Friday, June 10, 2016

Scientists at US national labs thrive on discretionary funding

Albert Migliori, LANL image.

The opportunity to follow their curiosity keeps researchers connected to the greater scientific community.“You can start a program out of thin air—the lab will back you for a while if your idea is compelling,” says Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Albert Migliori. “But you’d better have a compelling elevator speech.”

For one LDRD project, Los Alamos’s Chris Fryer and colleagues took computer algorithms they were working on for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Livermore and applied them to simulate photon emissions from supernovae. (Full story)

New tech fights fires before they start

The Lab's "Sim Table," LANL image.                  

Lyle Cary, division leader for security and emergency operations at Los Alamos, explains the use of the Simtable at the Laboratory to determine where fires are most likely to start and how they will behave.

"We can run dozens and dozens of simulations on this table," said Cary. Using the latest information about past fire behavior and current terrain and weather conditions, the device is used as a preventative tool. "It allows us to identify areas for treatment and mitigation in advance of an event," said Cary. (Full story)

 Unsafe material moved to LANL

Gov. Martinez at a Los Alamos news
conference. LANL image.   

A drum of highly radioactive material stood idle in a warehouse across from an elementary school on Santa Fe’s south side for more than 10 years, according to the state Environment Department, but state officials say that material is now safely at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Environment Department announced at LANL’s J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center that a drum with 2.1 grams of the synthetic radioactive element americium, which is typically used in household smoke detectors, was moved from a Thermo Fisher Scientific warehouse. (Full story)

State orders radioactive material removed from warehouse

A building owned by Thermo Fisher Scientific in
Santa Fe, New Mexican photo.

A drum containing radioactive material used in smoke detectors and other equipment was finally taken to Los Alamos National Laboratory in February.

The drum contained 2.1 grams of americium. “We are in the process of evaluating the material and will determine its final disposition at a later time,” a Los Alamos National Laboratory spokesman said about whether the lab will repurpose the americium and use it in research. (Full story)

Also on KOAT-TV

OptoSigma advanced optics for NASA’s new Mars rover

ChemCam, the forerunner of
SuperCam, LANL image.

The SuperCam is the result of a cooperation between teams led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL, New Mexico, US) and the Astrophysics and Planetology Research Institute (IRAP, Toulouse, France).

The instrument will use remote optical measurements and laser spectroscopy to determine fine-scale mineralogy, chemistry, and atomic and molecular composition of samples encountered on Mars. To enable these measurements, SuperCam is, in fact, many instruments in one. (Full story)

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