Friday, October 16, 2020

Los Alamos scientist ready to rock


Lanza, center, during an Antarctic expedition in 2016. From the New Mexican.


Stars and distant worlds have fascinated Nina Lanza since she was a child, inspiring her to become a planetary scientist.


Lanza, 41, now plans to lead a seven-person team from Los Alamos National Laboratory on a two-week Arctic expedition to better understand Mars, including the type of life that might’ve thrived there eons ago. To assist the endeavor, The Explorers Club and Discovery Channel awarded a $112,000 grant to the project, with the chief aim of developing new methods for probing Mars’ geology.


The team will travel to the Haughton meteorite impact crater on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic in July, when snow is the thinnest, making it easier to work and more comfortable to camp. (Full Story)


LANL inventiveness is simply out of this world


The OrganiCam is designed to scan for biological samples on Mars, LANL photo.


While Los Alamos National Laboratory is known for its national security efforts and the hand it plays in developing the country’s nuclear stockpile, it’s also engaged in research and development efforts that are truly out of this world.


Two recent winners of R&D 100 Awards – the so-called “Oscars of Invention” – are efforts initiated by research and development teams at the lab, and are focused on what goes on in Earth’s atmosphere and on Mars.


The OrganiCam and Multi-Burn Solid Rocket were among eight R&D 100 winners presented by R&D World magazine that were based at LANL. (Full Story)


A "five-day switch" plan for school reopenings during COVID-19


Ten months into the pandemic, schools are cautiously reopening in some countries. Researchers led by Courtney Shelley from the Analytics, Intelligence, and Technology Division, Information Systems and Modeling Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, United States of America, worked on mathematical predictions that could predict the safety of reopening schools in the U.S. Their study titled, “Safely Reopening K-12 Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is published preprint at the website medRxiv*.


This study looked at the school reopening plans from different U.S. regions and districts and identified common factors. Some of the popular reopening plans the researchers write include: traditional five-day per week attendance at 100% school capacity, two cohort half-capacity plans with students alternating days in attendance, and one day per grade, 20% capacity plans. (Full Story)

What may come from Exascale?


Molecular dynamics simulations can predict the damage that is done the first picoseconds after a fast, energetic, particle collides with a material—such as in a nuclear reactor—and then how this damage either accumulates or repairs itself. Such a capability has big implications for making advances in nuclear fission and fusion.


“These simulations give you a picture that would have been almost impossible to get otherwise,” said Danny Perez, a Los Alamos National Laboratory technical staff member at the helm of an ECP project created to expand the scope of molecular dynamics simulations. (Full Story)


Manvendra Dubey and team study makeup, movement, air quality impacts of smoke


Inside the Laboratory's Center for Aerosol-Gas Forensics (CAFÉ), LANL photo.


When experts in atmospheric chemistry, climate and meteorology weighed in at a Sept. 23-25 National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine virtual workshop on improving understanding and forecasting of the air quality impacts of wildland fires, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Manvendra Dubey was there to contribute to the discussion.


“I run a small but tight team that looks at both smoke and aerosol greenhouse gases for climate, energy and air quality and make sure we are all safe. I’m an experimentalist by training and my goal is to improve models,” Dubey told the Los Alamos Reporter in a phone interview. (Full Story)


And three more from the Reporter this week:


LANL’s Evelyn Mullen named American Nuclear Society Fellow


Mullen, LANL photo.


Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society for her leadership in nuclear national security and ensuring the nation’s experimental capability in nuclear criticality.


“For more than 25 years, Evelyn Mullen has displayed outstanding leadership in nuclear and radiological threat response,” said Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate Laboratory director for Global Security at Los Alamos. “She has provided intellectual leadership for planning and executing science and technology for nuclear nonproliferation, detection, render safe, and attribution; foreign nuclear weapon analysis; and nuclear detonation response and recovery issues. Being named an ANS Fellow is a well-deserved honor for someone who has contributed so much to the field.” (Full Story)


Seven Los Alamos scientists and engineers honored as 2020 Laboratory Fellows


Top row from left, Bhattacharya, Fontes, Jordanova, and Leitner. Bottom row from left Menikoff,  Martz and Lestone, LANL photos.


Seven Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and engineers have been named 2020 Laboratory Fellows: Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Christopher Fontes, Vania Jordanova, Thomas Leitner, John Lestone, Joseph Martz and Ralph Menikoff.


“Recognizing the Fellows of Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of my proudest responsibilities. To be a Fellow is to be a leader at the Laboratory and within the scientific community at large,” said Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Thank you to this year’s seven Fellows for their dedication and exceptional contributions.” (Full Story)


Six Los Alamos National Laboratory physicists elected 2020 Fellows of the American Physical Society


Top fom left, Chacon, Favalli, and Ralph Menikoff. Bottom row: Palounek, Sinitsyn, and Uberuaga.  LANL photos.


Six Los Alamos National Laboratory physicists have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society this year. The Lab’s 2020 APS Fellows are Luis Chacon, Andrea Favalli, Ralph Menikoff, Andrea Palounek, Nikolai Sinitsyn, and Blas Uberuaga.


“I’m pleased to see six members of our technical staff recognized through their election as Fellows of the American Physical Society this year,” said John Sarrao, deputy director for Science, Technology and Engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “No more than one half of one percent of APS members are elected to the APS Fellowship annually. The honor bestowed on our scientists shows that the physics community highly values the contributions our newly minted APS Fellows have made to science and society." (Full Story)



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Friday, October 9, 2020

LANL scientist studying effects of wildfire smoke
Smoke rises from the Medio Fire, Journal photo.

It is not too surprising that nearby major forest fires – such as this summer’s Rio Medio Fire – spew particulates into the air that can affect health. But even fires 1,000 miles away can also have detrimental health effects.


It is something that Manvendra Dubey, a Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow, is starting to study full-time, since just how serious those health problems can be is still not completely clear. “Smoke is a problem, the aerosols, including biomass burning,” he said. “One of the questions is how dark is the smoke. If it’s white, what does that mean? It’s complicated. (Full story)



New algorithm could unleash the power of quantum computers


Shutterstock illustration.


A new algorithm that fast forwards simulations could bring greater use ability to current and near-term quantum computers, opening the way for applications to run past strict time limits that hamper many quantum calculations.


"Quantum computers have a limited time to perform calculations before their useful quantum nature, which we call coherence, breaks down," said Andrew Sornborger of the Computer, Computational, and Statistical Sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and senior author on a paper announcing the research. (Full story)


Also from HPCwire



Scientists studying possible connection between New Mexico rocks and life on Mars


Laser zapping rocks in the Los Alamos SuperCam lab.  LANL image.


Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are working to get a better idea of the past life on Mars and they’re using parts of New Mexico’s own desert to do it. The possibility of life on Mars is still a mystery to most scientists. Exploration missions like NASA’s “Perseverance Rover” landing in 2021 are making those discoveries.


“We’ve spent a lot of time studying the surface of Mars so we know there’s not macroscopic life-like trees or dinosaurs,” said Dr. Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “There could still be microscopic life today" (Full story)



Irene Qualters’ long view of HPC, from a start-up called Cray to today’s ‘no-analog’ research at Los Alamos

Qualters interviewed by Inside HPC's Doug Black. 

From Inside HPC.

Irene Qualters, a senior-level manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has been at the forefront of the convergence of supercomputing and science for decades, extending back to joining Cray as one of that company’s first 100 employees. Few members of the HPC community can match her wealth of experience and wisdom regarding the future of scientific computing and its “no-analog” physics-informed AI exploration of problems confronting our planet, such as climate change. (Full story)



 Los Alamos to lead fuel cell consortia


Rod Borup, LANL photo.


The new consortia, funded by the DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, will kick off in early 2021. The three multi-laboratory consortia support EERE’s H2@Scale vision and will include approximately $109 million in R&D government funding over 5 years.


“Los Alamos National Lab is proud to be involved in these three consortia, both as co-leads and as a partner,” said Rod Borup, program manager. “These are the joint research projects that address both near-term commercialization needs, and the longer-term R&D which will make fuel cells competitive to today’s internal-combustion engines in terms of efficiency, overall cost of ownership, and importantly, zero-emissions." (Full story)



 Eight Los Alamos National Laboratory projects win R&D 100 Awards

Los Alamos National Laboratory technologies brought in eight R&D 100 Awards and Special Recognition Awards, including a Gold Award for Corporate Social Responsibility, Gold and Silver Awards for Market Disruptor – Services, and a Bronze Award for Green Technology, presented ByR&D World magazine. 


The eight winning projects are, Amanzi-ATS, Cluster Integrity, Exception Resolution and Reclustering Algorithm (CIERRA) , Legion: a data-centric HPC programming system, Multi-Burn Solid Rocket, OrganiCam, QUIC-Fire, Smart Microbial Cell Technology, and Spectroscopic Detection of Nerve Agents (SEDONA). (Full story)


Also from the Reporter this week:


LANL, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and NVIDIA partner to speed up scientific computing


Los Alamos National Laboratory is partnering with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NVIDIA to focus on delivering next-generation technologies to accelerate scientific computing. New developments will include innovative high-performance computing (HPC) technology efforts to advance greater performance efficiency, workflow efficiency and analytics. Additional details on the collaboration will be unveiled this fall.


“We are excited to be part of this long-term collaboration. Together, we can accelerate the adoption of new HPC advancements and technologies that enable efficient computing for future HPC applications,” said John Sarrao, Deputy Laboratory Director for Science, Technology and Engineering at Los Alamos. (Full story)

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