Friday, April 27, 2018

Supercomputers Tackle Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbugs’

Acne, bronchitis, pink eye, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases are just a few of the illnesses treatable by antibiotics — assuming that the bacteria that cause these illnesses are not resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to public health, occurs when antibiotics are unable to kill the bacteria causing an infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year in the United States at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. (Full story)


Earth-modeling System steps up to Exascale

A new Earth-modeling system unveiled today will have
weather-scale resolution and use advanced computers
to simulate aspects of Earth.

E3SM is a state-of-the-science modeling project that uses the world’s fastest computers to more accurately understand how Earth’s climate work and can evolve into the future. The goal: to support DOE’s mission to plan for robust, efficient, and cost-effective energy infrastructures now, and into the distant future.

This multilaboratory effort will be a huge advance in our already important capabilities for Earth-systems modeling and energy-related analysis,” said John Sarrao, Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology and Engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Our laboratory, along with our sister institutions, has made significant contributions to Earth-systems modeling over the previous decades, but this latest contribution takes our work to an entirely new level.” (Full story)

‘SuperCam’ Update: Multi-purpose Instrument Coming Together for 2020 Launch to Mars

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover’s SuperCam instrument will have both infrared and green laser beams for remote analysis of chemistry by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and mineral analyses with remote Raman spectroscopy. The red and green beams are fired at different times. The various green beams represent a scan of the target, performed using sequential laser pulses. 

Excitement is building within the SuperCam team as the instrument enters the final stages of assembly and testing toward an anticipated launch aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. Just this month, the two major parts of an advanced engineering model were delivered and integrated for realistic performance testing. (Full story)

Nipping frost in the bud
Tirtha Banerjee

Weather in high-elevation terrain makes northern New Mexico a challenging place to grow an orchard with apples, apricots, cherries or peaches for market. Such a landscape creates significant daily temperature swings with frosts occurring late into the spring, resulting in challenging conditions for fruit growing.

Changes in climate patterns add to these challenges. In particular, warm periods arrive earlier in the spring, causing the budding process in fruit trees to start earlier. This leads to two disadvantages for the tree: first, warmer nights can prevent internal processes in plants that harden the buds to withstand late-season frosts. In a compounding effect, the less hardy buds still have to contend with late-season frosts. In Albuquerque and Santa Fe, for example, there is no evidence that the last frost date is moving earlier in the year. (Full story)

Science Cafe Spotlights Mars Curiosity Scientist
Roger Wiens

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Los Alamos National Laboratory Scientist Roger Wiens about his ChemCam, the Mars Rover Mission, and more ahead of his visit to The Science Center of Southern Illinois for this month's Science Cafe. (Full story)

Science Fairness
Students watch a science demonstration at the 2017
Summer Physics Camp for Young Women.
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Anna Llobet Megias heard the call and last year created a physics camp for young women, which is currently accepting applicants for its second season this summer. A scientist in the lab's Neutron Science and Technology group, Llobet Megias said the camp grew out of the awareness of the need to provide STEM education opportunities for young women combined with an assessment of what specific needs exist in Northern New Mexico.

The camp is ambitious, providing a variety of activities, talks and opportunities. Last summer, Llobet Megias says, participants designed rockets, experimented with optics, and learned about electromagnetism from super conductors. They had lectures on everything from the Mars rover to coding. Attendees also visit LANL on a field trip. (Full story)