Friday, August 23, 2013
New Gamma-Ray observatory begins operations at Sierra Negra Volcano
The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma Ray Observatory has begun formal operations at its site in Mexico. HAWC is designed to study the origin of very high-energy cosmic rays.
"The HAWC observatory will search for signals from dark matter and to study some of the most extreme objects in the universe, such as supermassive black holes and exploding stars," said Brenda Dingus, principal investigator and a research fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (full story)
Also from PhysOrg this week:
3-D Earth model more accurately pinpoints source of earthquakes, explosions
Under the sponsorship of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory have partnered to develop a 3-D model of the Earth's mantle and crust called SALSA3D, or Sandia-Los Alamos 3D.
The purpose of this model is to assist the US Air Force and the international Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, Austria, more accurately locate all types of explosions. (full story)
New Gamma-Ray Observatory Begins Operations at Sierra Negra Volcano
The High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma Ray Observatory has begun formal operations at its site in Mexico. HAWC is designed to study the origin of very high-energy cosmic rays and observe the most energetic objects in the known universe. This extraordinary observatory, using a unique detection technique that differs from the classical astronomical design of mirrors, lenses, and antennae, is a significant boost to international scientific and technical knowledge.
“The HAWC observatory will search for signals from dark matter and to study some of the most extreme objects in the universe, such as supermassive black holes and exploding stars,” said Brenda Dingus, principal investigator and a research fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dingus is a Fellow of the American PhysicalSociety, and in 2000 was a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. (full story)
Fukushima may use cosmic rays to assess nuclear reactor damage
Back in 2011, a nuclear reactor inFukushima melted down due to the after effects of a tsunami. When a nuclear reactor melts down, that leaves quite a bit of radiation floating around as well as hazards — like pools contaminated with spent fuel rods — which make it difficult to assess the full extent of the damage. In turn, that also makes it difficult to figure out exactly how to handle the cleaning process. A team from Los Alamos NationalLaboratory (LANL) is now working with Fukushima officials to use cosmic rays to see into the reactor to provide a clear picture of the damage. (full story)
This scientist helped quietly save the world from Soviet nukes
When the Soviet Union broke apart at the end of the Cold War, several of its military and science facilities fell into disrepair. One of them, the Semipalatinsk Test Site, just happened to be a nuclear test site the size of New Jersey and filled with leftover nuclear material.
A former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Siegfried Hecker became interested in Semipatalinsk after Kairat Kadyrzhanov, director of the Kazakh Institute of Nuclear Physics, visited Los Alamos. (full story)
Neutron study aims to improve HIV drugs
A neutron study of a common component of HIV drugs has revealed that the component is not as good at bonding as had been thought.
Anna Llobet, an expert in neutron scattering at Los Alamos National Laboratory says that the latest ILL study is one of just a handfulthat have used neutrons to examine the effectiveness of drug interactions with disease targets. (full story)
Cosmic Rays may reveal damage to Fukushima’s nuclear reactors
Technology capable of harnessing the high-energy muon particles comes from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Shortly after 9/11, the U.S. lab developed a muon detector that could spot uranium or plutonium nuclear weapons hidden inside cargo containers.
“It sounds pretty outrageous if someone says, ‘I can see through that 2 meters of concrete and 8 inches of steel and see the core of the reactors with detectors sitting outside your building,’” said LANL physicist Christopher Morris. (full story)
NMSP bomb tream trains with fake traps
Chris Ory, part of LANL’s Hazardous Material Team, has set up 10 devices in the two-room home. The front room is meant to be a meth lab, while the back room is staged as a lab for making homemade explosives.
"Some of the devices I used today were used in Afghanistan or Iraq and then there were other ones that were real simple that are normally used in drug labs throughout the United States," Ory said. (full story)
Meltwater from Greenland’s ice sheet less severe than earlier feared
The effects of increased melting on the future motion of and sea-level contribution from Greenland’s massive ice sheet are not quite as dire as previously thought, according to a new study.
“Scientists have been looking into this mechanism for about a decade now, as a means by which the Greenland ice sheet might decayfaster than expected,” said co-author Stephen Price of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Climate Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling Project team. (full story)
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