Friday, March 8, 2013

Mysterious electron stash found hidden among Van Allen belts

The surprising findings, discovered by NASA's Van Allen Probes (formerly known as the Radiation BeltStorm Probes), were outlined Thursday in Science Express and during a pressconference at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"One of the main reasons the Van Allen Probe instruments are seeing these new features are their unprecedented sensitivity and rejection of backgrounds," said Los Alamos plasma physicist Reiner Friedel. "As the mission proceeds, we expect further surprises that will challenge our conventional wisdom." (Full story)

Mysterious electrons found in Van Allen belts

U.S. researchers, including a trio from Los Alamos National Laboratory, have witnessed the mysterious appearance of a relatively long-lived zone of high-energy electrons stored between Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts.

“Nature keeps on surprising us by producing long-lived harsh environments in space in regions not previously considered,” said Reiner Friedel of LANL’s Intelligence and Space Research Division (full story).

Also from the Monitor this week

LANL rolls out strategy for environmental sustainability

The Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Laboratory have rolled out a long-term strategy forenvironmental stewardship and sustainability that provides a blueprint for safeguarding the environment (full story).
Improved synchronicity: Preventive care for the power grid

President Obama in this year's State of the Union address talked about the future of energy and mentioned "self-healing power grids"—a grid that is able to keep itself stable during normal conditions and also to self-recover in the event of a disturbance.

Scientists’ design for a better power grid could help reduce both the frequency of blackouts and the cost of electricity. Research co-authored by Marian Anghel of Los Alamos National Laboratory (full story).
Los Alamos lab opens third waste facility

Los Alamos National Laboratory has opened its third and largest nuclear waste repackaging facility.

LANL is trying to speed up the removal of 3,706 cubic meters of transuranic waste now stored above ground at LANL under an agreement with the state and the National Nuclear Security Administration (full story).

Los Alamos taps Sarrao for science leadership post

Los Alamos National Laboratory has named John Sarrao as the new Associate Director for Theory, Simulation, and Computation (ADTSC). Sarrao joined the Laboratory in 1997 as a technical staff member in experimental condensed matter physics. He has held a variety of management positions including Materials Physics and Applications division leader. His most current position was LANL's DOE Office of Scienceprogram director, and director of the Material Radiation Interactions in Extremes (MaRIE) program (full story).
Defeating cyber-attacks with quantum cryptography

Uninterrupted electricity protects the nation's infrastructure and its computing and communication networks from malicious cyber attacks and accidental failures. But In today’s world of cyber-warfare -- phishing scams, logic bombs, Trojan horses, viruses and worms -- threats to the American power grid abound.

Using quantum cryptography, Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a method to detect and defeat an adversary intent on intercepting or attacking power grid communications (full story).

The Gate: Contemplating the secret portal that led to the atomic bomb

The place was so nondescript that in 1943 and 1944, many young people missed it and walked straight past it. These were young men (there were very few women among them) from diverse backgrounds. Many had been picked right out of universities for their particular talents.

All they had been asked to do was to take a train to Lamy and report to 109 East Palace. There, they would be given further instructions by Dorothy McKibben. She would send them to a place that no one had ever heard of (full story).

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