Friday, September 25, 2009

Defense chief calls for more spending on labs

The Obama administration's top defense official says spending at U.S. nuclear weapons labs should be increased, and that newly designed nuclear warheads "probably" will be needed. (Full story—subscription or advertisement viewing required for access.)

Also from this week's Albuquerque Journal

Stimulus funds to clean up LANL

More than $200 million of funds from the federal government's Recovery and Reinvestment Act - better known as the stimulus package - will enable Los Alamos National Labs to finally tear down and clean out an area as old as the Manhattan Project. (Full story—subscription or advertisement viewing required for access.)

NNSA issues request for proposal for a capability system

The Mesa platform is being developed jointly under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The MOU describes the NNSA New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scales (ACES). (Full story)

Carbon sequestration: the ethanol of the next decade?

Makers of analytical instruments everywhere seem to have an eye toward the business of greenhouse gas detection. These include a new solution for catching carbon itself: a point-source hydrate-based method for controlling industrial emissions from Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

$14.5 million flows to biological research

National researchers and UNM students are teaming up to conduct interdisciplinary experiments that could advance the field of biology and improve your life. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, gave UNM, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories a $14.5 million grant for interdisciplinary research. (Full story)

Space scientists from across the world gathered in the UK

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey joined colleagues from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA and the NASA Langley Research Center.

Dr. Joe Borovsky from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in America explained some of the research discussed during the week. "We've made progress on understanding connections between hot plasma in the solar wind and its impact on the Earth and its atmosphere - in effect by using the inner solar system as a vast plasma laboratory."
(Full story)

Scientists discuss radioactive contamination at Washington conference

David Clark from Los Alamos National Laboratory helped organize the conference. David Clark: "The whole point of getting down to the molecular scale is to really get enough information to inform decision makers about what they need to do." (Full story)

LANL Venture Acceleration Fund invites entrepreneurs

On Sept. 21, Los Alamos National Security, the public-private partnership that runs Los Alamos National Laboratory, launched the year’s second Venture Acceleration Fund call for ideas.

The fund, administered by Northern New Mexico Connect, invests up to $100,000 in Northern New Mexico businesses that have an association with LANL technology or expertise and want to apply that technology to a commercial product for which there is market demand. The ultimate goal is to create an entrepreneurial culture in Northern New Mexico. (Full story)

LANL technology helps Solix Biofuels

An award-winning Los Alamos National Laboratory sound-wave technology is helping Solix Biofuels Inc. optimize production of algae-based fuel in a cost-effective, scalable and environmentally benign fashion — paving the way to lowering the carbon footprint of biofuel production. (Full story)

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Top honors bestowed on 2 area scientists

Siegfried Hecker

Former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Siegfried Hecker, now a Stanford University Professor, shared with University of Texas Professor John Goodenough the prestigious Enrico Fermi Award, one of the top honors awarded by the U.S. government. Read the Chronicle
story here, and see the Department of Energy news release here.

Sandia and LANL to build supercomputer

Sandia and Los Alamos labs will collaborate on a massive new supercomputer to be built at Los Alamos next year, officials announced Thursday. The computer, dubbed "Mesa," will be one of the world's fastest computers. Its primary purpose will be nuclear weapon simulations. See the Journal
story here - The Albuquerque Journal requires you to view an ad or have subscription.

LANL researchers hold 'adult science fair'
on projects that could change the world

Participants present their scientific proposals during the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s first public research and development presentation. New Mexican photo.

The scientists are researching ways to make materials last longer, deter nuclear attacks, make solar panels more efficient and understand the spread of avian flu - among a host of other projects.

The event was an adult version of a school science fair.
Scientists stood by their posters ready to explain their research. There were no trophies or blue ribbons handed out, but organizers did ask people to vote on their favorite research poster. Read the New Mexican story here.

Best-ever ultraviolet portrait of Andromeda Galaxy

This mosaic of M31 merges 330 individual images taken by the Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope aboard NASA's Swift spacecraft. NASA image.

NASA's Swift satellite has acquired the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet. Swift is managed by NASA Goddard. It was built and is being operated in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and General Dynamics of Gilbert, Ariz., in the United States. See the story here.

As the neutron spins

Michelle Whitehead and Kaitrin Higbee traveled with Professor Alex Komives to Los Alamos to investigate a curiosity of the sub-atomic world. DePauw photo.

For a second consecutive summer, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Alexander K. Komives traveled with DePauw students to Los Alamos National Laboratory's Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) in New Mexico. They are collaborating with a team of international researchers to investigate what physicists call the weak interaction, one of the four fundamental forces in the universe. Full story here.

The power of pond scum

Greg Goddard, Los Alamos National Laboratory bioscientist, works to coax oil from algae. LANL photo.

Solix Biofuels Inc., headquartered in Fort Collins, signed a cooperative research and development agreement with LANL to further develop the technology and test it at Solix’s two algae-to-oil facilities at Fort Collins and at the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in southwest Colorado near Durango. Read the whole story here.

Federal labs step up biofuel research

LANL is studying the conversion of cellulosic feedstocks - nonedible materials such as corn husks - into biofuels. It's also researching innovative processes to improve algae growth, lipid production and the extraction of oil, said José Olivares, deputy division leader of LANL's Bioscience Division. See the
story here.

UA professors conduct research
on alternative fuel sources

David Dixon and Anthony Arduengo, professors in the University [of Alabama] chemistry department, are leading on-campus research to find practical ways to store and transport hydrogen-based fuels for automobiles. They are working in conjunction with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a New Mexico-based research institution engaged in developing alternative fuels and energies. See the whole
story here.

UNM site to make isotopes Link
Markus Lusser, a Siemens vice president said the company was also attracted by the [UNM] Cancer Center's research capabilities and its relationship with Los Alamos National Laboratory, which does medical isotope research. "This allows us to do more than at an average site," Lusser said. See the full
story here.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Making waves in biofuels

Solix Biofuels’ Coyote Gulch demonstration facility in southern Colorado. Solix photo.

"Algae has the benefit of being better at sequestering carbon of any cellulose producer that we've found so far," said Greg Goddard, a LANL bioscientist, who is adapting an acoustic focusing technology developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory to concentrate and manipulate algae cells for droplets of vegetable oil. (Full Story)

Sound waves morph algae into green crude

A view of part of the production system Solix uses to grow algae. Courtesy Solix Biofuels

New acoustic technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory could help a Colorado startup gain a major edge in the emerging biofuels market...(Full Story)

Solix to use Los Alamos know-how to extract algal oil

Solix Biofuels has signed a research and development cooperation agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory that the company believes will benefit its algal oil extraction process.
The deal gives Solix access to use and expand upon Los Alamos’ patented acoustic technology that utilizes sound waves to concentrate the harvested algae mixture and to extract the oil from algae cells. (Full Story)

Recyclable hydrogen fuel tanks

"Once you get the hydrogen out of the ammonia borane, you can't just pressurize it with more hydrogen to regenerate the fuel," because this is too energy-intensive, says John Gordon, a research chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. (
Full Story)

Rechargeable fuel tank could open door to
economically viable hydrogen cars

A new method for "recycling" hydrogen-containing fuel materials could open the door to economically viable hydrogen-based vehicles. (Full Story)

Students set the tone for future physics experiments

LANL illustration depicting neutrons entering and exiting a molecule.

Most undergraduate students learn the basics of their field in a classroom setting. However, this summer, two undergraduate students participated in an advanced physics experiment at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico alongside UK Physics and Astronomy Professor Chris Crawford. (Full Story)

LANL subcontracts given

Six small businesses are receiving subcontracts totaling up to $200 million for providing architectural and engineering services to Los Alamos National Laboratory. The small businesses receiving the subcontracts from Los Alamos National Security LLC are Lopez Engineering Inc.; Merrick & Co.; Mosaic-STC, A Joint Venture; Professional Project Service Inc.; Vigil Enterprises Inc.; and Weidlinger-Navarro Northern New Mexico Joint Venture. (
Full Story)

D'Agostino represents steady hand

NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino.

Last year appearing before the House Armed Services Committee on behalf of the Bush Administration, national nuclear weapons chief Thomas D'Agostino discussed plans for consolidating the sprawling weapons complex he administers. (Full Story)

Louis Rosen, 91, dies; worked on first nuclear bombs

Louis Rosen in his office at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he spent his entire career. (LANL photo)

. . . Rosen died on Aug. 15 in Albuquerque at the age of 91. . . . He was one of the last surviving links to the scientific giants who had created the atomic age — men like J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi as well as Dr. Teller. But more than that, he had also advanced the era. (Full Story)

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Chemical fuel tanks

In this Los Alamos National Laboratory graphic, ammonia borane would be used on-board the vehicle to run a fuel cell. Once hydrogen is released, the AB could then be regenerated and reused.

A new method for hydrogen storage using materials known as chemical hydrides could make fuel-cell vehicles more economically viable.

The technique is currently being researched by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Alabama and the US Department of Energy’s Chemical Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence. Read the full story here.

Technology strikes a chord with algal biofuels

Bryan Willson, co-founder of Solix Biofuels, Inc. pours algae into a pond at Solix’s Colorado facility. Solix photo.

An award-winning Los Alamos National Laboratory sound-wave technology is helping Solix Biofuels, Inc. optimize production of algae-based fuel in a cost-effective, scalable, and environmentally benign fashion - paving the way to lowering the carbon footprint of biofuel production. Full story here.

Physicists shed light on mysterious battlefield injury

The computer simulation demonstrates interaction between a helmet and soldier's skull. LLNL image.

A common battlefield brain injury could originate in the blast waves of nearby explosions, even though such waves cause relatively small accelerations of a soldier's body.

That is the conclusion of physicists [at Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories] who have used computer simulations to study the causes of traumatic brain injury.
Full story here.

Illuminating molecules from within

In the proposed experiment x-ray photons eject the single electron from H2+. The yellow arrow represents the polar- ization axis of the x-ray beam and the blue arrow represents its propagation direction. Physics illustration.

Much of our knowledge about molecular structure and reactivity is based on interpreting how molecules interact with light. In femtochemistry experiments, one usually exploits available knowledge about the way that molecular absorption spectra depend on the instantaneous molecular structure.

Lee Collins at Los Alamos National Laboratory and his collaborators describe what such an experiment would reveal in the case of the hydrogen molecular ion H2+, the "fruit fly" of intense field molecular physics research, which consists of two protons and one electron. Explore the
research here. Link
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