Friday, May 30, 2008

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for May 27 - 30

Scientists examine new way to track outbreaks

Math has long had a reputation for being difficult, but when the next pandemic disease outbreak happens, math could finally redeem itself--and save lives in the process.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Santa Fe Institute say they have found a way to use math to track outbreaks much more quickly than has ever been done in the past. And the reason that's possible is partly because of the deep flexibility of math, and partly because technologies like the Internet and cell communications have made it much faster to gather data about diseases when they first start to appear, said Luis Bettencourt, a LANL scientist and SFI external professor. Read the New Mexican Science page here.

Martz discusses Laboratory programs, operations on KTAO-FM

Joe Martz of the Laboratory's weapons program directorate talked about the value of the Laboratory and other issues Wednesday on Taos radio station KTAO. During an interview with KTAO radio personality Nancy Stapp on "Breakfast with Nancy," Martz talked about the National Nuclear Security Administration's proposed complex transformation. He also responded to questions from listeners on myriad Laboratory programs. The Laboratory's complex transformation Web page has information about how the Laboratory stands to be affected by the NNSA proposal. Listen to the interview with Martz here.

Close Encounters of the Particle Kind

John Hendricks lets his students play with dice. Most of us associate the little cubes with gambling, but for him they're a great teaching tool.

Like a wise old physics guru, the Monte Carlo computer code MCNP can tell you how subatomic particles will interact with just about anything. The Los Alamos code has helped scientists find water on Mars and aided doctors battling cancer on Earth. Los Alamos researchers are using it to design detectors that will monitor plutonium in nuclear fuel rods, to guide experiments that will test new nuclear fuels, ands as an accurate simulation tool for tracking the physics in next-generation fast reactors. John Hendricks, a member of Los Alamos National Laboratory's Applied Physics Division, teaches people to use what he says "is one of the Lab's greatest achievements." Read it in the May edition of 1663.

Scholarship helps Vasquez continue family tradition

2008 fund drive extended to June 30

University of New Mexico and Pecos High School graduate Cristal Vasquez always wanted to be a nurse. She would continue a family tradition her grandmother and great-grandmother started, having worked as parteras, or midwives, in Mexico. A Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund gold scholarship Vasquez received in 2004 helped her achieve her goal. She’ll soon begin a new job as a graduate nurse at University of New Mexico Hospital after graduating from UNM with a degree in nursing and a minor in Spanish. See the story in the Daily NewsBulletin.

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