Friday, April 23, 2010

At Los Alamos, working against their own creation

America's first atomic bomb was made at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and for decades the work there centered on designing nuclear weapons.

But quietly, for years, some at Los Alamos have puzzled over ways to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

That work is all the more important in the wake of last week's nuclear summit in Washington, D.C., where nearly 50 nations pledged to do more to safeguard dangerous nuclear materials on their territory.

This is not exactly a swords-into-ploughshares story, but it comes close. (Full story)

The best and the brightest—innovators in the energy labs: commercializing research

Sometimes there’s a gap between research conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory and what’s needed to turn that research into commercial technology. Bart Raeymaekers’ job is to fill that gap.

As the lab’s first entrepreneurial postdoctoral fellow, Raeymaekers has a two-year appointment that integrates postdoctoral research with commercialization endeavors.

The program aims to respond to a national trend among students in graduate science programs to look beyond the conventional career tracks for science Ph.D.s. (Full story)

Swift satellite catches its 500th gamma ray burst

In its first five years in orbit, NASA's Swift satellite [using an instrument designed by LANL] has given astronomers more than they could have hoped for. Its discoveries range from a nearby nascent supernova to a blast so far away that it happened when our universe was only 5 percent of its present age.

…Burst 500, officially known as GRB 100413B, exploded in constellation Cassiopeia as a long burst, a type usually associated with the death of a massive star. GRB 100413B came to light when David Palmer, an astrophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, … analyzed the data. (Full story)

Observatory sees 500th deep-space explosion
‘Remarkable milestone’ for space-based satellite orbiting Earth

NASA's Swift observatory, keeping watch for the most powerful explosions in the universe, has hit a major milestone after spotting its 500th cosmic detonation in deep space. (Full story)

A look at homemade explosives school that benefits U.S. troops

For troops on today’s battlefield, recognizing improvised homemade bombs can save lives.

At a Los Alamos National Laboratory bomb squad test range--and in a classroom--troops learn the differences between harmless substances and deadly explosives. (Watch it!)

Final contracts awarded
Two small businesses will demolish Cold War-era complex

Los Alamos National Laboratory announced Tuesday that it has awarded its final two demolition contracts under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The two winning bidders will each demolish a portion of the remaining unused buildings at the Lab’s historic Technical Area 21.

…Bruce Schappell, executive director of LANL’s Recovery Act cleanup efforts, said the Lab has “a real commitment to small businesses” for this work. (Full story)

Management matters: energy smarts

The digital explosion in the federal government during the last decade has led to efficiency, innovation, and perhaps most apparent to those paying the power bills, data center sprawl. Now the Obama administration is trying not only to streamline operations and lower costs, but to cut energy consumption as well.

…Perhaps the greatest energy-saving potential is in virtualization, a technology that partitions one physical server into multiple virtual servers to maximize capacity….

The Los Alamos National Laboratory virtualized 300 servers and retired three data centers, avoiding $1.4 million in hardware, software, facility and energy costs…. (Full story)

NNSA marks Earth Day by highlighting role in climate modeling, commitment to energy efficiency

As the nation commemorates the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today launched a new feature on its Web site that highlights the role NNSA's national laboratories play in climate modeling and NNSA's efforts to improve energy efficiency across the nuclear security enterprise. . . .

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling Project is using advanced supercomputing to model changes in sea levels. (Full story)

LANL PCBs no threat to Rio Grande drinking water

The New Mexico Environment Department has concluded pollution in the Rio Grande coming from Los Alamos National Laboratory [is] …not a threat to Albuquerque’s drinking water supply. (Full story)

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