANL deploys Appro Xtreme-X™ supercomputer

Technicians work to install the last sections of Mustang. LANL photo.

his deployment represents approximately $10 Million in production computing capability. The Xtreme-X™ Supercomputer will be used to address LANL's HPC needs for unclassified scientific computing.

Named "Mustang" by the LANL Institutional Computing Program it will provide high performance computing resources to a variety of activities at Los Alamos including ocean, wildfire, plasma physics, materials and nuclear energy. The Climate, Ocean, and Sea Ice Modeling (COSIM) project, a part of the climate modeling program in the DOE's Office of Science, is a partner with Institutional Computing in this acquisition. (
Full Story)

An additional story also appeared in
HPC Wire

Multibillion-dollar nuke lab advances

Phase three of the CMRR project - the Nuclear Facility – will be built next door to the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Buliding, or RLUOB shown here. LANL photo.

roject a decade in making, decade from opening - Los Alamos National Laboratory is moving forward with plans to build a controversial $5.8 billion nuclear lab.

The National Nuclear Security Administration Thursday issued the formal orders needed to begin taking bids for final design and construction of the lab, called the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility. (
Full Story)

Sellers to become LANL deputy director

Elizabeth Sellers.

Elizabeth (Beth) Sellers has been named the new deputy director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and is scheduled to start December 5. Current Deputy Director Ike Richardson will be taking an overseas project leadership position with Bechtel. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Sayre joins LANL for plant research

Richard Sayre. LANL photo.

ichard S
ayre, one of the nation's top specialists in algae and energy-producing plant research, has joined the Bioscience Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory to help boost cutting-edge research in this area.

Cited by Nature magazine as “one of five crop researchers who could change the world,” Sayre brings a crew of postdoctoral researchers and a range of funding to LANL. (
Full Story)

More from the Monitor:

LANL raises breast cancer awareness

"As a breast cancer survivor, I know how a diagnosis of breast cancer can impact not only the person receiving the diagnosis, but their family members, friends and coworkers," said Wynona Holton of LANL's System Integration Group. (Full Story)

ASM International names 26 new Fellows

Robert D. Field. LANL photo.

obert D. Field, Los Alamos, N.M.: Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. For applied research of superalloys, intermetallic compounds, and beryllium alloys, dislocation and deformation analysis, and characterization of deformation mechanisms. (
Full Story)

Nuclear weapons pits converted into plutonium oxide

NSA's technologies are designed to disassemble nuclear weapons pits and convert the plutonium metal into plutonium oxide suitable for feed for the MOX facility, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory is expected to convert at least two metric tons of plutonium by 2018.

The goal of the plutonium oxide shipments from Los Alamos is that they will be blended with depleted uranium and turned into MOX fuel for use in domestic nuclear reactors. (
Full Story)

ApocalypsEV-1: The Electric Car for the End of the World

The ApocalypseEV-1. Image from Michael and Kenny Ham.

our neighborhood is in flames, the roads destroyed and there are least a dozen hungry zombies gnawing their way through your back door. You need a getaway car, and Michael and Kenny Ham might have just the machine for you.

"We came up with the concept for the ApocalypsEV-1 around the time Harold Camping was predicting the rapture," Michael Ham says. Ham is a physicist in computer vision research at New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. (
Full Story)

Raman reveals danger inside plastic bottles

aman spectroscopy can give detailed information about chemicals behind a barrier, says Freek Ariese of VU University, in Amsterdam.

David Moore of Los Alamos National Laboratory thinks the use of Raman spectroscopy is an "interesting experiment" but questions its applicability in the real world. The method won't work, he says, if the explosives are hidden in metal or cardboard. (
Full Story)

LANL completes razing of building

Demolition activities ended in early summer. LANL photo.

fter we removed all regulated, hazardous materials such as asbestos, our team was able to recycle about 95 percent of the building," Darrik Stafford, LANL's project director for the demolition, said in a news release. (
Full Story)

The birth of America’s best cheeseburger

J. Robert Oppenheimer and Army General Leslie Groves visit ground zero following the Trinity test. Chances are they probably stopped at the Owl Cafe in San Antonio NM for green chile cheesburgers on the way back to Los Alamos. LANL photo.

Let me tell you a story about the history of America. About drunken physicists, the atom bomb and the greatest cheeseburger in the world.

At 5:30 a.m., July the 16th, 1945, the United States detonated the world’s first implosion-design plutonium bomb. (
Full Story)

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