Friday, August 18, 2017

Neutron beams, x-rays reveal more about T. rex relative

A 3D scan of Bistahieversor sealeyi, aka the Bisti
Beast. LANL image.

Researchers at a top U.S. laboratory announced Tuesday that they have produced the highest resolution scan ever done of the inner workings of a fossilized tyrannosaur skull using neutron beams and high-energy X-rays, resulting in new clues that could help paleontologists piece together the evolutionary puzzle of the monstrous T. rex.

Officials with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science said they were able to peer deep into the skull of a “Bisti Beast,” a T. rex relative that lived millions of years ago in what is now northwestern New Mexico. (Full story)

‘Bisti Beast’ gets his head examined

Sven Vogel, staff scientist at Los Alamos National
Laboratory with a video of an X-ray scan of the fossil
skull, Journal photo.

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently conducted a neutron imaging scan to expose the inner structures of the skull from the tyrannosaur dinosaur nicknamed Bisti Beast.

“Normally, we look at a variety of thick, dense objects at Los Alamos for defense programs, but the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science was interested in imaging a very large fossil to learn about what’s inside,” said Ron Nelson, of the laboratory’s Experimental Physical Sciences Division. (Full story)

Also on YouTube

Muons in the cathedral

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore,
in Florence Italy.  From the New Mexican.

In 2013, a group of experts on the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore came to Los Alamos National Laboratory to consult about fixing the dome’s cracks. That conversation led to bringing in muon-imaging technology as a tool to study the problem. Muon-imaging technology was developed for national security purposes, such as searching cargo shipments for nuclear materials — not quite cathedrals. As such, it would have to be adapted to prove useful in this unique architectural setting. (Full story)

Researchers may have just discovered an entirely new state of matter

Filip Ronning, LANL photo.

In a new study published in Nature, researchers lead by a team from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) reveal that they may have discovered a new state of matter.

At the core of this research is CeRhIn5, a heavy-fermion superconductor. When the researchers placed CeRhIn5 within a high magnetic field, its electronic symmetry broke and the compound went into an electronic nematic state. (Full story)

An exascale timeline for storage and I/O systems

In large-scale supercomputing, many performance trends have jacked up capability and capacity—but the bottlenecks have not changed since the dawn of computing as we know it. Memory latency and memory bandwidth remain the gating factors to how fast, efficiently, and reliably big sites can run—and there is still nothing that will tip that scale significantly on the horizon, says Gary Grider, deputy division leader for HPC and Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

On the cutting edge of chemistry

Newly minted Ph.D. in chemistry
Cory Windorff, UCI photo.

UCI graduate student Cory Windorff could have studied abroad for a year in Bangkok, Barcelona or Buenos Aires. Instead, he chose an austere outpost at the Los Alamos National Laboratory near Santa Fe, New Mexico. What the location lacked in culture and amenities, it more than made up for in historical significance, and it allowed the young researcher to play a central role in a groundbreaking scientific discovery.

In 2015, Windorff went to Los Alamos with the support of UCI and a Science Graduate Student Research Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Energy. While there, he served as a key member of a team of chemists that uncovered a previously unknown oxidation state of plutonium, the highly radioactive, synthetic element used in nuclear power plants and weaponry. (Full story)