Friday, September 27, 2019

Making a material difference

These components were fabricated at the Signma Complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory, LANL photo.

High-tech additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a good way to take the guesswork out of precisely fabricating a hollow metal object, while tweaking and fine-tuning the properties of the material composing it.         

Additive manufacturing is a potential way to solve the performance challenges a component faces with hard use in harsh environments … Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Sigma Complex apply fundamental science and research to take this advanced manufacturing to an even higher level. (Full story)

AI helps seismologists predict earthquakes

A polarizing lens shows the buildup of
stress along a fault line, LANL photo.             

More than a dozen slow slips have been detected by the region’s sprawling network of seismic stations since 2003. And for the past year and a half, these events have been the focus of a new effort at earthquake prediction by the geophysicist Paul Johnson, a geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Johnson’s team is among a handful of groups that are using machine learning to try to demystify earthquake physics and tease out the warning signs of impending quakes. Two years ago, using pattern-finding algorithms similar to those behind recent advances in image and speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence. (Full story)

Nuclear Winter May Bring a Decade of Destruction

DOE Photo            

What exactly happens during a nuclear winter is a complex scenario, said Jon Reisner, a numerical modeler at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Reisner was not involved in the study but researches how nuclear weapons can affect global climate.

“The impact on climate from a nuclear exchange is still an unresolved issue,” Reisner said. He added that the researchers’ predictions appeared to be on the upper end of the spectrum for global cooling. “They’re assuming the worst, worst-case scenario,” said Reisner.
Reisner said he thinks the researchers are “exaggerating how much soot is being produced from fires” and noted that soot produced from urban fires is not well understood. “The big question is: What is the actual fuel loading?” He noted the intensity and duration of a fire can also affect soot production.

Although he thinks more work needs to be done to better define global climate effects, Reisner noted “at the end of the day, the direct impacts [of a nuclear war] will be significant—you can’t downplay those. (Full story)

Curiosity fueled alumnus’ journey to Mars

Sam Clegg has contributed to new ways of
researching and understanding Mars.

Clegg (Chemistry, ’92), a laser spectroscopist and chemist at Los Alamos, served as a co-investigator and instrument developer for Curiosity on a team focused specifically on ChemCam, a chemistry and camera tool that used a laser, camera, and spectrograph to identify the chemical composition of soil and rock on the Martian surface. In the months after touching down, Curiosity would ultimately beam to Earth the clearest and most detailed images ever produced of the Red Planet. (Full story)

Can neutrinos help explain what’s the matter with antimatter?

The assembled exterior field cage of the
Mini-CAPTAIN, Mauger photo.

Christopher Mauger and his team built a 400-kilogram prototype of the DUNE detector, known as Mini-CAPTAIN, and collected data from a neutron beam at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Former Penn postdoc Jorge Chaves, who worked as the analysis leader for this research, says that the bulk of the work involved reconstructing the signals from the detector into meaningful insights about the properties that they are interested in studying further. (Full story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory is buying a 5,000-qubit quantum computer

D-Wave Systems has announced that they will be providing Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with a state-of-the-art 5,000-qubit quantum computer. This computer will allow LANL to solve problems that traditional computers just aren't fast enough for.

LANL was originally created during the Second World War as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapon. Currently, they conduct research in many scientific fields including renewable energy, medicine, and national security. These areas require vast amounts of computing resources to solve their types of problems. (Full story)

LANL researchers join MOSAiC team to travel to the Arctic

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers are underway! The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, MOSAiC, launched Friday to head to the Arctic for a critical scientific mission.

“This is the largest experiment ever conducted in the Arctic,“ said Jim Bossert, Earth and Environmental Sciences Division Leader at Los Alamos. “The data collected has the potential to transform our understanding of the way the Arctic is responding to climate change—so important to improving our ability to predict global climate impacts of a rapidly changing Arctic environment.” (Full story)

Also from the LA Reporter this week:

Triad awards $150k grant to address substance abuse issues in northern New Mexico

An innovative program to tackle substance abuse in the EspaƱola and Pojoaque Valleys will benefit from a $151,500 grant to United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM) from Los Alamos National Laboratory operator Triad National Security, LLC.

“Before Triad even began operating the Laboratory, the people of Rio Arriba County and the Pojoaque Valley made it clear to us that substance abuse is a significant, pressing issue for their communities,” said Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

UNM-LA participates in Los Alamos National Lab event

UC President Janet Napolitano,
UC photo.             

UNM-Los Alamos Chancellor Dr. Cindy Rooney and presidents and chancellors from other northern New Mexico institutions including UNM-Taos, was honored to participate in the Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Conversation on Education event held recently.

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced Triad’s investments in both the LANL Foundation and the Regional Development Corporation (RDC). The RDC will provide funds to local institutions of higher education for workforce initiatives. Their investment will support professional development workshops, accelerated learning programs and paid internships in the region to strengthen STEM education and pathways to careers at LANL. (Full story)