Friday, August 15, 2014



Young scientists study LANL’s impact on wildlife

From left, Audrey Smith, Emily Phillips and Maria Musgrave are undergraduate science students helping repair and monitor nestboxes at Los Alamos. LANL photo.           

Three undergraduate science students are adding new data to a 17-year project to monitor the impact of Los Alamos National Laboratory activities on birds and other wildlife.

As part of their internship with Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Environmental Stewardship group, the three monitor about 500 nesting boxes set up on lab property and in the county. (Full Story)




LANL probes mysteries of uranium dioxide’s thermal conductivity

Illustration of anisotropic thermal conductivity in uranium dioxide. LANL image.

Nearly 20 percent of the electricity in the United States is generated by nuclear energy from uranium dioxide fuel, but mysteries still surround exactly how the material controls the electrical production: poor thermal conductivity can limit the conversion rate of heat produced by fission, however we don’t know the physics underlying this behavior or, as it turns out, some of the properties to which it gives rise.

“A deeper understanding of the physics that governs the performance of important engineering materials, should lead to improvements in efficiency and safety,” said David Andersson, of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)



Cosmic rays to pinpoint Fukushima cores

 
By comparing results from two detectors DSIC will be able to identify the exact location and condition of the fuel within them. LANL illustration.

Los Alamos chief scientist and leader of its muon tomography team Christopher Morris recently noted, "Los Alamos researchers began working on an improved method for muon radiography within weeks of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima reactor complex. Within 18 months we had refined our technique and published a paper showing that the Los Alamos method was superior to traditional muon radiography techniques for remotely locating and identifying nuclear materials, and that it could be employed for field use." (Full Story)




Improving solar cell efficiency

Core/shell PbSe/CdSe quantum dots (a) and a carrier multiplication (CM) pathway (b). LANL illustration.

Los Alamos researchers have demonstrated an almost four-fold boost of the carrier multiplication yield with nanoengineered quantum dots. Carrier multiplication is when a single photon can excite multiple electrons.

“Typical solar cells absorb a wide portion of the solar spectrum, but because of therapid cooling of energetic (or ‘hot’) charge carriers, the extra energy of blue and ultraviolet solar photons is wasted in producing heat,” said Victor Klimov, director of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)



LANL Director makes surprise appearance at LAPS all hands breakfast

Director Charlie McMillan thanks Los Alamos Public School employees. Daily Post photo.

McMillan told school employees that their service made Los Alamos a better place to live, thereby benefiting LANL recruiting efforts. Los Alamos teachers have future Lab employees in their classrooms now, he said.

"Now kids can't wait to get away from Los Alamos, but in the future, when they have kids and careers, they can't wait to come back," McMillan said, and urged them to remember the impact good teachers have on students for years to come. (Full Story)

Also from the Daily Post

Los Alamos scientist wins American Chemical Society award


Jaqueline L. Kiplinger, LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Jaqueline L. Kiplinger has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry.

“To be nominated and selected for the Cotton Award by my American Chemical Society colleagues is such an extraordinary honor,” Kiplinger said. “I have found so much joy in actinide chemistry research, both in advancing fundamental knowledge for the nation, and in training future generations of scientists.” (Full Story)



Two LANL scientists named ACS Fellows

Rebecca Chamberlin and Donivan Porterfield. LANL photos.

Rebecca Chamberlin and Donivan Porterfield, both of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Actinide Analytical Chemistry group, have been selected as a 2014 Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
 

Chamberlin is currently the co-principal investigator for development of novel microreactor-based systems for plutonium process chemistry and one-step extraction and separation of rare earths at the laboratory.
 

Porterfield is a radiochemist engaged in research and development and analytical services supporting stockpile stewardship and nuclear forensics and nonproliferation. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor

LANL Foundation a beneficiary of an annuity

Donald Rose, a retired longtime scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory named the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation and two other nonprofits as beneficiaries of a $700,800 annuity.

Rose died in April at the age of 91. He came to LANL in 1956, joined the Weapons Subsystem Group (WX-5) in 1982 and was named Assistant to the Deputy Associate Director for Defense Construction Programs in 1984. He retired in 1990, returning as an associate and later guest scientist at LANL until 2000. (Full Story)


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Friday, August 8, 2014



Wildfire smoke proves worse for global warming

Wildfire fuel being burned in the fire laboratory at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory.  CMU Photo.

Forest experts generally agree that as climate change makes the world warmer and drier, wildfires will break out more often. This means more destruction of property, more government dollars spent on fire crews and more plumes of nasty, polluting smoke smudging up summer skies.

Manvendra Dubey, senior climate scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, added that climate-warming brown and black carbon particles are found in smoke caused by hot, intensely burning flames—the kind of blazes that are starting to erupt more often. (Full Story)



LANL study: Wildfire smoke’s effect on climate underestimated

The Diego Fire in the Jemez. Journal Photo.

Scientists need to shed their black-and-white view of wildfire smoke and include “brown carbon” in their climate models, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory report in a new study. The research suggests that smoke from wildfires may contribute to climate change in ways that  scientists have never considered. (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Monitor



Los Alamos probes mysteries of uranium dioxide’s thermal conductivity

Anisotropic thermal conductivity in uranium dioxide. LANL image.

New research at Los Alamos National Laboratory is showing that the thermal conductivity of cubic uranium dioxide is strongly affected by interactions between phonons carrying heat and magnetic spins.

“A deeper understanding of the physics that governs the performance of important engineering materials, such as uranium dioxide, should lead to improvements in efficiency and safety,” said David Andersson, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project, “which are ultimate goals of the Department of Energy’s program to develop advanced predictive computer models of nuclear reactor performance.” (Full Story)



“SuperCam” instrument adds capabilities to successful ChemCam

SuperCam.  NASA illustration.

NASA announced today that laser technology originally developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been selected for its new Mars mission in 2020.

SuperCam builds upon the successful capabilities demonstrated aboard the Curiosity Rover during NASA’s current Mars Mission. SuperCam will allow researchers to sample rocks and other targets from a distance using a laser. In addition to harnessing Los Alamos developed laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technology.  (Full Story)



Hazmat Challenge is serious business

Team works a scenario at the Hazmat Challenge. LANL photo.

If you thought your week has been challenging due to the unpredictable weather, it was nothing compared to what hazardous material technicians had to face during Los Alamos National Laboratory’s 18th annual Hazmat Challenge.

Facing real-world chemical leak scenarios of all types: indoor, outdoor, overturned trucks, leaking railcars and other challenges, hazmat techs from all over the nation competed at Tech Area 49 this week to see who did the best, and safest job of cleaning up the simulated spills. (Full Story)



LANL employees team with Smith’s on school supplies

Members of LANL Quality Performance Assurance Group teamed up with Smith's Marketplace to provide school supply backpacks. From the Post     

Members of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quality Performance Assurance Group were at Smith’s Marketplace this morning to join with Smith’s employees in filling backpacks with school supplies.

Each year, LANL conducts a Lab-wide effort to raise funds for the project. Smith's not only provides the Lab with a discount, but this year also donated 28 of the backpacks, QPA Group Leader Ernie Petru said. LANL's 120-member QPA Group spearheaded the drive. (Full Story)


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Friday, August 1, 2014



NASA selects 7 instruments for Mars 2020 rover

Illustration of the SuperCam laser system.  LANL image.

NASA has budgeted about $130 million for a seven-instrument science payload announced July 31 for the sample-caching Mars rover the agency plans to launch in 2020.

The payload will include SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy. The principal investigator is Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. This instrument also has a significant contribution from the French space agency, CNES. (Full Story)



Los Alamos laser selected for 2020 Mars mission

SuperCam team leader Roger Wiens. LANL image.

NASA announced today that laser technology originally developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been selected for its new Mars mission in 2020.

"We are extremely excited to be going to Mars again," said Los Alamos National Laboratory planetary scientist Roger Wiens, Principal Investigator of the newly selected SuperCam team and current principal investigator of the Curiosity Rover's ChemCam Team. "More importantly for the mission, I know SuperCam is the very best remote sensor that NASA can have aboard." (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Monitor



Scientists are about to use supernova cosmic rays to peer inside Fukushima

Los Alamos National Laboratory postdoc Elena Guardincerri, right, and undergraduate research assistant Shelby Fellows prepare a lead hemisphere inside a muon tomography machine. LANL photo.

Scientists are turning to nature’s own ultra-high-power cosmic rays, generated by supernovae and galactic nuclei, to produce what could be described as an interstellar X-ray machine.         

The result is a process called muon tomography, and after months of planning it finally seems to be going forward under the banner of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)



Shiny quantum dots may turn house windows into solar panels

Quantum dots are embedded in the plastic matrix and capture sunlight to improve solar-panel efficiency. LANL graphic.

A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB) in Italy.

Their work, published earlier this year in Nature Photonics, demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight. (Full Story)



New research helps scientists predict impact on climate

Research explores how sea spray chemistry contributes to aerosol particles in the atmosphere. From domain-b.

In a new paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, a multi-institutional team of researchers described a method to understand which types of these carbon-containing materials are prevalent in different parts of the ocean.

The team included scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of Alaska, Harvard University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and University of California San Diego. (Full Story)


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Friday, July 25, 2014



New technology allows hair to reflect almost any color

Hair color goes high-tech (courtesy photo)
What if you could alter your hair to reflect any color in the spectrum? What if you could use a flatiron to press a pattern into your new hair color? Those are possibilities suggested by researchers from the University of New Mexico and Los Alamos National Laboratories. (full story)




 
National labs snare 9 innovation ‘Oscars’

LANL’s Acoustic Wavenumber Spectroscopy (AWS), which
generates images of hidden structural properties and/or defects.
(LANL photo)
The National Nuclear Security Administration national laboratories – Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore – have landed nine of R&D Magazine’s 2013 R&D 100 Awards, also known as the “Oscars of Innovation.” (full story)



Also appearing this week in the Albuquerque Journal:


Scholarships open door for grad

Scholarship winner Raymond Fasano plans to study
engineering at Tufts University (courtesy photo)
Raymond Fasano didn’t have much money growing up and had to rely on only one parent for everything.

The Bernalillo High School valedictorian didn’t let that deter him from excelling.

His diligence earned him two major financial aid packages. Fasano was accepted into the QuestBridge program, and he is the recipient of a $30,000 scholarship from the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund. (full story)

 
Three Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have been named among the most influential scientists in the world.

Scholarship winner Raymond Fasano plans to study
engineering at Tufts University (courtesy photo)
Hepatitis C researcher Alan Perelson and HIV researcher Bette Korber, along with mass spectrometry researcher Allison Aiken, were named to Thomson Reuters Corp.’s list of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds,” released Tuesday. (full story)


This story also appeared in the Albuquerque Journal and the Los Alamos Monitor

And also appearing this week in the Santa Fe New Mexican:

Native student to receive business scholarship

Los Alamos National Security LLC, working through the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, is offering a $1,000 Northern New Mexico Tribal Business Scholarship for Native American students who are already pursuing business degrees. (full story)

Mechanism Found for Development of Protective HIV Antibodies

Scientists at Duke University and Los Alamos find
a vulnerability in HIV that could lead to a vaccine
(courtesy image)
Scientists at Duke Medicine have found an immunologic mechanism that makes broadly neutralizing antibodies in people who are HIV-1 infected.

These findings, published online July 24, 2014, in the journal Cell, are a major development toward determining the key to induction of potent neutralizing antibodies by an HIV vaccine.

…study authors included Peter Hraber and Bette T. Korber of Los Alamos National Laboratory…. (full story)

 
Bechtel-UC Teams at US National Laboratories Win Six R&D 100 Awards

LANL’s Safire, an R&D 100 Award winner (LANL photo)
Bechtel announced today that researchers from two U.S. national laboratories managed and operated by Bechtel partnerships have earned six 2014 R&D 100 Awards, known as the Oscars of Invention.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory teams collected four awards and Los Alamos National Laboratory teams received two. R&D Magazine gives the awards to recognize the top 100 technology products of the year, honoring cutting-edge scientific and engineering technologies with commercial potential. (full story)

This story also appeared in the Yahoo! News


How I make science and research work as a business

Gary Grider (courtesy Albuquerque Business First)
With a high population of science-based jobs in the state, the art of mixing science and business is something New Mexico might be able to thrive in. To find out how that can best be done, Albuquerque Business First spoke to Gary Grider, who works at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He gave us a few tips about how business and science can work together to create stronger industries. (full story)


Los Alamos National Laboratory launches new student app

Los Alamos National Laboratory recently launched its new student mobile app students and postdoctoral candidates can use to learn about employment opportunities, science research, education programs and more. (full story)

Thuc Hoang, Trinity Project Manager, National Nuclear Security Administration
 

Illustration of the Trinity Supercomputer, from Cray Inc.
Forty-two petaFLOPS equals one big upgrade for the National Nuclear Security Administration. A new super computer dubbed Trinity will be assembled next year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The $174 million deal with Cray is one of the biggest contracts in the supercomputer manufacturers history. Cray also built supercomputer Cielo, which will be retired after Trinity is up and running. Thuc Hoang is the Trinity project manager in the Office for Advanced Simulation and Computing at the NNSA. She told Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive how supercomputing supports the mission. (full story)

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