Friday, May 30, 2014

Editorial: New Mexico has role in keeping world at peace

B61. LANL photo.

So, New Mexico can take comfort and pride in the work being done here to modernize one of the oldest and most versatile nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal – the B61 bomb. 

Sandia National Laboratories, working with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force, expects a refurbished model to be ready for production by 2020. The overall project will consolidate four different B61 models into a single, more versatile weapon called the B61-12. (Full Story)

LANL scientists follow universe theory

Map of the sky is BICEP2’s ‘smoking gun’ evidence. From the New Mexican.

A team of astronomers led by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics stunned the scientific community earlier this year with new evidence about the birth of the universe, 13.8 billion years ago. 

“It’s of great interest to people here,” said Michael Graesser, a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who works on questions of the early universe. (Full Story)

Emissions verified from space

Four corners power plant.  LANL photo.           

The emissions from two very large coal-fired power plants in New Mexico were recently measured remotely via space-based techniques by researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“A critical barrier to any future international treaty aimed towards controlling greenhouse and pollutant gas emissions is our inability to verify inventories and reduction of emissions claimed by individual nations following implementation of new technologies,” stated LANL senior scientist Manvendra Dubey. (Full Story)

Pecos High standout pursues medical studies

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charles McMillian visits with Jeanette Varela and Nicolette Gonzales. LANL photo.

Nicolette Gonzales, co-valedictorian at Pecos High School, won one of 73 Los Alamos Employees Scholarships, worth $10,000, and she was admitted to the undergraduate medical program at The University of New Mexico, which admits only 28 students from the state each year. The program guarantees Gonzales a spot in UNM’s medical school after she completes her bachelor’s degree. She is the first Pecos resident to be accepted into the program in its eight-year history. (Full Story)

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Are we breathing clean mountain air?

Coal-fueled power plant in northwest New Mexico. From the Herald. 

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have confirmed that the largest polluters in the nation are the two coal-fueled power plants in northwest New Mexico, and they did it from space.

Not only that, they were able to establish that the San Juan Generating Station actually emits a lower level of air pollution and greenhouse gases than its neighbor, the Four Corners Generating Station. (Full Story)

Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites

The Four Corners coal-fired power plant, near Farmington, N.M. LANL photo.

To verify emissions from the coal-fired power plants, the Los Alamos team deployed ground-based solar spectrometers and point sensors to measure atmospheric concentrations of gases at a site close to these power plants.

Led by Laboratory senior scientist Manvendra Dubey, the study is the first to show that space-based techniques can successfully verify international regulations on fossil energy emissions. (Full Story)

This story also appeared in PhysOrg

NM labs working to refurbish B61 versions

The B61 gravity bomb.  LANL photo.

Since the 1960s, when the first B61 nuclear bomb was built, there have been 11 versions of the weapon, five of which are still active in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Sandia, Los Alamos, and the U.S. Air Force are working together on refurbishing the other four bomb models – the B61-3, -4, -7 and -10 – into a single modernized version called the B61-12. (Full Story)

2014 Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund recipients share dreams and gratitude

Charlie McMillan meets Jeanette Varela and Nicolette Gonzales. LANL photo         

Students from across Northern New Mexico attended Monday’s LANL Employees Scholarship Fund kickoff at the Oppenheimer Study Center."I was over the moon ... I'm so beyond grateful," said Eliana Griego of learning that she is a Pete Domenici Scholar and will receive $10,000 over four years.

Since 1999, the fund has awarded $4.5 million to help students in seven Northern New Mexico counties achieve their dreams of attending college. Funding for the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund comes from donations by LANL employees and a matching amount from Los Alamos National Security, LLC. (Full Story)

Historic Manhattan Project sites at Los Alamos

The Manhattan Project laboratory constructed at Los Alamos, New Mexico, beginning in 1943, was intended from the start to be temporary and to go up with amazing speed.

Because most of those WWII-era facilities were built with minimal materials and so quickly, much of the original infrastructure was torn down in the late '40s and early '50s and replaced by more permanent facilities. Watch the video here.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Odd planet, so far from its star

An international team has discovered a new planet 155 light-years from our solar system. The research team led by the Université de Montréal includes Didier Saumon of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The planet is located around GU Psc, a star three times less massive than the Sun and located in the constellation Pisces. The international research team used the Gemini Observatory, the Observatoire Mont-Mégantic, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, and the W. M. Keck Observatory. (full story)

Speed dating with science

They’ve found it! The New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program and the Santa Fe Business Incubator have partnered to present a new way for local small businesses and startups to get free advice from scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratories. What organizers have dubbed the “Eureka Effect” is a speed dating event, where business leaders will have the chance to talk to 12 LANL scientists for four minutes each. Incubator President and CEO Marie Longserre says the program’s name is a perfect fit for what her organization is trying to accomplish. (full story)

Powell appointed to LANS and LLNS Boards of Governors

Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the LANS and LLNS Boards of Governors, today announced that Robert Powell has been appoint an executive committee governor on the LANS and LLNS Boards of Governors.

“Bob is highly respected by the UC regents and President Janet Napolitano as a senior academic leader and faculty representative within the University of California,” said Pattiz. (full story)

Success comes with a price for Titan Aerospace

Titan Aerospace, which was acquired by Google last month, will be the first company to have to pay back the Los Alamos Venture Acceleration Fund.

“The Los Alamos Venture Acceleration Fund is seeing true momentum here in New Mexico,” said David Pesiri, director of the Feynman Center for Innovation at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We instituted the payback trigger last year in hopes that when a company sells or moves out of state the next entrepreneur down the line would have a chance at funding." (full story)

Physicist leads effort to image melted cores

Haruo Miyadera is spearheading a project to use subatomic particles called muons to peer into the damaged reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

After completing graduate school, Miyadera became a research fellow at the University of California. He then got a call from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and was invited to join its muon program to research and develop ways to combat nuclear terrorism. “Let’s make a better world together,” a Los Alamos official told him. (full story)

SwRI’s McComas to receive 2014 COSPAR Space Science Award

The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) has selected Dr. David J. McComas, assistant vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute, to receive a 2014 COSPAR Space Science Award.

“It’s really a tribute not to me, but to all of the great people that I have been privileged to work with here at SwRI and, before that, at Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said McComas. (full story)

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Re-routing exascale simulation storage, power concerns

Podcast: Today we’ll be talking about power and storage constraints for exascale-class simulations with Jim Ahrens, Visualization Team Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

We’ll discuss these problems in the context of what Ahrens calls “cost per insight” and touch on some of the novel ways to make sure that cost is kept as low as possible using in situ analysis and storage, as well as other approaches. (Full Story)

Infrasonic detection of meteorites

Infrasound arrays at an infrasound station at Qaanaaq, Greenland. CTBT photo.     

November 17, 1998, a bright fireball was observed over northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) investigated the sighting in its role as a part of the International Monitoring System (IMS).

LANL found the presence of an infrasonic signal detected by six infrasound arrays. The signal matched the time and the direction of the fireball seen in the sky. The infrasound recording indicated that the explosion occurred at 93.5 kilometer, matching the measurements from the camera. (Full Story)

Quantum dots make see-through solar cells a reality

Transparent photovoltaic material under UV light. LANL photo.

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a way to magnify the amount of light that gets sent to solar cells using quantum dots to build luminescent solar concentrators.

The researchers embedded quantum dots in a transparent sheet of polymethylmethacrylate. Quantum dots are nanoscale bits of semiconducting material manufactured with atomic precision using colloidal chemistry. (Full Story)

Sandia shows off new testing complex

Photo: Gen. Frank G. Klotz of the National Nuclear Security Administration, left, Sandia National Laboratories President Paul Hommert, Lawrence Livermore lab director William Goldstein and Los Alamos lab head Charlie McMillan stand next to Sandia’s underground centrifuge. 

The centrifuge test complex and six other Sandia facilities received a $100 million upgrade to improve efforts to extend the life of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. (Full Story)

LANL researcher to receive DOE Early Career Award

Joel Rowland. LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Joel Rowland is one of 35 national recipients of 2014 Early Career Research Program awards from the Department of Energy. Rowland’s research was recognized by DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research for incorporating hydrological controls on carbon cycling in flood plain ecosystems into Earth System Models. (Full Story)

Study validates air sampling techniques to fight bioterrorism

Results published in Biosecurity and Bioterrorism by Alexander Garza, M.D., and a team of researchers from Los Alamos National Lab reviewed the data from a series of experiments simulating a bioterrorism attack.

Garza is now the associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of epidemiology at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice. (Full Story)

Los Alamos Girl Scout Rocketeers

Girl Scout Troop 116. Daily Post photo.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 116 are Rocketeers! The scouts, comprised of Los Alamos sixth grade students and one home school, are advised by Ryn Herrmann and Nan Holmes.          

The 206 rockets celebrate the number of rockets launched into space that carried instruments built by Los Alamos National Laboratory. RocketFest is a partnership of Troop 116, the National Association of Rocketry, Zia Spacemodelers, the Kiwanis Club and Los Alamos County. (Full Story)

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Planet’s most precious piece of gold discovered at LANL

Scientists at Los Alamos National Lab are thrilled to be part of discovering the most precious piece of gold on the planet, Action 7 News reporter Alana Grimstad explains how they did it and how much it's really worth.

We are in the belly of the HIPPO, and for the very first time TV cameras are allowed down here, but the HIPPO isn't exactly what you're thinking, it's not an animal, it's a one-of-a-kind machine at Los Alamos National Laboratory ...
(full story)
‘Dynamic Duo’ sweep computing awards

When U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján introduced the winners of this year’s New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge, he referred to them as the “Dynamic Duo” from La Cueva High School in Albuquerque.

And certainly Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo meet the definition as a pair “positive in attitude, and full of energy and new ideas.” The La Cueva juniors raided last week’s award ceremony, earning honors in four categories. (full story)

Label-free, sequence-specific, inexpensive fluorescent DNA sensors

Using principles of energy transfer more commonly applied to designing solar cells, scientists at the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new highly sensitive way to detect specific sequences of DNA.

Synthesized by Hsing-Lin Wang, a collaborator at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, the polymers used in this study were functionalized with side chains that carry a positive charge, allowing them to naturally bind with negatively charged DNA via electrostatic interactions. (full story)

Nanoscale optical switch could replace electrons with photons

Connecting hardware using photons is one thing, but it’s something entirely different when they are used to create an optical switch that could one day be found in micro-circuitry. Scientists from Vanderbilt University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the University of Alabama have succeeded in creating a nanoscale optical switch capable of turning on and off trillions of times per second. (full story)

Solar windows for homes soon to be reality thanks to quantum-dot research

Photovoltaic solar panel windows could soon be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot research by Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States and scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB) in Italy. The project demonstrates that the superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping to harvest sunlight more efficiently. (full story)
NERSC, Cray, Intel to collaborate on next-generation supercomputer for science

The DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center and Cray Inc. announced today that they have signed a contract for a next generation of supercomputer to enable scientific discovery at the DOE's Office of Science.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which manages NERSC, collaborated with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories to develop the technical requirements for the system. (full story)
Mining the literature to improve our ability to counter biothreats

The amount of genome data in the published literature has increased exponentially as the price of genomic sequencing has continued to fall. With that, a key question arises: How can all this data be used to enhance biomedical research and enhance warfighter capabilities?

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico are finding new ways to mine that data, which could provide clues that will enable more effective countermeasures to biothreats. (full story)
LANL releases strategic plan

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan addressed the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities last Friday, giving an overview of the state of the laboratory.

The biggest piece of news was that LANL has just completed a new strategic plan. McMillan spelled out three themes underlying the plan. (full story)

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