Friday, May 13, 2016

Science on the Hill: Gravitational waves open new window on universe

A simulation of two merging black holes, LIGO image.

Now that gravitational waves have been found, what can be done with them? Lots, it turns out, as these waves open a new window on the very large and very small workings of the universe.

Members of the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics at Los Alamos National Laboratory have worked for years to develop computer models of neutron stars and black holes, potential sources of the gravitational waves. Others in the Laboratory’s Space Science & Applications group and the Space & Remote Sensing group worked on instruments for observing related electromagnetic signals in research that followed the detection. (Full story)

Machine learning accelerates discovery of new materials

Researchers recently demonstrated how an informatics-based adaptive design strategy, tightly coupled to experiments, can accelerate the discovery of new materials with targeted properties, according to a recent paper published in Nature Communications.

"What we've done is show that, starting with a relatively small data set of well-controlled experiments, it is possible to iteratively guide subsequent experiments toward finding the material with the desired target," said Turab Lookman, a physicist and materials scientist in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

MRI to serve rural communities

Portable MRI prototype, LANL image.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have created a portable Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine for use in remote and underserved locations such as in the battlefield and in remote hospitals that lack large medical facilities found in rural areas in New Mexico.

The newly developed Battlefield MRI (bMRI) uses Ultra-Low Field (ULF) MRI to create images of injured soft tissues, such as the brain. Today, scientists are studying whether ULF MRI’s actually produce images with better contrast. (Full story)

Sen. Heinrich visits high tech startup Descartes Labs
From left, Harry Burgess, Steven Brumby, Sen.
Martin Heinrich, Susan O'Leary and Tim Glasco,
Daily Post photo.

Heinrich and staff stopped by the office of one of LDRD’s most recent success stories, Descartes Labs, a venture-backed start-up spun out of Los Alamos National Laboratory in December 2014.

Now ensconced in Los Alamos County’s model “smart house,” overlooking Los Alamos Canyon, Descartes Labs has quickly become a high-flyer in what co-founder Steven Brumby calls the “living map” business. (Full story)

What would happen if GPS failed?

GPS III Satellite, NASA Image.

Security officials have been concerned about the susceptibility of G.P.S. to spoofing since at least the early two-thousands. Fourteen years ago, a team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico, built a spoofer by modifying a G.P.S.-signal simulator (a legal device that tests receivers’ accuracy) and aiming it at a stationary receiver more than a mile away. The receiver’s display revealed that it believed it was zipping across the desert at six hundred miles per hour. (Full story)

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