Friday, October 28, 2016

Guest Column: Keeping nuclear materials secure in an uncertain world

IAEA headquarters in Vienna, IAEA photo.       

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Vienna have been spending a lot of time in Iran – But how do the inspectors know what to look for? They come to Los Alamos National Laboratory to learn how.

Los Alamos started teaching a special course for IAEA inspectors in 1980, and since then, all IAEA inspectors have been trained at the Laboratory. What they learn takes their initial training, which tells them how to take measurements and follow procedures, to the next level. (Full story)

Los Alamos disease-fighting technology
showing promise

Citrus plants treated with immunity
technology, from Innate Immunity, LLC.

A pathogen-carrying pest known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter has plagued grape vines in California for more than century, but a new technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory could soon turn sharpshooter ammunition into blanks.

A new startup, Los Alamos-based Innate Immunity LLC, is now working with industry leaders on field trials before broadly deploying the technology to protect California’s $30 billion wine industry. (Full story)


Flash Physics: CubeSats could soon self-propel

Rocket motor test firing, LANL image.

CubeSats – small, low-cost satellites – could soon become self-propelled, thanks to a rocket-motor concept developed by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US. While CubeSats are a cheap and easy way for relatively small research groups to launch satellites and access space, they traditionally do not have any on-board propulsion system – the nanosatellites are usually launched via a larger satellite and simply released into a specific orbit. (Full story)

Also from New Atlas:

Geomagnetic storm could affect connection

A moderate geomagnetic storm is currently sweeping
the Northern Hemisphere, from Laboratory Equipment.

Experts at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are investigating the national-security implications of solar storms in a program called “Impacts of Extreme Space Weather Events on Power Grid Infrastructure: Physics-Based Modeling of Geomagnetically-Induced Currents During Carrington-Class Geomagnetic Storms,” begun last month.

The three-year Los Alamos program will determine what transformers, circuits, stations and conduits could be fried by a flare-up from the sun, according to Mike Henderson, leader of the program. (Full story)


 The prize on the horizon

Sara Del Valle at the Expanding Your
Horizons Conference, Daily Post photo.

The first thing that happened [at the Expanding Your Horizons conference in Santa Fe] was a talk by a super-mathematician who works at Los Alamos National Laboratory named Sara Del Valle; the keynote speaker could not have been more inspiring.

When her family moved to the United States, she was only 16 and she had to learn English in two years, if she wanted to go to college, but she did it. Her advice is, “Keep calm and study hard.”

She loved math, but she didn’t know what she wanted to study. A good idea that helped her was, “Find a mentor.” Like who? Like somebody you look up to, like a role model. (Full story)

Also from the Daily Post this week:

Los Alamos honors four new research fellows

Top row: Preston and Hollingsworth.
Bottom row: Wiens and Crooker. LANL image.

Four distinguished Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are being recognized as Fellows of the Laboratory this fall including Scott Crooker, Jennifer Hollingsworth, Dean Preston and Roger Wiens.

The Fellows organization at Los Alamos was established in 1981 and includes technical staff members who have been appointed by the Laboratory director in recognition of their sustained outstanding contributions and exceptional promise for continued professional achievement.

“Laboratory Fellows are selected for their exceptional contributions to Laboratory science and mission,” Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said. (Full story)

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