Friday, July 19, 2013

National labs studying hurricane season to identify vulnerabilities

File photo
As hurricane season in the U.S. builds, typically peaking between August and September, a research and analysis project jointly-housed by Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory is seeking to minimize the damage and maximize readiness.

The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center, operated by the Department of Homeland Security, studies how hurricanes and other disasters disrupt critical infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water systems. NISAC conducts annual analyses of probable impacts on the Gulf Coast and East Coast. Then, when hurricane threats become imminent, it provides analysis used in crisis response.

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Researchers Shed New Light On Supraglacial Lake Drainage

Meltwater running off into a moulin after the drainage of Lake Ponting. (Credit: Photo by Dr. Marco Tedesco)

Supraglacial lakes -- bodies of water that collect on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet -- lubricate the bottom of the sheet when they drain, causing it to flow faster. Differences in how the lakes drain can impact glacial movement's speed and direction, researchers from The City College of New York (CCNY), University of Cambridge and Los Alamos National Laboratory report in Environmental Research Letters.

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Los Alamos Partners with Colorado School of Mines in $1.2M Clean-Energy Project

Professor Emmanuel De Moor performing heat treatments of machined tensile specimens using molten salt to provide fast and controlled temperature changes to match the “Quench & Partitioning” processing requirements. LANL Photo.

Higher-strength, lighter-weight steels could be coming to a car near you in the near future as part of a U.S. Department of Energy advanced manufacturing initiative. Los Alamos National Laboratory and Colorado School of Mines (CSM) researchers are lending their expertise to a three-year, $1.2 million project to develop a new class of advanced steels for the automotive industry, materials that will be produced using cleaner manufacturing methods and eliminating the traditional heat-treatment and associated costs and hazards of the process.

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Are Neutrinos Their Own Antiparticles?

The GERDA experiment at the Gran Sasso lab in Italy has all but ruled out earlier claims for neutrinoless double-beta decay. Photo: The University of Tübingen

A long-standing controversy among particle physicists looks to be settled—in the less exciting way—thanks to new data from an ultrasensitive particle detector deep underground. Physicists operating the GERmanium Detector Array (GERDA) 1400 meters down in Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory say that they see no signs of a hypothesized type of nuclear decay called neutrinoless double-beta decay that, were it conclusively observed, would almost certainly merit a Nobel Prize…

…The latest results are "very exciting," says Steven Elliott, a neutrino physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, but they may not quite provide the final word on the matter. "The data indicate that the past claim is very unlikely to be correct," he says. "But there might still be some wiggle room due to the low statistics involved."

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Enabling time travel for the scholarly web

Herbert Van de Sompel. LANL Photo.

An international team of information scientists has begun a two-year study to investigate how web links in scientific and other academic articles fail to lead to the resources being referenced.

This is the focus of the Hiberlink project in which the team from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Edinburgh will assess the extent of “reference rot” using a vast corpus of online scholarly work. It is funded by a grant of $500,000 (£310,000) from the US-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, coordinated by EDINA, the designated online services center at the University of Edinburg, which serves the needs of universities and colleges across the UK. 

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International Team comes together to Study Demand Response Impacts at New Mexico Utility

Solar panels under construction in 2012. Los Alamos County photo.

Toshiba Corporation and Landis+Gyr team up with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the University of Kyoto, and Los Alamos County to study demand response pricing programs. Utilizing smart meters and customer volunteers, the partners will study how consumers respond to variable pricing per kilowatt hour and how this impacts their electric demand during the summer months.

The research will begin in late July and run through September. The demand response pricing research is a component of the U.S.-Japan Demonstration Smart Grid Project in Los Alamos. Constructed for a consortium of partners representing NEDO, Los Alamos County, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the smart grid test bed demonstrates a high penetration of renewable energy on an electric grid to meet a residential community's needs.

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Mudundi R. Raju Receives Padma Shri Award: Los Alamos retiree brings medical advances to poor of India

President of India Pranab Mukherjee presents the Padma Shri award to former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Mudundi Raju. M. Raju photo

The government of India honored former Los Alamos scientist and Laboratory Fellow Mudundi Raju with a Padma Shri award this year for his distinguished service in science and engineering, providing cancer radiation treatment to the poor of rural India.

“The aim of science is to improve the human condition,” said Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine, and Raju has taken this statement to heart. Raju works “with a hope to build a small bridge between rapid developments in medical advances and the life of a common man,” he said, and he is an internationally known scientist in the field of radiation treatments for cancer. He retired from the Laboratory in 1994 to devote himself to providing appropriate cancer radiation treatment to residents of rural India.

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