Friday, May 14, 2010

Sun expert to illuminate public in lecture

NASA image shows a "solar superstorm" from 2003.

hen Joyce Ann Guzik considers the sun, the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist thinks about what is unseen. Like the big orb's oscillations she studies to glean clues about its life and future death.

Guzik, 49, is a member of the Navy Systems Group in the lab's Theoretical Design Division. She studies the internal structure of the sun and other stars by measuring their oscillations — scientific fields known as helioseismology and astroseismology. She uses the data to analyze the sun's life from 4.5 billion years ago to the present. (
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Spinning pure batches of nanotubes species

Basic carbon nanotube structure. From Wikipedia.

ice Univ. researchers report using ultracentrifugation (UCF) to create highly purified samples of carbon nanotube species. One team, led by Rice Professor Junichiro Kono has made a small but significant step toward the dream of an efficient nationwide electrical grid that depends on highly conductive quantum nanowire. Co-authors of the paper include Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Stephen Doorn. (
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Mysterious quantum forces unraveled

Complex quantum effects known as Casimir forces cause tiny objects with the shapes shown here to repel each other rather than attract. Image courtesy of Alejandro Rodriguez.

or objects with odd shapes, calculating electromagnetic-field strength in a conducting fluid is still fairly complicated. But it’s eminently feasible using off-the-shelf engineering software.

“Analytically,” says Diego Dalvit, a specialist in Casimir forces at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, “it’s almost impossible to do exact calculations of the Casimir force, unless you have some very special geometries.” With the MIT researchers’ technique, however, “in principle, you can tackle any geometry. And this is useful. Very useful.” (
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Study: “Buckyballs” pack a comatose bounce

"Buckyballs" could help halt the spread of cancer cells. They could help treat Alzheimer’s. They could also potentially cause human cells to lapse into a comatose state. All that from a "nanoparticle" far too small to see.

New research from scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory has found that a slight modification to the nanoparticle can cause human cells to lapse into a comatose state—a toxic condition, but one that might also provide opportunities to treat degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or halt the spread of cancer cells. (
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Winners Announced for LANL's
New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

A trio of students from Melrose High School captured the top prize in the 20th New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge hosted by the Los Alamos National Laboratory . "Control and Spread of Wildfires II" by brothers Richard and Randall Rush and Kyle Jacobs garnered each student a check for $1,000. (Full Story)

Nature's Promise for the Future

Cerro Grande Fire. LANL image.

os Alamos National Laboratory has made efforts to clear underbrush and small trees from its perimeter, partly in hope of preventing another fiery incursion into areas that house hazardous materials.

But overgrown northern New Mexico's forests were — and overgrown they largely still are.

Research — conducted at LANL, incidentally — says the problem began almost a century-and-a-half ago with the arrival of massive numbers of livestock, which ate the grasses and brush that had fueled the periodic low-intensity "housekeeping" fires that kept ponderosa forests down to historical densities of 80 trees per acre. (
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Cerro Grande fire, 10 years ago today

Cerro Grande fire burn area in Los Alamos canyon. LANL photo.

y the end of the day on May 10, the fire had burned 18,000 acres, destroyed 235 homes, and damaged many other structures. The fire also spread towards the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and although fires spotted onto the facility's lands, all major structures were secured and no releases of radiation occurred. (
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WIPP trucks log 10 million loaded miles

A WIPP transport leaves Los Alamos bound for Carlsbad. LANL photo.

It's taken 11 years, but the trucks that haul defense-related transuranic (TRU) waste to the WIPP site near Carlsbad recently logged 10 million loaded miles. Since WIPP began accepting waste from Los Alamos National Lab in northern New Mexico, more than 8,400 shipments have arrived by truck. (
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