Friday, March 13, 2009

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for March 13

Scientists stick close to their specialties

A first "map" of science journal use highlights how social sciences such as psychology, anthropology and economics, bridge the natural sciences, say researchers. Looking at about 1 billion "clicks" on science study databases by scientists over the last two years, a team led by Johan Bollen of Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory analyzed how researchers travel to and from studies when they retrieve information. (The USA Today entry is here.)

Web usage data outline map of knowledge

or the study, Johan Bollen and his colleagues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico negotiated access to anonymized server log data covering 35,000 journals from 2006 to 2007. The data came from the University of Texas, the California State University system, and major science journal gateways including Thomson Reuters' Web of Science and Elsevier's Scopus database. (The full Nature news story is here.)

Scientists search cosmos for new worlds

Some New Mexico scientists are now working with NASA to find planets outside of the solar system. Four Los Alamos National Lab researchers are on an international team using a new NASA satellite. KRQE's Bob Martin reports. (Probe deep into the cosmos of KRQE right here.)

LANL scientists seek magnetars' secrets

You might not think you have anything in common with the supermassive, high-power magnetic star remnants that astrophysicists call magnetars.

But when it comes to aging, we all might slow down in a similar way - with declining bursts of energy and exhaustion washing over us until we finally peter out.

David Palmer, a Los Alamos scientist, is coming to that conclusion after taking a closer look at magnetars through NASA's Swift satellite, which detects and investigates X-ray and gamma ray bursts through software that Palmer helped develop. (Take a closer look at the magnetar story here.)

Quantum Dots Could Boost Solar Cell Efficiency

Over the past five years, several research groups used quantum dots in their attempts to recreate the Los Alamos findings, but without success. "There's been a lot of controversy as to whether this [multiple excitation] actually occurs," said PULSE researcher Kelly Gaffney.

"Not everyone agreed that it's even real." Working with researchers at PULSE, Stanford University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Gaffney used a slightly different experimental method to confirm that a single photon can indeed excite more than one electron in a quantum dot. (Illuminate this topic right now!)

Lab’s Bradbury Science Museum engages students in astronomy

The Santa Fe New Mexican recently produced this short video about International Year of Astronomy activities at the Bradbury Science Museum in downtown Los Alamos. (Whose turn is it now? That's right, Pepper is going to choose a video! What will it be pepper? This one right here? Okay.)

Safety-minded cleanup of Area B resumes

The site is shaped like a boomerang. Several discrete areas of shallow pits are scattered along a strip of land on the southern side of DP Road. Buckled pavement covers most of it, where an old trailer park used to sit.

Material Disposal Area B is about to get busy again. After two years of public silence, with only a few visible changes across the road from a row of small businesses, one of Los Alamos National Laboratory's major environmental cleanup projects is shifting gears. (Monitor the Monitor
story with a single click!)

KRSN-AM 1490

The manager in charge of cleaning up Los Alamos National Laboratory’s waste disposal area B, which operated from 1944-1948, was interviewed Thursday morning on Los Alamos radio station KRSN-AM.

To hear the interview of LANL’s Al Chaloupka, please click here. (The Daily NewsBulletin story is here.)

Historical landmarks right in our backyard

Sure, you can learn about the Manhattan Project through countless books, photographs and articles, but there is another way to be exposed to this significant period of time. There are actual physical artifacts, right here in Los Alamos, which can transport you back through history and into the era of the atom bomb. (The entire story is here.)

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