Friday, April 24, 2015

Atomic labs across the U.S. race to stop Iran

Los Alamos National Laboratory.  LANL photo.

When diplomats at the Iran talks in Switzerland pummeled Department of Energy scientists with difficult technical questions — like how to keep Iran’s nuclear plants open but ensure that the country was still a year away from building a bomb — the scientists at times turned to a secret replica of Iran’s nuclear facilities built deep in the forests of Tennessee.

The classified replica is but one part of an extensive crash program within the nation’s nine atomic laboratories — Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Livermore among them — to block Iran’s nuclear progress. (Full Story)

Portable MRI could aid wounded soldiers and children in the third world

Second generation “unshielded” MRI system at Los Alamos. LANL image.          

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra low-field MRI system that could be low power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World’s poorest regions.

"MRI technology is a powerful medical diagnostic tool," said Michelle Espy, the Battlefield MRI (bMRI) project leader, "ideally suited for imaging soft-tissue injury, particularly to the brain." (Full Story)

Also in R&D Magazine & Watch the video on YouTube

Infrasonic sound waves could help detect Venusian seismic activity

Illustration shows how scientists might detect an earthquake on Venus. Keck Institute image.

Detecting an "earthquake" on Venus would seem to be an impossible task. The planet's surface is a hostile zone of crushing pressure and scorching temperatures.

In recent years, says Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Stephen Arrowsmith, infrasonic observations have undergone a renaissance of sorts, especially as a relatively inexpensive way to monitor atmospheric nuclear weapons tests.

Arrowsmith and colleagues say that barometric pressure changes might be detected with a series of balloons in the Venus cloud layer at 55 kilometers above the surface. (Full Story)

Landscapes we don’t want to lose: New Mexico’s Jemez mountains

The changing landscape of the Jemez Mountains, from The Guardian.              

As Earth Day turns 45, share your story about the natural – or urban – landscape you want to save. Here, Nate McDowell, a tree physiologist in New Mexico, explains how a warming climate is irreversibly altering an ancient ecosystem.  McDowell has been researching how and why trees die at Los Alamos National Laboratory for many years, and is working with other scientists across the planet to better understand the connection between drought, climate change, and forest mortality. (Full Story)

Earth Day: Biophysics research on biofuels

Cellulose bonds, LANL image.            

In honor of Earth Day, we spoke with Biophysical Society member Gnana S. Gnanakaran of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) about his research on biofuels and the role of LANL in pioneering biofuel research.

What is the connection between your research and biofuels?

Cellulose, an assembly of glucose polymers, is a vital renewable energy resource originating from plants. A major barrier for biofuel production is the efficient extraction of cellulose fibers from biomass and their degradation to glucose. (Full Story)

Just your typical New Mexico image recognition startup

Genie software. LANL image.

The company in question is Descartes Labs, and there's a very good reason why it's in Los Alamos. It aims to commercialize image-recognition technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) under the supervision of Steven Brumby.  He joined the Laboratory in 1998 and co-invented GENIE, an image-analysis software that was capable of identifying elements such as water and beaches in satellite photos. (Full Story)

Monte del Sol duo win top award at Supercomputing Challenge

Katelynn James (left) and Meghan Hill, LANL photo.

Two Santa Fe students took top honors Tuesday at the 25th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge at Los Alamos National Laboratory with a project exploring how tiny robots could kill cancer cells.

Meghan Hill and Katelynn James, both 18 and seniors at Monte del Sol Charter School, won out over 240 other students from 64 teams and schools across the state. It was the first time the duo had entered the Supercomputing Challenge. (Full Story)

Future Supercomputers Grow Out of File Systems, Into DAOS

Los Alamos National Laboratory was the originator of the burst buffer concept to boost I/O on large supercomputers, but the plan was always to see this storage tier as something that could tie off other data movement bottlenecks and find real use within applications.  Gary Grider, head of high performance computing at Los Alamos, says that exascale systems simply will not use file systems at all. (Full Story)

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