Friday, September 21, 2012

Forest fires: Burn out

Wild fires dominated the West in 2012.  From Nature.

A little after noon on Sunday 26 June 2011, strong winds toppled an aspen tree onto a power line in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. When a spark from the power line ignited a fire, wind gusts spread the flames into nearby dense stands of fir and pine.

By looking at tree rings, Park Williams of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and his colleagues have been able to assess how droughts stress southwestern forests. (Full Story)

Forests and Climate Change: a Combustible Combination

By looking at tree rings, Park Williams of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and his colleagues have been able to assess how droughts stress southwestern forests. They forecast that if temperatures rise as projected by climate models, trees will face worse drought stress in the first half of the twenty-first century than they have experienced for 1,000 years, probably driving a transformation of the ecosystem. (Full Story)

Experiment corrects prediction in quantum theory

Quantum systems, like electrons whizzing around the nucleus of an atom, are difficult to pin down for observation. One can, however, slow particles down and catch them in the quantum act by subjecting them to extremely cold temperatures.

“Our measurements definitively tested an important prediction about a particularbehavior in a Bose-Einstein Condensate,” said Vivien Zapf, a staff scientist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Los Alamos. (Full Story)

Small is beautiful: Viewing hydrogen atoms with neutron protein crystallography

Structure of crambin, with main chain amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange pattern ranging from blue (unexchanged) to red (fully exchanged). PNAS image.

Recently scientists at the University of Toledo, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutron crystallography – a technique that even at lower resolutions can locate individual hydrogen atoms. (Full Story)

A step forward for fusion

Ryan McBride watches over the beryllium liner to be imploded by the powerful magnetic field generated by Sandia's Z machine. SNL Photo.

Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratory will announce in a Physical Review Letters paper that magnetized liner inertial fusion, and first proposed 2 years ago, has passed the first of three tests, putting it on track for an attempt at the coveted break-even.

"I am excited about Sandia discovering that magnetized target fusion … is a pathway to significant gain on the Z machine. We agree, and hope that their experiments get a chance to try it out," says Glen Wurden, the magnetized plasma team leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

LANL Foundation helps Questa couple pursue degrees

Santana García-Chang, left, discusses a drainage stabilization field project at LANL with mentor Debbie Apodaca Pesiri.

When Questeña Santana García-Chang saw a video about the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s employee scholarship fund she thought, “I want to be in that.” Today she is.

García-Chang and Francisco “Kiko” Rael hang out with scientists and engineers at their adopted home in Los Alamos. Their days are busy: caring for their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Javan, working 25 hours a week as interns at Los Alamos National Laboratory and studying for college classes. But their eyes are on the prize of careers in environmental/civil engineering and health physics for radiation control.

They are both first in their families to pursue college degrees…. (Full Story)

Mousseau to head LANL program

Jeff Mousseau.  LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory announced Tuesday that Jeffrey Mousseau has been hired as the new associate director for Environmental Programs.

Mousseau currently works as a senior project manager for the laboratory’s transuranic waste disposal program. In his new position, he will oversee this program as well as other key environmental cleanup and monitoring activities. (Full Story)

State improves access to LANL data 

State environmental officials say they have finished their upgrade to a database that gives thepublic access to information on clean-up efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

New smart grid unveiled at LANL

An electric grid at Los Alamos National Lab just got smarter. It has been upgraded to a $52 millionstate-of-the-art smart grid and it was powered up Monday.

Everything will be managed through an automated command center to instantly switch back and forth among solar, battery backup and other electric power supplies.

Los Alamos County, LANL and a tech company in Japan all worked on the project. (Full Story)

Kyocera, laboratories launch U.S.-Japan smart grid project

Kyocera Corp. and a number of other companies, research institutes and local governments involved announced the start of operations of an international smart-grid demonstration project in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The project is a collaborative effort between NEDO, the New Mexico state government, the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory — a national research center which is run under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Energy. (Full Story)

Air Force continues advanced surveillance aircraft funding in Afghanistan

Angel Fire sensor and software provide enhanced resolution sufficient to identify individuals on the ground.  LANL image.     

The Marine Corps said Angel Fire, jointly developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, is “superior to current unmanned aerial systems in that a typical UAS [collects images of] a relatively small, constantly changing area as the air vehicle moves. [Angel Fire] provides a larger, persistent, geo-rectified image with archival capability.” (Full Story)

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