Friday, April 12, 2013

Acequia Madre students to show off ‘Ciri’ at robotics competition

Sixth-graders Carmen Bella Moses, Jun-Hong Chen and Graham Purvis worked with Los Alamos National Laboratory engineer Mike Schoemaker. New Mexican photo.

Mike Schoemaker, who works as an engineer for Los Alamos National Laboratory, has served as a volunteer mentor for the Robo Rave team since it started working on Ciri back in February.

“I just gave them a little advice,” Schoemaker said Friday morning as the kids demonstrated Ciri’s potential in a trial run. “They took the lead. They really did most of this on their own.” Though robots have fascinated kids for decades, robotics classes and competitions are becoming more popular among students today, he noted. (Full Story)

Lab kits inspire students

Chimayó Elementary students Justin Martinez (left) and Manny Martinez pick the bones of a rodent out of an owl pellet, part of a third-grade inquiry science kit. RG Sun photo.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation showed off its Science Resource Center to the community April 4. Housed at the Manzana Center in Chimayó, the Center acts as a distribution center for science experiment kits.

Students from kindergarten to sixth grade work on hands-on science projects ranging from electricity and magnetism to animal studies. (Full Story)

Carlsbad middle school students spend spring break prepping for robot wars

They hope their hands-on experience in building a mini Sumovore will net them a win today at the Los Alamos National Lab Foundation's STEM program robotics competition. (Full Story)

Lightning strokes can probe the ionosphere

NOAA image.

Thunderstorms, and the resulting partially ionized plasma of the ionosphere, can distort radio signals traveling to satellites important to communications, navigation or national security

Los Alamos researchers and a collaborator have made measurements during thunderstorms to study the affect of lightning on the lower ionosphere and radio frequency signals. (Full Story)

Remaining Martian atmosphere still dynamic

Maurice at the Curiosity landing event.  LANL image.

Dust distributed by the wind has been examined by Curiosity’s laser-firing Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument, developed by scientists at Los Alamos and in France. Initial laser pulses on each target hit dust.

“We knew that Mars is red because of iron oxides in the dust,” said Sylvestre Maurice from the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France. “ChemCam reveals a complex chemical composition of the dust.” (Full Story)

Antibody evolution could guide HIV vaccine development

HIV researcher Bette Korber. LANL photo.

Observing the evolution of a particular type of antibody in an infected HIV-1 patient, a study spearheaded by Duke University, including analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratory, has provided insights that will enable vaccination strategies that mimic the actual antibody development within the body.     

Patients early in HIV-1 infection have primarily a single “founder” form of the virus that has been strong enough to infect the patient, even though the population in the originating patient is usually far more diverse. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Packed house at Bradbury

U.S. Air Force Colonel Paul Tibbets IV at the Bradbury Science Museum in downtown Los Alamos.  From the Monitor.

Colonel Paul Tibbets, IV, the grand son of the Enola Gay’s pilot, shared personal remembrances of his grandfather’s military career at a lecture Wednesday night in front of a packed house at Bradbury Museum.

The lecture was the latest in a year-long series of talks at the Bradbury to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

New Mexico labs fare well in Obama budget

Los Alamos National Laboratory.  LANL photo.               

Los Alamos National Laboratory would see a 7 percent budget increase, while spending for Sandia National Laboratories would remain basically flat under the Obama administration budget plan unveiled Wednesday.

The Department of Energy spending proposal requests $1.96 billion for Los Alamos and $1.8 billion for Sandia in fiscal year 2014.

Total spending for cleanup of radioactive waste at Los Alamos would rise 16 percent, to $215 million. (Full Story)

$31.8M more for Lab Cleanup

TRU waste packaged in steel barrels, awaiting transport to WIPP. LANL photo.

The Obama administration’s proposed federal budget includes a $31.8 million increase for cleanup of radioactive and other wastes at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

For the 2014 fiscal year, Obama is asking for $219.8 million for “defense environmental cleanup” at LANL, including about $4 million for administration.

That’s up from $188 million in the current budget year. (Full Story)

Also from the Journal this week:

DOE nominee Moniz offers strong support for nuke weapons mission

Ernest Moniz at his confirmation hearing. U.S. Senate Photo.

Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy, served up a strong statement in defense of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex at his confirmation hearing in Washington this morning.

“DOE expertise, to a large extent drawing on the knowledge skills and commitment of our national laboratory scientists and a technically versed intelligence group, is critical to our national defense,” Moniz told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (Full Story)

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