Friday, December 13, 2013

What If they try to hack Amazon’s drones?

David Mascarenas, right, works with a student on a quad copter.  LANL image.

For now, the threats are being addressed incrementally. Georgia Tech, for example, has been conducting studies into autonomous vision-based navigation, while the Los Alamos National Laboratory wants to make robot movement less predictable.

“The advantage of acting unpredictably is that people who might want to exploit the robot cannot as easily anticipate where the robot might go next,” says Los Alamos National Laboratory research engineer David Mascarenas. (Full Story)

Nontoxic quantum dot research improves solar cells

Hunter McDaniel is developing next-generation quantum dots.  LANL image.

Solar cells made with low-cost, nontoxic copper-based quantum dots can achieve unprecedented longevity and efficiency, according to a study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sharp Corp.

“For the first time, we have certified the performance of a quantum dot sensitized solar cell at greater than 5%, which is among the highest reported for any quantum dot solar cell,” said Hunter McDaniel, a Los Alamos postdoctoral researcher and the lead author. (Full Story)

This spooky X-ray ‘hand’ demonstrates a pulsar star mystery

This X-ray nebula appears to look like a human hand. NASA image.

That spooky hand in the image above is producing questions for scientists. While the shape only coincidentally looks like a human hand, scientists are still trying to figure out how a small star produced such a large shape visible in X-rays.

“Scientists are intrigued by what exactly powers these massive explosions, and understanding this would yield important insights about the fundamental forces in nature,” stated Peter Moller, of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

LANL begins shipments to Idaho

First MTRU shipment.  LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has made the first of its 18 shipments of transuranic (TRU) waste to the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project at Idaho National Laboratory.

“Known as MTRU, or mixed transuranic waste, the material requires special handling because it consists mostly of large, metal equipment with sharp edges. By using equipment and technology available at the Idaho site, this waste can be remotely repackaged safely and efficiently with far fewer hazards for workers.” (Full Story)

Bradbury Science Museum turns 50

“For 50 years, the Bradbury Science Museum’s mission has been to foster enthusiasm and support for science and engineering, and a better understanding of the mission and work of the Laboratory.”

The museum was originally founded in 1954 by Robert Krohn, but was classified a museum when it first opened. In 1963, Robert Porton convinced then Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Director Norris Bradbury to open the unclassified museum. (Full Story)

New associate directors named at LANL

Mary Hockaday and Cheryl Cabbil.   

Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced that Mary Hockaday will be its new AD of the Experimental Physical Sciences Directorate while Cheryl Cabbil will be AD for Nuclear and High Hazard Operations.

“Mary is a 30-year veteran of the Lab and currently serves in a joint role as the deputy associate director for the Weapons Physics and Cheryl brings a distinguished track record for developing and implementing nuclear facility management programs," said Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan. (Full Story)

Also appearing this week in Albuquerque Business First

Lab scientists can be entrepreneurs, too

Steve Yarbro’s eureka moment wasn’t that he figured out how to separate thick, heavy oil.  It was discovering that he could start a company to do that while maintaining his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

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