Friday, November 22, 2013

NASA sees 'watershed' cosmic blast in unique detail

NASA Animation.

On April 27, a blast of light from a dying star in a distant galaxy became the focus of astronomers around the world. The explosion, known as a gamma-ray burst and designated GRB 130427A, tops the charts as one of the brightest ever seen.

Telescopes operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Rapid Telescopes for Optical Response Project quickly turned to the spot, detecting a flash at magnitude 7 on the astronomical brightness scale. (Full Story)

Black hole birth captured: Biggest, brightest to happen in at least 20 years

Data from the gamma ray burst.

"Los Alamos' RAPTOR telescopes in New Mexico and Hawaii received a very bright cosmic birth announcement for a black hole on April 27," said astrophysicist Tom Vestrand.

"This was the burst of the century," said Los Alamos co-author James Wren. "It's the biggest, brightest one to happen in at least 20 years, and maybe even longer than that." (Full Story)

This story also appeared in Air & Cosmos

10 Inventions to change the world

#1 Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System — In the old TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” astronaut Steve Austin was given bionic body parts, he gets a an arm, two legs and a left eye with a zoom lens and night-vision.

The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System isn’t quite that advanced. But for the vision-impaired, the “bionic retina” is a huge leap forward. (Full Story)

Researchers investigate spread and evolution of HIV virus


Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are investigating the complex relationships between the spread of the HIV virus in a population and the actual, rapid evolution of the virus within each patient’s body.

“We have developed novel ways of estimating epidemics dynamics such as who infected whom, and the true population incidence of infection versus mere diagnoses dates,” said Thomas Leitner, principal investigator. (Full Story)

LANL reveals historic JFK artifacts

While the nation remembers the man whose presidency was cut short, we look back at  just a year before his death when he became the first president to visit the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Lab workers went through their archives to find special artifacts from that historic presidential visit, some things they were even seeing for the first time. Nearly 6,000 people gathered in Los Alamos when President John F. Kennedy visited Dec. 7, 1962. (Full Story)

JFK: The tragedy still resonates

JFK’s motorcade passes by the Los Alamos post office.  LANL image.

Kennedy made several visits to New Mexico during the campaign and his presidency, including a whirlwind tour on Dec. 7, 1962, of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia Laboratory.

In Los Alamos – where he was the first president to visit the laboratory where the atomic bomb was born – Kennedy got a classified briefing on Project Rover, a program to develop nuclear rocket engines for space travel, and met with lab officials and Rover scientists. (Full Story)

SC13: Elevation plays a role in memory error rates

The Cielo supercomputer had more errors than Jaguar, Probably due to the difference in elevation. LANL image.

With memory, as with real estate, location matters. A group of researchers from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory have found that the altitude at which SRAM (static random access memory) resides can influence how many random errors the memory produces. (Full Story)

From Tesla’s lab to Los Alamos: Powerful magnets come full circle

LANL celebrates the 100 Tesla record.  YouTube Video.

In March 2012, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory set a world record by achieving a 100.75 tesla magnetic pulse, about 2,000,000 times more powerful than the Earth’s magnetic field.

The Pulsed Field Facility at Los Alamos National Lab includes the capacitor banks, generators and technical systems necessary to support an array of powerful magnets. One of those is the 100 tesla multi-shot magnet, which produces the most powerful non-destructive magnetic field in the world. (Full Story)

LANL community leaders’ breakfast draws crowd

Alan Bishop, LANL Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering, told the group that 63.2 percent of LANL purchasing is done in New Mexico and 46.1 percent of that amount in spent in northern New Mexico.

This year, LANL will contribute $3 million to education, economic development and charity in New Mexico, Bishop said. (Full Story)

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Best of What’s New – Grand Award: MiniMax

The MiniMAX is the world’s smallest, most portable x-ray machine. Unlike its predecessors, which are a couple of feet wide and quite heavy, MiniMAX weighs five pounds.

It can be whisked to accidents, crime scenes, battlefields, airports, sidelines, and any other place that could benefit from on-the-spot x-ray vision. Inside, an x-ray source about the size of a can of soda generates a beam as powerful as stationary machines, and rather than rely on a bulky transformer, it draws power from a 9-volt battery. (Full story)

Innovation of the Year: Second Sight Argus II
 As part of the multi-­institutional Artificial Retina Project, Los Alamos researchers helped develop the first bionic eye, recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Argus II does something once thought impossible—it gives sight to the blind. The device is the first FDA-approved artificial retina. It consists of a miniature video camera mounted on a pair of glasses that sends footage to a microprocessor worn on a person’s belt. The processor converts the visual data to electronic signals, which are transmitted wirelessly to a 60-pixel electrode array implanted in the back of the eye. (Full story)

Here's an Albuquerque Business First story about the PopSci selections: Click

The 25 Best Inventions of the Year 2013

The FDA has approved the first device that can restore partial ­vision to those who have severe retinitis pigmentosa, which can lead to blindness. The Argus II consists of an implanted artificial retina and a pair of glasses attached to a video unit that enables the patient to see outlines of images and the contrast between light and dark. (Full Story)


IST professor aims to educate citizen scientists through beauty of auroras
 “Real-time Auroral Imaging on the ISS,” an idea conceived by Elizabeth McDonald of the New Mexico Consortium in collaboration with Tapia and Michelle Hall of Science Education Solutions, was recently named the grand prize winner in the crowdsourcing contest What Would You Send to the ISS? sponsored by the Center for Advancement of Science in Space.

MacDonald is a New Mexico Consortium affiliate research scientist and a Los Alamos National Laboratory staff scientist who studies space weather.
(Full story)

Partnering for Progress: New council aims to boost research, economic development
LANL Director Charlie McMillan (left) and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined leaders from the state’s research universities, national laboratories and military installations on Friday to help kick off an effort aimed at fostering scientific innovation and boosting economic opportunity in New Mexico. (Full story)

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Exotic interactions uncovered in actinide systems

The six orbital phase changes around the internuclear axis are unique to phi interactions. LANL image.

At its most basic level, bonding in actinide molecules is typically comprised of a small amount of covalent orbital mixing in the presence of overwhelming ionic attractions.            

“Until recently, few experimental techniques were available to provide quantitative information regarding the extent of covalent bonding for actinides in a range of oxidation  states and ligand field environments,” says Stosh Kozimor of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

World’s space agencies unite to save planet Earth

LANL asteroid video.

The plan aims to create an International Asteroid Warning Network so countries can share what they know about asteroids.

Research scientist Robert Weaver, from the laboratory, has been studying the effects of detonations on asteroids since 2012 and has simulated explosions using the Energy Department’s Cielo supercomputer. (Full Story)

New ideas, technologies from LANL could boost region’s economy

Richard Feynman's Manhattan Project badge photo.  LANL image. 

The Northern New Mexico annual economy will grow by $2 billion in the next decade if Los Alamos National Laboratory can realize an ambitious vision for converting its stream of new ideas and technologies into world-changing solutions.

“We’re going to be rebranding, remaking and repositioning the division of technology transfer as a whole new topic at Los Alamos,” said David Pesiri, who leads the tech transfer effort at the lab. (Full Story)

New strategy helps Santa Fe Innovation Park land project funding

The Santa Fe Innovation Park is heralding the early success of three projects that could transform Santa Fe. 

The Microgrid Systems Lab, which has about a dozen partners and supporters, started about 18 months ago to work on microgrid technology. The lab received $30,000 from Los Alamos National Security to develop its initial technology. (Full Story)

LANL Foundation offers $1,000 awards for NNM residents wanting to return to college

Northern New Mexicans wanting to return to college for a certificate or two-year program are eligible for $1,000 awards from the Regional College/Returning Student program of the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund.

Funding for the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund comes from contributions by LANL employees and a match from Los Alamos National Security, LLC. (Full Story)

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Friday, November 1, 2013

LANL team’s HIV vaccine shows promise in monkeys

A vaccine bioinformatically optimized for immunologic coverage of global HIV diversity, called a mosaic vaccine, may confer protection from infection.

It is designed by Bette Korber and her team at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Study: LANL vaccine cuts HIV by 90%

Bette Korber.  LANL Photo.

A vaccine developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory has led to a study that resulted in a 90 percent reduction in HIV infections in monkeys, offering researchers a promising new approach for preventing HIV/AIDS in people.

The vaccine, developed from computer models developed by a team led by Bette Korber, a laboratory fellow at LANL, was tested by researchers at Harvard University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

This story also appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Albuquerque Business First, Los Alamos Monitor, KSFR radio and many more news outlets and sources

Technologies to characterize natural gas emissions tested in field experiments

Aircraft overflight of the methane and meteorological sensing towers. LANL/JPL photo.

A new collaborative science program is pioneering the development of ultra-sensitive methane-sensing technology.

"Given the importance of methane to global climate change, this study is essential," said Manvendra Dubey of Los Alamos National Laboratory "This work aids both commercial and government sectors in an effort to better understand and mitigate fugitive methane emissions."

"A significant part of understanding Man's role in global climate change is the accurate measurement of the components that have a profound effect on climate," he said. (Full Story)

Also from PhysOrg this week

3-D Earth model more accurately pinpoints explosions

A one-dimensional velocity profile with depth plotted within a three-dimensional Earth.

LANL's role is the data accumulation from the ground-based nuclear detonation detection research database for ground-truth events (seismic events where we know the location to some specific uncertainty).

Los Alamos provides Sandia the data to use for the tomography model (approximately ten million ray paths from approximately 13,000 distinct seismic stations and approximately 122,000 distinct events), Sandia runs their tomography code to produce the 3-D velocity model and then LANL takes the final model and runs tests to validate how well the model performs. (Full Story)

This story also appeared in Albuquerque Business First

Los Alamos National Laboratory announces dramatic improvements in QD technology

Postdoctoral researcher Young-Shin Park characterizing emission spectra of LEDs.  LANL photo.

Dramatic advances in the field of quantum dot light emitting diodes (QD-LEDs) could come from recent work by the Nanotechnology and Advanced Spectroscopy team at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“QD-LEDs can potentially provide many advantages over standard lighting technologies, such as incandescent bulbs, especially in the areas of efficiency, operating lifetime and the color quality of the emitted light,” said Victor Klimov of Los Alamos. (Full Story)

Physics lectures set for 4 locations

Vincenzo Cirigliano. LANL photo.

The final Frontiers in Science lecture is scheduled with a focus on the question of why matter and antimatter particles didn’t all destroy each other, leaving an empty universe after the Big Bang.

Vincenzo Cirigliano from the Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology section of Los Alamos National Laboratory will present the talks, all at 7 p.m., at four different locations in November. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week

2014 LANL giving campaign kicks off

The Los Alamos National Laboratory kicked off its 2014 employee giving campaign with a car show Wednesday near TA-3.

A 1939 Buick convertible, which received the Director’s Choice Award. That car is owned by Ken Uher of LANL’s Weapons Facilities Operations Division. The campaign runs through Nov. 27 and it coincides with the United Way of Northern New Mexico campaign. (Full Story)

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