Friday, April 18, 2008

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for April 14-18

Anastasio testifies before Senate subcommittee

Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio testifies along with the directors of Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national labs before the Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 16, 2008. Read Anastasio's written testimony.

Climate Models Match Well
With Current Observations
Future predictions are less certain

More than a dozen centers around the world develop climate models to enhance our understanding of climate change and serve as the basis for policy decisions. But just how good are those models, and can they truly be relied upon? A new study by meteorologists at the University of Utah shows that current climate models are quite accurate and can be valuable tools for those seeking solutions to global warming trends. "Coupled models are becoming increasingly reliable tools for understanding climate and climate change, and the best models are now capable of simulating present-day climate with accuracy approaching conventional atmospheric observations," said Thomas Reichler of Utah’s Department of Meteorology. "We can now place a much higher level of confidence in model-based projections of climate change than in the past." See the story here.

Lab scientists say estimates of HIV progression fell short
Discovery on disease's spread suggests i
t will be tougher to combat

When it comes to understanding HIV, looking at the big picture sometimes isn't enough. What's really needed to understand how truly prolific the virus is, is to look at the big movie. That's what Los Alamos National Laboratories researcher Alan Perelson did when he was trying to figure out how fast the disease replicates throughout the human body. And it turns out the big movie — a lifetime history of how the disease spreads from a single cell — shows that HIV spreads a lot more quickly than anybody previously thought. See the New Mexican story here.

Tunable metamaterial zips 'terahertz gap'

U.S. scientists say they've created a unique metamaterial that can be tuned over a range of frequencies in the so-called "terahertz gap." The team of researchers from Boston College, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Boston University said they incorporated semiconducting materials in critical regions of tiny metallic split-ring resonators that interact with light in order to tune metamaterials beyond their fixed point on the electromagnetic spectrum. See the full story.

Mapmaker for the World of Influenza

Derek Smith didn't want to do rocket science--literally. That's how he ended up becoming an internationally recognized expert in influenza virus evolution. Smith wanted to create clear, accessible influenza maps. Just as mathematicians can reconstruct a decent map of a country from the distance table in the back of a road atlas, it should be possible to map influenza strains based solely on each strain's antigenic distance from the others, he says. So in 1999, Smith teamed up with Alan Lapedes, a mathematician at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who, with Robert Farber, had laid part of the theoretical groundwork for such maps. Read the whole story here.

Students showcase research at Supercomputing Challenge Expo

More than 250 New Mexico middle- and high-school students and their teachers are at the Laboratory next Monday and Tuesday (April 21-22) for judging and the awards ceremony in the 18th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge. Forty-seven teams are involved in the competition, said David Kratzer of High Performance Computing Systems (HPC-3), Laboratory coordinator of the Supercomputing Challenge. Another 40 Growing Up Thinking Scientifically (GUTS) teams also are presenting projects that they have been working on for several months, he said. Read the LANL Daily NewsBulletin