Friday, August 26, 2011

Los Alamos achieves world-record pulsed magnetic field

Researchers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory’s Pulsed Field Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory have set a new world record for the strongest magnetic field produced by a nondestructive magnet.

The record puts the Los Alamos team within reach of delivering a magnet capable of achieving 100 tesla, a goal long sought by researchers from around the world, including scientists working at competing magnet labs in Germany, China, France, and Japan (full story).

A similar story also was published by UPI:

Researchers detail how a distant black hole devoured a star

Two studies appearing in the Aug. 25 issue of the journal Nature provide new insights into a cosmic accident that has been streaming X-rays toward Earth since late March.

NASA's Swift satellite first alerted astronomers to intense and unusual high-energy flares from the new source in the constellation Draco. Swift is operated in collaboration with Penn State, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in N.M. and Orbital Sciences Corp (full story).

Hurricane research improved by supercomputer simulations

Information from major hurricanes of the past two decades is being examined to understand how hurricanes intensify. Jon Reisner of Los Alamos National Laboratory is using data from lightning detectors and even wind instruments mounted on planes flown into the eye of a hurricane to improve atmospheric models. These simulations may lead to more accurate prediction of hurricane intensities and better preparation of the public for these inevitable disasters (full story).

A similar story also appeared in HPCwire:

Obama’s R&D plan seeks a renaissance in US manufacturing

President Obama’s program to assist US industries in developing advanced manufacturing technologies would devote as much as $500 million annually to R&D projects at NIST, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). . . .

Under Obama’s partnership plan, NSF will spend $50 million per year as leader of a four-agency National Robotics Initiative to develop robots that work beside or with humans to perform mundane, dangerous, or precise tasks. NASA, NIH, and the Department of Agriculture will collectively add $20 million to the robotics effort. . . .

Also as part of the initiative, Procter & Gamble will donate high-performance computing software that it developed several years ago in collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratory. The household-products giant used the fluid dynamics code to improve the manufacturing of diapers and saved itself $500 million in the process, Obama said (full story).

Los Alamos party thanks fire responders
Town saved, no lives lost

LOS ALAMOS, NM (KRQE) - A big party was held in Los Alamos Thursday afternoon to celebrate all those who helped so much during the Las Conchas fire.

The Los Alamos County Council, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the National Nuclear Security Administration decided they wanted to throw a party basically to say thanks to all those who stepped up and helped protect the lab and the townsite during the fire that began on June 26 and charred nearly 157,000 acres in the Jemez Mountains.

The director of the labs also used this as a chance to give back. He presented a nearly $60,000 check to 11 businesses that provided meals and other goods and services during the fire (full story).

Thank you ceremony held for firefighters

Those who fought Las Conchas Fire were thanked in a big way Thursday (full story).

Miles O’Brien keynote speaker at Bradbury Science Museum

Former CNN anchorman and science correspondent Miles O'Brien lent celebrity status to both the opening of the Bradbury Science Museum's new movie, "Heritage of Science," and the movie itself.

O’Brien severed a correspondent, anchorman and producer for CNN for 17 years and is currently a contributing correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. He first visited Los Alamos in the mid-1990s when he was anchorman for CNN’s “Science and Technology Week." (full story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Long drought breaks records Los Alamos National Laboratory Meteorologist Scot Johnson said there are two factors driving the drought locally and elsewhere around the country. "La Niña, the cold in the Pacific along the equator driving north and the other situation is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) located in the northern Pacific," Johnson said (full story).

Solar panels with a view

From the US comes news that scientists at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have fabricated transparent thin films capable of absorbing light and generating electrical charge over a relatively large area.

One important application of the new material could be when used to develop transparent solar panels or even windows that absorb solar energy to generate electricity (full story).

N.M. tech centers churn out patents

The UNM Center for Biomedical Engineering, for example, is designed to foster collaborations between the university and the national laboratories. UNM shares about 70 patents with Sandia National Laboratories and about 35 with Los Alamos National Laboratory (full story).

El Rancho crooner [and LANL employee] competes on ABC karaoke series

Will Joe Archuleta be crowned Karaoke King of the South? Tune in Friday night!

That's when ABC will televise the El Rancho [New Mexico] native strutting his stuff as he performs his karaoke version of Tom Jones' 1960s hit "Delilah" on the network's new series, Karaoke Battle USA. . . .

Archuleta, 58, is a facility manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His family lineage traces back to Spain, he said. His father, Armando, was a ship welder during World War II and later worked at the lab as a labor foreman. Archuleta's family ran a grocery store and gas station in El Rancho for many years (full story).

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

Please visit us at

and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Carbon recycling: Mining the air for fuel

A solar energy collector at Sandia National Laboratories aims to recycle carbon dioxide into fuel with renewable energy. SNL photo.

Anyone who wants to create hydrocarbon fuel above ground will have to supply the energy to isolate the hydrogen and carbon atoms and put them together. "There’s no free lunch," says Hans Ziock, of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

"You have to put energy in to re-create the fuel," he explains. "And because re-creation is never 100 percent efficient, you end up putting more energy in than you get out." Du
e to the "energy penalty" of creating hydrocarbon fuel indirectly, he says, it has always made more sense for society to use the liquid fuels made directly from crude oil. (Full Story)

A similar story also appears in
Carbon Capture Journal

Supercomputers to assist In thwarting bird flu epidemic in future

An early LANL influenza model tracks disease migration day 90. LANL image.

upercomputers can now be used during health emergencies like predicting about the development of a diseases and its course as well. The research is by scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Washington, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The large-scale, stochastic simulation model examines the nationwide spread of a pandemic influenza virus strain, such as an evolved avian H5N1 virus, should it become transmissible human-to-human. (
Full Story)

A similar story also appears in
Vaccine News Daily

Can social media impact epidemics?

Sara Del Valle. LANL photo.

onnecting social media and epidemiological research, a new study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Tulane University will attempt to predict the future, i.e. people’s social behavior during an epidemic using Twitter.

"For instance, many people were skeptical about the H1N1 vaccine due to the accelerated approval process," said LANL's Sara Del Valle. "Through social media, we can quantify the degree to which some people were afraid and others were in favor." (Subscription required to see
full story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Thomas named ACS Fellow

Kimberly Thomas. LANL photo.

imberly Thomas, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Science and Technology Base Programs Office, has become the first Los Alamos researcher to be named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

With 33 years of service at the lab, Thomas has excelled in myriad research and management positions, including weapons radiochemical diagnostics, isotope separation, waste transmutation and nuclear waste management, environmental chemistry, study of nuclear reactions, and many other disciplines. (Subscription required to see full story)

Citizen Schools: Program boosts learning time, grades for middle-schoolers

itizen Schools teachers all are professionals with four-year college degrees, though they are not necessarily licensed to teach. A mathematician from Los Alamos National Laboratory, for instance, might end up running a math tutorial. (
Full Story)

Improved atomisation technology produces ultrafine powders for fossil fuel power plants

Gas atomised powders produced in the research project. NETL photo.

smooth micro-porous metallic support surface was developed with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), for example for fabrication of robust hydrogen separation membranes from Pd alloy thin films approximately 2 µm thick.

A high pressure gas atomisation system was used to produce ultrafine powders which are said to have helped eliminate a major barrier to the use of new concepts for fabrication of hydrogen membranes for advanced coal fired power plants with CO2 capture capability. (
Full story)

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

Please visit us at

And follow us on
Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr

Friday, August 12, 2011

Using neutrons to spy on the elusive hydronium ion

In a paper appearing in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Los Alamos researchers join an international team in describing the role played by the elusive hydronium ion in the transfer of protons during enzyme-catalyzed reactions.

Prior to this research, no one has ever directly witnessed the role of the hydronium ion, a water molecule bound to an additional hydrogen ion, in macromolecular catalysts—the catalytic mechanisms of enzymes (full story).

McMillan addresses community leaders' event

Charlie McMillan, attending his first regional community leaders’ breakfast as director, assumed the post at the beginning of June. But on June 26, the Las Conchas Fire erupted, threatening the lab and the townsite.

McMillan put himself up front and center during the crisis, attending daily news conferences at Ashley Pond. And most of what the lab went through during the fire already has been well documented (full story).

Also in the Monitor this week:

LANL honors inventors

The 13th Annual Outstanding Innovation Technology Transfer Awards reception honored laboratory inventors of patented, licensed, and copyrighted technologies for their important role in transferring science and technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory to industry. The awards reception took place Thursday at Fuller Lodge (full story).

Inside LANL’s radioactive waste dump

Area G was heavily protected during fire

LOS ALAMOS, NM (KRQE) - Los Alamos National Laboratory officials let News 13 into the heavily guarded Area G in Technical Area 54 on Thursday. It’s also known as the radioactive waste site.

“We have about nine thousand barrels,” said Don Cox, the Deputy Associate Director for Environmental Programs at LANL. The accumulation of waste has happened over decades, and only within the past decade has the lab started shipping most of the waste to a permanent waste disposal site in remote southeastern New Mexico (full story).

BYU prof looks at numbers behind safety of aging nukes

Shane Reese, a statistics professor, is a co-author on research that analyzes past tests of nuclear weapons to look at the reliability of the United States's nuclear weapons stockpile at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico (full story).

FDA warns against the use of CardioGen-82

The FDA has alerted health care professionals to stop using CardioGen-82 for cardiac PET scans due to increased radiation exposure. Modeling performed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory suggests the excessive radiation exposure of approximately 90 mSv associated with strontium isotopes (full story).

Local hazmat team wins competition

Dirty bombs, railroad cars leaking unidentified noxious fluids and even a drug lab cleanup: either a series of major catastrophes has hit New Mexico, or it's the 15th annual Hazmat Challenge.

The challenge, an annual training event held at Los Alamos National Laboratory, also includes an element of competition with a traveling trophy winning hazmat teams take home each year.

The trophy is one that Farmington has hosted more than most, and because of an exceptional showing at this year's challenge the city once again can proudly say, "We're the best." (full story)

Metal band climbs into wayback machine

Tom Gattis can be likened to a superhero.

No, he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider and now can climb walls and shoot webs out of his wrists. Nor is he from Krypton and is not faster than a locomotive or can leap a building in a single bound.

But Gattis does share a common thread with these superheroes — a double life.

Gattis is a structural/civil engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory by day, a heavy metal musician by night (full story).

To subscribe to Los Alamos Report, please email and include the words subscribe losalamosreportin the body of your email message; to unscubscribe, include unsubscribe losalamosreport.

Please visit us at

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr!

Friday, August 5, 2011

From detonation to diapers at Los Alamos National Laboratory

LANL scientists use a 3-D visualization theater, called the CAVE, to peer inside complex computer simulations. LANL photo.

hen you think of Los Alamos National Laboratory what comes to mind?

You probably don't think of diapers. But you should.

There is a direct correlation between the advanced computational tools developed over the years to help ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons and high tech diapers invented by Procter & Gamble to keep kiddies dry and comfortable. (
Full story)

NASA’s ChemCam gets final destination

Artist’s rendering of ChemCam laser analyses. LANL illustration.

fter months of analysis and discussion, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover team has picked a landing site on which the rover’s adventures can begin.

The rover, named Curiosity, carries the ChemCam instrument, developed at Los Alamos, on top of an exterior mast, providing information on the chemical composition of rocks at which it can fire its laser. (Subscription required to see
full story)

Gentle nudges towards Vesta

An ion engine provides Dawn with the propulsion it needs. NASA photo.

he Dawn space probe is equipped with the Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer, or GRaND, that will help to detect the elements oxygen, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, titanium and iron. GRaND originates from the workshops of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. (
Full story)

Another step closer to Vesta

Close up view of Vesta's surface. From Space Daily.

ASA's Dawn spacecraft is another step closer to Vesta; only 5200 kilometres now separate the asteroid and its new 'neighbour', Dawn. The spacecraft is carrying the Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND) instrument, built by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (
Full story)

Our sun and planets were made differently

Our solar system’s rocky inner planets. NASA image.

he sun and the solar system's rocky inner planets, including the Earth, may have formed differently than previously thought, according to scientists analyzing samples returned by NASA's Genesis mission.

A team from Los Alamos National Laboratory led by Roger Wiens built a device on the Genesis spacecraft for the analysis of oxygen and nitrogen from the solar wind. Wiens and his colleagues are also co-authors of the study. (
Full story)

Good licensing practices for entrepreneurs are critical to U.S. economy

Marcie Black, CTO, Bandgap Engineering

Entrepreneurship built this country. Small business create 64 percent of new jobs, hire 40 percent of all tech workers, and produce 13 times more patents per employee than large businesses. Moreover, every large business began as a small one, and many small businesses spun out of universities or government labs.

Since the Bayh-Dole act of 1980, licensing of technology from government labs and universities has been very successful in allowing companies to commercialize a new idea. The Obama administration has enhanced this focus on helping small companies innovate through licensing. As an entrepreneur, however, I have to ask myself, “Can we do it better?” (Full story)

High tech interns learn sustainability

n Thursday morning, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student interns gathered at the San Ildefonso Visitor Center, where they met Tribal Council member and Farm Mentor Timothy Martinez.

The visit to San Ildefonso is one of several field trips for the LANL Student Sustainability Challenge, which is exploring issues like food security with this year’s theme of “Sustainability is National Security.” (Subscription required to see
full story)

Los Alamos lab intern from Jacksonville plays role in New Mexico's worst wildfire

University of North Florida student Jomarie Berlofsky poses in front of Emergency Operations Center during Las Conchas Fire.

andarin [Florida] resident Jomarie Berlofsky was chosen for a prestigious national laboratory internship in New Mexico.

But the University of North Florida student didn't count on being evacuated from Los Alamos and seeing smoke from a 156,000-acre wildfire, the largest in the state's history, covering the town like "a blanket."

Berlofsky, a psychology and criminal justice major who will be a senior, is an intern in the lab's Emergency Operations Center near historic Los Alamos. (
Full story)

Las Conchas 100% contained

Sen. Tom Udall, center, receives a briefing from Tony Stanford, left, Los Alamos National Laboratory's Emergency Operations Manager, and LANL Director Charles McMillan at the LANL Emergency Operations Center. LANL photo.

he Las Conchas fire broke out in the Jemez Mountains southwest of Los Alamos on June 26, threatening Los Alamos National Laboratory, forcing the evacuation of the town of Los Alamos, and causing significant destruction in the neighboring SantaClara Pueblo watershed. (Subscription or viewing an ad required to see
full story)

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

Please visit us at

And follow us on
Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr