Friday, February 1, 2019

Doing work that matters at Los Alamos

From the moment Los Alamos first invented the atomic bomb, the scientists who worked on it knew that its enormous destructive power posed a unique danger to the world and were immediately concerned with how to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

The laboratory’s nuclear nonproliferation work has focused primarily on detection: How will the United States and our allies know if another country is developing or testing nuclear weapons? How will we know if someone is smuggling nuclear material into or out of the country? (Full story)

LANL Director Thom Mason reflects on first 90 days

Thom Mason, Daily Post photo.

“During these first 90 days one thing that has really struck me as I’ve visited the various areas of the Laboratory is the total commitment to the Laboratory’s mission by all Lab staff that I’ve met,” Mason said. “They clearly have a sense that their efforts really matter.”

Mason describes the most enjoyable aspect of his job. “The thing I really like is the variety that comes from the breadth of the institution. I can touch in the course of a day the science, the technology, the operations, the community engagement ... that variety really keeps me engaged,” he said. (Full story)

Celebrate the women behind the periodic table

Darleane Hoffman, from Nature.

Here we spotlight some of the women who revolutionized our understanding of the elements. Marie Curie is the most celebrated, for her double Nobel-prizewinning research on radioactivity and for discovering polonium and radium1. Stories of other women’s roles are scarce.

US chemist Darleane Hoffman made a monumental leap in the early 1970s. She showed that the isotope fermium-257 could split spontaneously — not only after being bombarded with neutrons. The first woman to lead a scientific division at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Hoffman also uncovered plutonium-244 in nature. She trained generations of female scientists. (Full story)

World’s largest digital sky survey issues biggest astronomical data release ever

Pan-STARRS Observatory Maui, Hawaii.
From PhysOrg

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy (IfA), is releasing the second edition of data from Pan-STARRS—the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System—the world’s largest digital sky survey. The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys and its science archive have been made possible through contributions including the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

US Military bosses plan to use tiny nuclear reactors to give troops power on the battlefield

Truck-sized small reactor design, LANL image.             

US Military bosses are developing truck-sized nuclear reactors that could power basecamps in remote areas. It is hoped the reactors, which will fit on a truck, could be deployed to the hard to reach bases – such as the hillside forward bases U.S. troops set up in places like Afghanistan.  Currently, Idaho National Lab and Los Alamos National Lab are working toward new designs for modular nuclear power. (Full story)

Watch the video on YouTube

Los Alamos wants to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid

Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is famous for its work on the Manhattan Project and other ventures related to national security, intends to work with NASA to test asteroid deflection strategies. According to the YouTube video they just uploaded, the organizations want to hit Didymoon, a small asteroid orbiting a larger one, with a probe, and see what happens. "DART" is expected to launch in 2020, and reach the asteroid sometime in 2022. Check out the plan in the video below: (Full story)

Watch the video on YouTube

Los Alamos National Laboratory issues RFP for Crossroads supercomputer

The next big supercomputer is out for bid. A “request for proposal,” or RFP, for Crossroads, a high-performance computer that will support the nation’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, was released today.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory is proud to serve as the home of Crossroads. This high-performance computer will continue the Laboratory’s tradition of deploying unique capabilities to achieve our mission of national security science,” said Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

Also from HPCwire this week:

LANL deploys DataWarp Tech to speed simulations on Trinity

One of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s central missions is guarding the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile as part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Stockpile Stewardship program. Computer simulation, of course, is key tool in the effort, and LANL uses its Trinity supercomputer (Cray XC40) to run simulations and to explore new technology that could be used to speed simulations.

As LANL points in a description of the issue, “The application runs for extended periods of time — often several months on end. As a result, data flushing to the Lustre file system creates inefficiencies because the application stops completely during the flushing process.” (Full story)