Friday, February 13, 2009

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for Feb. 13

Big science role is seen in global warming cure

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, New York Times photo

The Energy Department is involved with efforts as varied as developing nuclear weapons and sequencing the human genome.

Steven Chu, the new secretary of energy said the department's nuclear weapons program, which the White House is considering moving to the Defense Department, should be more tightly coupled to science in critical tasks like safeguarding nuclear materials and detecting nuclear proliferation. Read the story here.

Glaciology: From the front

Greenland’s shrinking icecap. (NASA illustration)

The causes of recent dynamic thinning of Greenland's outlet glaciers have been debated

Realistic simulations suggest that changes at the marine fronts of these glaciers are to blame, implying that dynamic thinning will cease once the glaciers retreat to higher ground.

By Stephen Price, Fluid Dynamics and Solid Mechanics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory. See more about the research here.

Trying to crack climate's impact
Work on model, study might offer tool to help manage global-warming issues

An arborist cuts up an ash tree that died from drought and a bark- beetle infestation. Los Alamos scientists and other experts are working to develop a tool that could help predict what will happen to the land- scape as the world tries to manage global warming and other environ- mental issues. (File photo)

LANL Scientists Nate McDowell and Todd Ringler are working with experts around the state and the country to develop a tool that could predict what will happen to the landscape as the world tries to manage global warming and other environmental issues. Learn more here.

LANL manager awards $265k to NM groups

The company that manages Los Alamos National Laboratory will give $265,000 in one-time grants to nonprofit organizations in northern New Mexico. Los Alamos National Security will provide Community Giving grants to 24 organizations in Los Alamos, Espanola, Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Carlsbad. The grants ranged from $1,000 to $25,000. See the story here.

Research highlights potential for improved solar cells

A team of Los Alamos researchers led by Victor Klimov has shown that carrier multiplication—when a photon creates multiple electrons—is a real phenomenon in tiny semiconductor crystals and not a false observation born of extraneous effects that mimic carrier multiplication.

The research, explained in a recent issue of Accounts of Chemical Research, shows the possibility of solar cells that create more than one unit of energy per photon. Get more details here.

LabStart spins out money-making tech

Los Alamos National Laboratory and investment partners celebrated the launch of LabStart, LLC, a revitalized program for getting lab technology out the door and into new businesses. Read about it here.

Detecting liquid bombs at airports

From "The Chemical Engineer Today" magazine

Researchers sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) have successfully tested a prototype scanner which can detect liquid explosives.

Working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the researchers are developing the MagViz system, which makes use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to distinguish between different types of liquids, gels and lotions. Read more about it here.


Neutron star reveals split personality

NASA image

Distant explosions behaving strangely have created a buzz in the astronomical community and may resolve a cosmic case of mistaken identity. Two kinds of flaring stars, Anomolous X-Ray Pulsars and Soft Gamma Repeaters may actually be the same thing.

"It's like learning the giant beasts who leap out of the ocean and splash down on the surface are the same as the ones you have heard singing in the depths," said David Palmer, a Los Alamos astrophysicist who develops software for detecting gamma-ray bursts in the universe. Do some star gazing here.

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