Friday, August 28, 2009

NM researchers hope laser could help troops

Los Alamos National Laboratory explosives expert David Moore is driven by the almost nightly news about explosions targeting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. His team is working to develop a laser that could spot explosives from a safe distance - one goal calls for detection from 55 yards. "It's kind of a helpless feeling to see everything they (enemies) can do with a very simple weapon" such as a roadside bomb, he said (Full story).

Los Alamos scientist Louis Rosen dies at 91

Louis Rosen, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project and later created an influential neutron center at the facility, has died at age 91. Rosen was sent to an Albuquerque hospital after an apparent fall at his home Aug. 15. A granddaughter, Ambyr Hardy, said he was transferred to a Los Alamos rehabilitation center shortly before he died Thursday, surrounded by his family (Full story).

weapons labs determined to retain funding

As the US nuclear weapons budget has plunged over the past decade, the nation's three weapons laboratories are determined to hold onto a program that they say is now their only source of support dedicated to high-risk research that could have big payoffs (Full story).

High-efficiency solid-state lighting research receives funding

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, recently announced its commitment to fund two Single Investigator and Small Group Research projects at Los Alamos. Each project will be funded for up to three years (Full story).

Astronomers set their eyes on the sun, hope to gain understanding of space weather

Astronomers at New Mexico State University hope they will soon be able to better understand the depths of the sun and predict space weather with the help of two new grants with NASA and the National Science Foundation. The principle investigator on the projects is Patricia C. Hynes. Co-investigators include Joyce Guzik, with the Department of Energy at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Full story).

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please send an email here and include the words "subscribe losalamosreport" in the body of the message; to unsubscribe, include "unsubscribe losalamosreport."

Please visit us at

Friday, August 21, 2009

NM to compete for fed funds on smart grid project

A map of U.S. electric control area operators — systems at each CAO monitor the power grid activity and balance power supply with power demand. (DOE illustration)

New Mexico wants to give people greater control over how they use electricity in their homes through a demonstration project aimed at reducing demand and saving money.

The goal is to find out if people will use smart devices and how well. "Involving you in the decision-making, that's what smart grid's about," Los Alamos National Laboratory engineer Venkat Rao Dasari said. Read the Associated Press story at

Quakes known risk since geothermal inception
The LANL Hot Dry Rock pilot project at Fenton Hill, New Mexico, proved the technology is viable. (LANL illustration)

Drilling deep to tap the heat of ancient volcanoes for their virtually limitless energy began less than 40 years ago at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico.

An optimistic nuclear engineer named Don Brown knew that only 25 miles from the lab, at an altitude of 8,000 feet, a pine-studded area called Fenton Hill stood atop what was once a huge volcanic crater - the remains of a mountain that erupted millions of years ago.

See the whole San Francisco Chronicle story here.

Computational eudaemonics: expert happiness systems

This is an interview with Marko A. Rodriguez, a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Besides doing basic research on applied mathematics and computer science, he is doing work on computational eudaemonics--the use of computer algorithms to increase happiness by helping us make better decisions, even suggesting new options. Read the interview here.

To understand the universe, science calls on the ultrasmall

The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) under construction. Image from SNO.

"The neutrino has the smallest observed mass for any elementary particle, but they appear in such astonishing numbers in the universe that they are a large portion of its mass," said Steven Elliott, Ph.D. He is a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Read the Science Daily press release here.

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please e-mail and include the words subscribe los alamosreport in the body of your email message; to unscubscribe, include unsubscribe losalamosreport.

Please visit us at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Science key to nuclear labs future says Chu

In the first public meeting of the President's Council of Advisers in Science and Technology (PCAST), US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the loss of basic science and technology funding at the nuclear-weapons labs Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore have had an inverse effect in the labs ability to attract "the best and the brightest." (Read and be fulfilled!)

parasites explain cosmic flashes

"Where this model really shines is explaining the late emission," says Chris Fryer of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico - one of the physicists who first proposed the burrowing black hole theory in the 1990s. It remains to be seen if it can account for the extreme brightness seen at the beginning of gamma-ray bursts, he says. (Read the whole story!)

Supercomputer Visuals Without Graphics Chip

he obsolescence of graphics-processing clusters is being hastened by the rapidly accelerating data processing speed of supercomputers. Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Pat McCormick says that [Argonne researcher Tom] Peterka's direct data visualization effort is important because "these machines are getting so big that you really don't have a choice." (Read about it here.)

Professor works toward safer nuclear options

Research that Arizona State University faculty member Pedro Peralta is pursuing with Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists to make nuclear power use safer and more effective will get support from a recent U.S. Department of Energy grant. (Here's the scoop!)

Self-Assembly Approach to Raman Spectral-Encoder

A strategy for the synthesis of multiplexed spectral encoder beads based on combinations of different surface enhanced Raman (SERS) signatures generated by dye-functionalized Ag nanoparticle tags. (Read it here!)

LANL awards $400,000 to four new businesses

Los Alamos National Laboratory awarded approximately $100,000 each to four startup companies in northern New Mexico. The grants come from LANL's Venture Acceleration Fund, which provides investments of up to $100,000 to regional entrepreneurs, companies, investors or strategic partners who use LANL technology or expertise to create or grow local businesses. (Get the whole story here.)

Presidential Awards for Lab Scientists

President Obama recently named 2 Department of Energy lab scientists as winners of Presidential Awards. Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist Ivan Vitev received a prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Vitev is an expert in quantum chromodynamics, and in energy loss of high-energy particles in hot, dense matter. (Read all about it!)

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please send an email here and include the words "subscribe losalamosreport" in the body of the message; to unsubscribe, include "unsubscribe losalamosreport."

Please visit us at

Friday, August 7, 2009

LinkLos Alamos lab works to quicken disease monitoring

High throughput sequencing Lab undergoes testing at LANL. LANL Photo.

Two out of every three diseases in humans originated in animals - witness the current swine flu pandemic - and a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher believes that points to a need for better surveillance.

Tony Beugelsdijk, group leader for chemical diagnostics and engineering at the lab, envisions an automated network doing animal surveillance at a scale the world has never seen - able to sample not just hundreds or thousands but millions of animals and process samples quickly at a very low cost.

Read the whole story in the
San Francisco Chronicle. This also appeared in the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, and a variety of major city daily newspapers.

Los Alamos, Sandia get federal funds for projects

Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories are getting $56 million to fund three projects under a new initiative called Energy Frontier Research Centers.

Los Alamos is receiving $38 million, equally divided between projects to design better materials for converting sunlight into electricity and to study materials under extreme stress. See the
CNBC/Associated Press coverage here. This story also appeared in the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Research parks could help predict ecological impacts

A Mexican spotted owl on LANL property. LANL photo.

The Los Alamos park covers 28,400 acres of juniper-piƱon forest and grassland and is home to five vegetation zones.

There are more than 900 species of vascular plants, 57 species of mammals, more than 200 species of birds and a host of other wildlife.
Full story here.

UNM Cancer Center Designated as
NIH Center for Systems Biology

Center co-leaders include Drs. Bridget Wilson and Jeremy Edwards from the UNM Cancer Center, Dr. Stanly Steinberg from the UNM Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Dr. William Hlavacek from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Systems biology is an emerging field that integrates quantitative measurements, new technologies and computational modeling to answer questions about fundamental biological processes that take place in cells, tissues and organisms. See the
full story here.

Inside Look at Cellulose Provides Insight
into Cotton Crystals

Hydrogen bonds in plant cellulose. LANL illustration.

Using a neutron beam to study nanocrystals, researchers have provided new information about hydrogen bonds that connect the building blocks of cellulose, the main molecule in cotton fibers and most other plant cell walls.

The study was coauthored by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists with lead collaborators from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. See the
whole story here.

NASA/DOE team moving forward
on fission surface power technology

Notional Lunar Fission Surface Power System. Image from Space Fellowship.

The test loop at [NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center] included an electrically heated reactor simulator designed by Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM and an electromagnetic pump supplied by Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho. (Full Story)

LANL Foundation gets new appointees

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation has appointed five new members to its board of directors. The appointees are Julia T. Abeyta, Catherine Martinez Berryhill, Raymond M. Chavez, Richard A. Marquez, and Ginger Richardson. See the
News In Brief here.Link

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please e-mail and include the words subscribe los alamosreport in the body of your email message; to unscubscribe, include unsubscribe losalamosreport.

Please visit us at