Friday, May 20, 2011

Research questions reality of 'supersolid' in helium-4

The long-held, but unproven idea that helium-4 enters into an exotic phase of matter dubbed a "supersolid" when cooled to extremely low temperatures has been challenged in a new paper by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers Alexander Balatsky and Matthias Graf published recently in Science (full story).

A much more technical take appeared in PhysOrg

Video gaming comes to nuclear security

Some staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory is getting paid to play video games. However, these video games, actually designed by lab artists and engineers, are helping to solve some critical, real-world problems (watch the full story on KRQE).

Greenland ice in no hurry to raise seas

Good news is rare when it comes to the Greenland ice sheet. Yet a model that accurately mimics the way the ice responds to rising temperatures by slipping and sliding into the sea suggests the resulting rise in sea levels may be smaller than feared.

Using data from the last decade, Stephen Price of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has shown that his modelled ice sheet moves in the same way as the real one does (full story).

Melting model for Greenland's accelerating ribbons of ice shows 'locked-in' sea level rise

The Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice body in the world, looks likely to push up sea-levels in 2100 up by 3.5 inches, according to new research by glaciologists from the UK and US.

The team, led by Stephen Price from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, developed a computer model of the most recent changes in Greenland's biggest three glaciers. These have been fairly well studied since they started accelerating sea-wards in the mid-1990's (full story).

Researchers investigate Greenland ice-mass

Sebastian Mernild of the Laboratory's Computational Physics and Methods group, William Lipscomb of the Lab's Fluid Dynamics and Solid Mechanics group, and collaborators have investigated ice-mass loss for the Mittivakkat Gletscher in Greenland (full story—subscription required).

The quest for an HIV vaccine - Success on the horizon?

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed what is known as a mosaic vaccine which they believe is capable of helping the human body's immune system to respond to HIV despite its ability to mutate.

Tests have found that the mosaic vaccine is capable of greatly increasing the immune responses in lab animals such as monkeys and mice. Spurred by donations from different foundations, researchers are hoping to begin human trials of this type of vaccine sometime in late 2012 (full story).

Innovation at Los Alamos unlocking a new source of domestic oil . . . from algae

DOE researchers led by Babetta Marrone of Los Alamos’ Bioscience Division, who are taking this challenge head-on. Marrone’s team is busy perfecting the Ultrasonic Algal Biofuel Harvester, which modulates the frequency of sound waves to separate oils, proteins and water from algae (full story).

LANL earns volunteer award

Los Alamos National Laboratory has earned an award as the top corporate volunteer organization among large employers in VolunteerMatch’s network of more than 140 leading companies and brands.

Debbi Wersonick of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Community Programs Office, coordinator of volunteer programs at the Laboratory, traveled to Chicago to receive the Corporate Volunteer Program of the Year Award, given by the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization for outstanding achievement and results in program reach, connection rate, volunteer hours tracked per 1,000 employees, and volunteer impact.

The Laboratory ranked ahead of dozens of other qualifying companies with 10,000 or more employees. Other finalists among large employers included Google, UnitedHealth Group, Morgan Stanley, and three-time winner Exelon Corporation (full story—subscription required).

Also from the Los Alamos Monitor this week:

Lab honors 400 employees

LANL's 2011 Pollution Prevention Awards Ceremony, held recently 21 on the lawn at Fuller Lodge, honored more than 400 Lab employees for their success in incorporating pollution prevention strategies (full story—subscription required).

Another truck uncovered at TA-21

And surprise, surprise, guess what excavators have unearthed in the past month? Another truck. "This one was really mangled," said Patricia Jones, who works in the environmental programs division for the Recovery Act projects at LANL (full story—subscription required).

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