Friday, April 25, 2014

New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge winners revealed

Albert Zuo, left, and Eli Echt-Wilson of Albuquerque La Cueva High School. LANL photo.

The 24th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge took place this week at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM. Open to any New Mexico high-school, middle-school or elementary school student, the project-based learning event is geared to teaching a wide range of skills, including research, writing, teamwork, time management, oral presentations and computer programming.

The top honors went to Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo from Albuquerque’s La Cueva High School. For their project “Modeling Tree Growth and Resource Use with Applications.” (Full Story)

La Cueva High School takes top honors at NM Supercomputing Challenge

Organizers of the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge say two high school students from Albuquerque have taken the top prize at this year’s competition.

La Cueva High School’s Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo came up with a unique model that simulates the growth of individual tree branches and leaves based on underlying biological processes. (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Monitor and the Santa Fe Hometown News

 The solar window is here

Quantum dot LSC devices under ultraviolet illumination. LANL image.

There's a new option for the aesthetically demanding: special windows that can capture the light that hits them.

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Milano-Bicocca have created a transparent solar window. They embedded quantum dots (nanocrystals made of semiconducting materials already used in solar panel systems to capture energy) into a transparent polymer. And because solar cells don't absorb all the light that hits them, light still comes through the window. (Full Story)

NNSA announces $25M grant for nonproliferation

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development today announced the award of a $25 million grant to a North Carolina State University-led consortium for research and development in enabling capabilities for nonproliferation. This sizeable, long-term investment will support the consortium at $5 million per year for five years. The grant is in response to a funding opportunity announcement issued in May 2013. (Full Story)

What Power8 and OpenPOWER might mean for HPC

IBM's Tom Rosamilia (left) and Doug Balog reveal the company’s Power8 Systems. IBM photo.

One could argue that what IBM is trying to accomplish with the OpenPOWER Foundation in an open way with many partners up and down the hardware and software stacks is based on ideas it put to the test many years ago in the “Roadrunner” petascale-class x86-Cell hybrid system at Los Alamos National Laboratory. This was the first large-scale accelerated system, and IBM seeks to make what was exotic with Roadrunner six years ago easier to do today and something more akin to normal in the years ahead. (Full Story)

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Solar cells get boost from shiny quantum dots

Quantum dot luminescent solar concentrator devices under ultraviolet illumination. LANL image.

The superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can efficiently harvest sunlight and enhance solar energy, according to researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Milan-Bicocca, who say this could lead to development of windows that double as solar panels. (Full Story)

House windows that double as solar panels?

Quantum dots are embedded plastic and capture sunlight to improve solar panel efficiency. LANL illustration.

A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work. Scientists have demonstrated that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

"The key accomplishment is the demonstration of large-area luminescent solar concentrators that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots," said lead researcher Victor Klimov." (Full Story)

Also in R&D Magazine

Los Alamos physicist honored with E.O. Lawrence Award

John Sarrao, LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist John Sarrao is being honored by the U.S. Department of Energy with the 2013 Ernest O. Lawrence Award in Condensed Matter and Materials Sciences.

“John Sarrao’s exciting advances in actinide studies exemplify the quality of research performed at Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan. (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Monitor

Probing metal solidification nondestructively

An x-ray image of aluminum-copper alloy during directional solidification. LANL image.

Los Alamos researchers and collaborators have used nondestructive imaging techniques to study the solidification of metal alloy samples. The team used complementary methods of proton radiography at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center and synchrotron x-ray radiography at Argonne National Laboratory to make the measurements. This is the first time that high-energy protons have been used to nondestructively image a large metal sample during melting and solidification. (Full Story)

Scientists verify world’s largest single crystal piece of gold

Scientists confirm a single-crystal piece of gold. LANL image.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have confirmed a 7.68 oz (217.78 g) piece of gold is in fact a singular crystal increasing its value from around $10,000 to an estimated $1.5 million.

The specimen, the largest single crystal piece of gold in the world, was discovered in Venezuela decades ago, but it is only by using advanced probing instruments that experts can now verify its authenticity. (Full Story)

STEM conference promotes careers for young women

Cimarron High attends the Expanding Your Horizons Conference. Chronicle photo.

Speaking at Expanding Your Horizons in Cimarron, Sanna Sevato said five years ago she found a job opportunity at the Los Alamos National Lab, and she has lived there ever since. She describes this as her “dream job.”

This yearly conference is held to make young women more aware of the different career paths that are available in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. (Full Story)

New shared lab is big opportunity for small biotech startups

Modern flow cytometers were invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  LANL photo.

Funding for the lab came from the city of Santa Fe and the Los Alamos lab and a $1.25 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration.

The final piece of lab equipment bought for the BioScience Laboratory is an acoustic cytometer developed in part at the Santa Fe Business Incubator by former Los Alamos  National Laboratory scientist John Elling. (Full Story)

Also in ABQ Business First

Prioritizing data in the age of exascale

By now, most HPCers and the surrounding community are aware that data movement poses one of the most fundamental challenges to post-petascale computing.

Around the world exascale-directed projects are attempting to maximize system speeds while minimizing energy costs. The most expensive operation: data movement. So says  James Ahrens of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Los Alamos guns take aim at material’s mysteries

One of the Lab's many gun systems.  LANL image.       

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and technicians conduct thousands of experiments a year, delving into the fundamental nature of everything from supernovas to subatomic particles. One set of instruments used to better understand the fundamental nature of various materials are 10 scientific gun systems that fire various projectiles at high-tech targets. (Watch the video!)

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Friday, April 11, 2014

The $1.5m golden nugget: World’s largest single crystal of gold discovered

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have determined that this is the world's largest single crystal of gold. LANL photo.

Government experts have confirmed the world’s largest single crystal of gold. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory used a neutron scanner to effectively look inside the 217.78-gram piece of gold.

The team at Los Alamos National Laboratory used the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center to look deep inside the mineral using neutron diffractometry. Neutrons, different from other probes such as X-rays and electrons, are able to penetrate many centimeters deep into most materials. (Full Story)

World’s largest gold crystal found

Diffraction Device at the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center. LANL photo.

It's the size of a golf ball, but a lot more valuable: Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory's Lujan Neutron Scattering Center have verified that a heavy piece of gold, found years ago in Venezuela, is, in fact, a single crystal of the valuable element — and it's worth an estimated $1.5 million.

The lump of gold, which weighs 217.78 grams (about 7.7 ounces), was brought to Los Alamos to confirm whether it was a single crystal of gold, or a more common multiple-crystal structure. (Full Story)

Also from PhysOrgKRQE-TVJewelers Circular Keystone,  and YouTube

Desktop human body developed for toxicity testing

ATHENA, the Advanced Tissue-engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer project team, is developing four human organ constructs, the liver, heart, lung and kidney, which are based on a miniaturized platform. Each organ component will be about the size of a smartphone screen, and the whole ATHENA body of interconnected organs would fit on a desk. The project is supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). (Full Story)

Nuclear Arms Control R&D consortium includes Los Alamos

A consortium of thirteen universities and eight national laboratories, led by the University of Michigan and including the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a partner, has been awarded a $25 million grant by the NNSA. The consortium is dedicated to the research and development (R&D) of nuclear arms control verification technologies, including nuclear safeguards effectiveness. (Full Story)

Zapping Rocks On Mars

ChemCam’s composite selfie.  NASA image.

“It’s been a good year on Mars,” said Roger C. Wiens, speaking at a symposium at Pittcon, held earlier this month in Chicago. Wiens, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is principal investigator for ChemCam, an instrument on the Curiosity rover, the latest vehicle to explore the surface of Earth’s next-door neighbor. During the past 18 months, ChemCam has acquired more than 120,000 spectra, which are helping to elucidate the geologic history of Mars. (Full Story)

Ethanol plowing the way In biocrude development

Richard Sayre, from the Daily Press.

When it comes to all sources of power, corn ethanol provides the worst energy return on investment.

Technological breakthroughs are allowing the development of biofuels that could be as economical and practical as today’s fossil fuels, according to Los Alamos’ Richard Sayre, who gave the keynote address during IdeaFest being held at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Sayre spoke in the Muenster University Center on the USD campus. (Full Story)

Organization helps businesses procure government contracts

Gil Torres purchased Sigma Science in 2013 and wanted to expand the company’s reach beyond the work it did providing risk management and environmental safety and health services for Los Alamos and Sandia.

Torres needed specific certifications to bid on certain government contracts. Six months after embarking on the process, Torres received 8(a) certification.

"Our overall revenue has increased by greater than 25 percent due to increased assignments at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories,” he said. (Full Story)

Energy conservation goal of innovative homes

Doug Lenberg explains Real Green Building Systems. From the Daily Times.         

Doug Lenberg, president of Real Green Building Systems, and two Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists won a New Mexico Small Business Assistance award recognizing the viability of the home’s design.

According to the December 2013 Los Alamos National Laboratory study, all the subsystems in an RGBS home pay for themselves after eight years. And Lenberg said his father's RGBS home cost less than $200,000 to build. (Full Story)

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Friday, April 4, 2014

LANL scientist to help with water woes

A scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory has been tapped to help New Mexico with complex issues related to energy and water science.

The state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department says Jeri Sullivan Graham will lead the Brackish Water Work Group.

One of the group’s overarching goals is to identify the state’s brackish water resources and find ways to make it more available and usable as a buffer against drought. (full story)

This one better pan out

The city, the University of New Mexico and others are betting big, with a $7 million investment in the Innovate ABQ business factory Downtown, that they can mine companies and technology from the state’s national labs and research universities.

Dave Pesiri, the director of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Feynman Center for Innovation, its technology transfer division, said execution is not easy and the goals have to be clear. (full story)

Also this week in Albuquerque Business First:

Summit spotlights 10 companies for innovation

The state’s three national labs and research universities spend billions every year on developing technology.

“There’s a lot we have to offer each other,” said Duncan McBranch, the chief technology officer at Los Alamos National Laboratory in his luncheon keynote talk. “Innovation flows both ways. Innovation is tied to a sense of who we are as Americans.” (full story)

NASA radiation probes aiding space weather Forecasts

Two NASA probes are helping scientists get a better understanding of how the giant belts of radiation around Earth affect the spacecraft circling the planet.

“The Van Allen Probes are gathering great measurements, but they can’t tell you what is happening everywhere at the same time,” Geoff Reeves, of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said in a statement. (full story)

Forests and climate change focus of Frontiers in Science lectures

Los Alamos National Laboratory climate researcher Nate McDowell will discuss climate change and its effects on forest systems in a series of Frontiers in Science lectures beginning Wednesday, April 2 in Albuquerque.

“The data we have suggests that forests of the Southwest and many other areas are in jeopardy of a massive die-off in the next few decades,” McDowell said. “I was a doubter of these results until we generated more than three estimates, all independent, which came to the same conclusion.” (full story)

Flipping the switch on magnetism in strontium titanate

Interest in oxide-based semiconductor electronics has exploded in recent years, fueled largely by the ability to grow atomically precise layers of various oxide materials.

One of the most important materials in this burgeoning field is strontium titanate (SrTiO3), a nominally nonmagnetic wide-bandgap semiconductor, and researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have found a way to magnetize this material using light, an effect that persists for hours at a time. (full story)

Small businesses get lift from national labs

Ten New Mexico small businesses using the technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories are being recognized at the Innovation Celebration.

The celebration is part of Technology Venture Corporation’s Innovation Summit. The New Mexico Small Business Assistance program was created by the New Mexico Legislature in 2000. Los Alamos National Laboratory joined the program in 2007. (full story)

Students from Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Los Alamos win top LANL employees’ scholarships

Seventy-three students from seven Northern New Mexico counties receive LAESF scholarships, funded through pledges from LANL employees, and a matching amount from LANS, LLC, the contractor that runs the lab.

“These scholarships are awarded to deserving students who excel in academic achievement, whose leadership potential is highlighted by his or her dedication to community service,” Jeff Mousseau, the Laboratory’s Environmental Programs director and leader of the Laboratory’s 2014 LAESF campaign. (full story)

Seizing Our Teachable Moments: Dr. Kurt Steinhaus at TEDxABQ

Dr. Kurt Steinhaus serves as the Director of Community Programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work is focused on math, science, engineering, and technology education. To address the comparatively poor scores of United States students on the math portion of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Dr. Steinhaus believes that each of us can contribute to improved academic performance if we look for and seize the teachable moments that we share with the students in our lives. (check it out)

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