Friday, May 8, 2009

LANL studies flu outbreak

KOB-TV's Gadi Schwartz visited Los Alamos National Laboratory, where researchers say an outbreak this fall could spread very quickly.

“World health officials warn second and third outbreaks of an influenza virus are usually the worst.

“Today we visited Los Alamos National Lab. Researchers there created a program several years ago to map out what a bird flu pandemic would look like. Now they're using it for the H1N1 virus.” (Story available here—click "play media" link below image)

Editorial: Lab fights microbes of mass infection

Los Alamos National Laboratory turned its supercomputer modeling expertise, honed in studying what happens inside a warhead, to the chain-reaction of contagion. The focus of the modeling, reported in the April 2006 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a strain of influenza virus similar to that which caused the 1918 pandemic. The lab most associated with developing nuclear weapons of mass destruction has an important role to play against microbes of mass infection. (Full story—advertisement view or subscription required)

Also this week from the Albuquerque Journal:

$2 billion LANL project pushed

A massive plutonium laboratory at Los Alamos that is nearly 60 years old, has languished as a result of "an accumulation of delayed decisions about the nuclear weapons program," the commission, headed by former Defense Secretary William Perry, concluded. Replacing the most troubled buildings will cost billions of dollars, and if funding is insufficient to do all the work at once, the plutonium lab at Los Alamos should be the first priority, according to the commission. (Full story—advertisement view or subscription required)

Los Alamos scientist maps swine flu genome to determine origin

A Los Alamos scientist has been mapping the genes of the H1N1 Swine Influenza to get a better idea of where the virus originated. KUNM's Jim Williams spoke with him Tuesday and has this report. (Click to listen)

Anastasio gives upbeat update

In the past couple of years, many businesses have scaled back their budgets in an effort to cut costs and save money. For a lot of employees, layoffs have been a grim byproduct of a weak economy.

Despite the nation's problems, however, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio remains optimistic about the lab's future. During Tuesday night's county council meeting Anastasio gave councilors a general briefing on the lab. (Full story)

Also in the Los Alamos Monitor this week:

New LANL energy center peers over the edge

Extremity is the outermost environment. Beyond the limit looms the uncertain and the unknown. Extremity is also a boundary where what's good enough today breaks down tomorrow. Future breakthroughs may still be possible, but researchers will have to take it to the limit to get there.

The Department of Energy last week announced the creation of 46 new Energy Frontier Research Centers, selected because they have unique perspectives at the leading edge of energy research. The centers can expect to be funded for five years at nearly $20 million apiece. Two of them will be hosted at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

LANL science fuels new photophysics energy center

In early April, when Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Los Alamos National Laboratory, Victor Klimov briefed him on research about a project for improving solar cells.

As Chu moved slowly through a gallery of scientific posters especially selected for his introductory moments at the lab, he listened intently to Klimov's overview and immediately began asking questions about his findings. (Full story)

DOE awards Los Alamos, Sandia for sustainability

The Department of Energy has recognized two national laboratories in New Mexico for their environmentally sustainable practices. The National Nuclear Security Administration says Los Alamos and Sandia laboratories and six other projects nationwide were presented with EStar awards from among 150 projects nominated nationwide. (Full story)

Star crust 10 billion times stronger than steel

Performed on a large computer cluster at Los Alamos National Laboratory and built upon smaller versions created on special-purpose molecular dynamics computer hardware at Indiana University, the simulations identified a neutron star crust that far exceeded the strength of any material known on earth.

The crust could be so strong as to be able to elicit gravitational waves that could not only limit the spin periods of some stars, but that could also be detected by high-resolution telescopes called interferometers, the modeling found. (Full story)

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