Friday, December 5, 2008

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for Dec. 1–5

LANL pledges $2 million to United Way

Los Alamos National Laboratory employees have pledged a record $1 million in new donations to United Way programs in northern New Mexico and Santa Fe. Los Alamos National Security LLC, which operates the laboratory, will match employee pledges dollar-for-dollar, bringing the total to more than $2 million. (Get the whole story here.)

Team uncovers unconventional superconductivity

An international team of researchers working at Los Alamos published a paper in the scientific journal Nature proposing an "unconventional" approach to superconductivity. The work has emerged from a series of discoveries over the last several years, involving the interplay of traditional cold temperatures and magnetism with a newly identified boundary area governed by quantum physics. (Uncover more here.)

Cosmic rays point to Orion

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory's Milagro observatory and their collaborators have pinpointed two side-by-side sectors in our region of the Galaxy that are generating more than their share of cosmic rays. Seven years of recording over 200 billion cosmic ray collisions with the Earth's atmosphere went into the calculations. "Earth is always bombarded by cosmic rays," said Brenda Dingus, who heads operations at the Milagro observatory. "Now we've found that instead of being uniform, there are localized sources." (Zzzap! Catch it all here!)

Los Alamos ships volatile waste to WIPP

Los Alamos National Laboratory has shipped the last of one group of high-activity radioactive waste drums to the federal government's waste dump near Carlsbad, saying it made good on a commitment to remove the material from lab property. The nuclear weapons lab shipped 282 high-activity drums to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after repackaging much of the material identified as high activity - which means it's above a certain level of radioactivity. The last of the drums went to WIPP earlier this month. (Want to know more? Go here.)

Los Alamos scientists receive honors

Three Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have been named 2008 Laboratory Fellows.

Robert C. Albers, Paul A. Johnson and Kurt E. Sickafus were recognized for their “sustained outstanding scientific contributions and exceptional promise for continued professional achievement,” according to a statement released by the northern New Mexico laboratory. (Check it out here!)

Energy Department, change is coming

President-elect Barack Obama's pick for energy secretary will likely lead the department through a new era with a sharp focus on renewable energy, but who'll lead a revamped agency is far from clear. Despite what some may think, the current Department of Energy isn't really about wind or solar power. It's not even about coal, oil or gas. Mainly, the agency is about nuclear - nuclear weapons to be exact. The new agency is likely to focus on a big push into renewable R&D greater conservation efforts and some role in curtailing greenhouse gas emissions. (Learn more here.)

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