Friday, July 31, 2009

Lightning inside hurricane could predict intensity

They're deceptively simple looking detectors: one an antenna with built-in GPS, the other electronic sensors inside a large, upside-down metal salad bowl.

The sensors are the basis of a Los Alamos National Laboratory project studying lightning inside a hurricane to improve the accuracy and timeliness of forecasts for people in a storm's path.

The effort is in the second of three years of research. The team is gearing up for the Atlantic hurricane season that peaks in August and September. (Full story.)

McMillan will lead Los Alamos weapons program

An associate director at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been appointed to oversee the lab’s weapons program.

Charles McMillan succeeds Glenn Mara, who recently retired.

Labs prove their worth [editorial]

If anyone asks why Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratories are needed in a post-nuclear age of Obama, the labs need only flash the nine R&D 100 Awards they won this year. Sandia also won shared honors for a tenth project. (Full story—subscription or viewing of advertisement required.)

Teams compete in annual Hazmat Challenge at LANL

Sitting in a mail truck on Los Alamos National Laboratory property is a sealed letter which reads “YOU DIE NOW” across its front in the cut-and-pasted style of a ransom note. This is what's called a “suspicious package.”

Cue a Hazmat team of four, each wearing crinkly, super-sealed “Level B” suits with heavy metal air tanks on their backs. Breathing like Darth Vader, a team member sorts through mail bins, finds the “YOU DIE NOW” letter and two others (they're not all that easy) and they're passed to the back of the truck to be analyzed, then packaged. (Full story—subscription or viewing of advertisement required.)

N.M. lab technologies get R&D 100 awards

Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories had 10 technologies named as part of this year's R&D 100 Awards.

The awards, given by R&D Magazine, go to the best technological advances at universities, private corporations and government labs around the world. The magazine has presented them each year since 1963.

Five technologies from Los Alamos National Laboratory made the list. (Full story.)

LANL, UNM to head $14.5M systems biology center

Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico will co-direct a newly formed National Center for Systems Biology.

The National Institute for General Medical Sciences—part of the National Institutes of Health—has approved $14.5 million for a Spatiotemporal Modeling Center that will be housed under the new systems biology center at UNM. (Full story.)

Researchers from LANL, UNM and Sandia National Laboratories will work together under the leadership of Janet Oliver of UNM’s Cancer Center.

LANL offers mentoring to two veteran-owned firms

Los Alamos National Laboratory will provide mentoring services to two veteran-owned businesses, SDV Construction and Trillacorpe Construction.

The assistance is provided under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Mentor Protégé Program, which helps small businesses become successful contractors to government agencies and private industry. (Full story.)

Vital Alert gains $2.5M investment

Vital Alert, a New Mexico-based startup that presented at the Technology Ventures Corp.’s Equity Capital Symposium in May, received a $2.5 million investment from two Canadian venture capital firms in late July.

Vital Alert uses technology licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratory to provide emergency wireless communications in places where most systems break down, such as in skyscrapers or underground. (Full story.)

Los Alamos names new weapons leader

Los Alamos National Laboratory announced a change at the top Tuesday.

Charles McMillan becomes principal associate director for Weapons Programs, succeeding Glenn Mara, who has retired.

McMillan advances from his previous role as associate director for weapons physics.

His new responsibilities call for providing oversight and direction for the nuclear weapons program at the lab and its core mission, “ensuring the safety, reliability and performance of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.” (Full story.)

NNSA administrator looks to future of nuclear security

Administrator Thomas P. D’Agostino of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today discussed the future of the Nuclear Security Enterprise and its strategic deterrence mission in light of President Obama’s unprecedented nuclear security agenda.

Administrator D’Agostino spoke at the U.S. Strategic Command’s first Strategic Deterrence Symposium in Omaha. He was joined by the directors of NNSA’s three nuclear security laboratories for a panel entitled “The Weapons and Infrastructure of the Nuclear Inventory.” (Full story.)

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