Friday, April 17, 2009

Star crust is 10 billion times stronger than steel

The crust of a neutron star is strong enough to hold up ultra-dense mountains, a new simulation suggests. Penn State Illustration

Since laboratory experiments cannot replicate the extreme conditions on the surface of a neutron star, astronomers have largely assumed that the crust's strength would be similar to that of the strongest substances on Earth.

But in new computer simulations, Charles Horowitz of Indiana University and Kai Kadau of the Los Alamos National Laboratory show the crust of a neutron star is much stronger. Materials like rock and steel break because their crystals have gaps and other defects that link up to create cracks. But the enormous pressures in neutron stars squeeze out many of the imperfections. Test the
stronger-than-steel story here.

Mapping the evolution of ideas

Comparing physics maps from 1997 and 2006, above, shows how areas shrink and grow and how they merge with one another. Physics World image.

Now physicists have made a map using the Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (PACS) codes produced by the American Institute of Physics (AIP). Taking papers from the last two decades in the AIP's database, Mark Herrera from the University of Maryland, David Roberts from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Natali Gulbachce from the Northeastern University in Boston, have created a map using the links between different PACS numbers. Science evolves here!

Rodriguez among LANL's next generation of scientists

Marko Rodriquez.

He earned his PhD in computer science two years ago at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Now, among his many appellations he can describe himself as a director's postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory's Center for Non-Linear Studies where he is also associated with the lab's Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics group in the Theoretical Division. More about Marko here.

Lab Stresses Role in Local Economic Development

Northern New Mexico businesses are getting financial help from Los Alamos National Laboratory, and there are plenty of the ways LANL can help boost local economies, according to LANL Director Michael Anastasio.

"There are plenty of challenges the country faces, and the lab has a lot to offer in that regard," Anastasio told guests at a well-attended breakfast meeting Tuesday where lab personnel and prominent northern New Mexicans including Santa Fe Mayor David Coss met to discuss LANL's role in economic development around the region. More economic development here.

Lab spreads jobs, puts stimulus to work

New Mexico Economic Development Department Secretary Fred Mondragon, standing, talks with Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio and Santa Fe Mayor David Coss at the regional community leaders breakfast in Santa Fe. LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has contracts to let and jobs to give. With an extra $212 million in stimulus funds and its FY 09 base package solidly in hand, LANL is out shopping for people and companies to do some of the work.

Gordon Dover, program director for the lab's American Reinvestment and Recovery Act project said Tuesday morning that the money would have to be committed by the end of Sept. 2010 and spent by the end of the following year, under the DOE guidelines. Read the story here.

Labs central to energy future, Chu says

The country's national laboratories will retain a nuclear-weapons mission although there will be a definite shift toward work on energy issues and helping the economy, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said last Friday in Albuquerque. See the
video here.

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