Friday, November 22, 2019

What is dark matter made of? These are the top candidates

The MiniBooNE detector is filled with mineral
oil and tiny sensors, FermiLab photo.

While it’s too soon to chalk up the observed flavor anomalies to sterile neutrinos, they do slot in nicely. “There’s clearly something going on, and it’s tantalizing,” says Richard Van de Water, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and MiniBooNE co-spokesman.

Assuming sterile neutrinos prove legit, they are still likely neither sufficient in mass nor number to constitute the bulk of dark matter. But just as normal neutrinos come in three flavors, multiple kinds of sterile neutrinos, with different masses, may also exist. And going a step further, neutrinos may not be the only kind of particle with a sterile counterpart. (Full story)

It's still not aliens: 'Mars Bug' claim could damage the search for life

The Martian landscape, NASA image.

An Ohio scientist claims to have found photographic proof of "insect and reptile-like" life on Mars. But, as always, it's not aliens, other researchers say.

"I think it's really easy to find patterns in images, especially when they're out of context," Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, told "They're little clips of larger images and there's no scale bar on them ... you could imagine a lot of different shapes in there. That's not a good way to do this kind of assessment." (Full story)

Understanding the mechanism of a viral explosion

Sometimes, after anti-viral medicines are administered, a 'rebound' occurs and the virus again replicates (and at a rapid pace). The mechanisms behind this have been the subject of new research.

One of the dreaded features of a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection can be the possible rebound of the virus after undergoing an otherwise successful antiretroviral (ART) regimen. Understanding the viral replication and dramatic growth that sometimes appears subsequent to ART treatment is the subject of a new study by scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The virologists have defined the principles governing whether HIV-1 spread among cells fails or becomes established by coupling stochastic modelling with laboratory experiments. HIV-1 is the most common and pathogenic strain of the virus (one of the challenges for the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus is its high genetic variability). (Full story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory commits to advancing gender equality In nuclear policy

Los Alamos Director Thom Mason,
LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is the first national lab to join Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, a leadership network that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy who are committed to breaking down gender barriers and making gender equality a reality in their spheres of influence.

“Nuclear policy, like many technological fields, has long been a male-dominated space,” LANL Director Thom Mason said. “As a result, women in the field have too often been marginalized. In joining Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, the Laboratory is committing to actively working to bring more women into the field, amplify their voices, and foster a culture of respect. We’re proud to be a part of this network and look forward to seeing the positive changes that result.” (Full story)

Also from the Daily Post this week:

Beierschmitt Briefs RCLC On Lab Infrastructure Plans

Beierschmitt shares infrastructure plans with
the RCLC Board, Daily Post photo.

It’s no secret Los Alamos National Laboratory has growing pains. Increased budgets and increased staff are a plus, but the extra projects and people have stretched the infrastructure resources at LANL … and the future goals of the Lab will stretch them even more.

LANL Deputy Director of Operations Kelly Beierschmitt addressed these issues during a presentation to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Board Friday in City Council Chambers in EspaƱola. Beierschmitt is responsible for the Lab's operations and facilities services, maintenance and infrastructure planning. (Full story)

‘The Ribosome’ exhibit opens at the Bradbury Science Museum

Augmented Reality brings the ribosome to
life. LANL photo.

This visual and interactive exhibit provides an insight into how life works as 3D and Augmented Reality brings the ribosome to life. It also explores the potential for developing new antibiotics and fighting diseases like cancer and genetic diseases.

The friendly exhibit also features a cartoon ribosome that helps visitors including STEM students to understand the science behind the ribosome. Curated by scientist Karissa Sanbonmatsu of the Lab’s Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group, the exhibit leverages the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s supercomputing technology. (Full story)

Harvesting of red light accelerates plant growth

Quantum dot-enabled retrofit greenhouse
film, UbiQD photo.

A Los Alamos startup’s quantum dots that emit red light could rake in plenty of green for greenhouse growers.

That’s according to the global market research firm Frost & Sullivan, which this month bestowed its 2019 New Product Innovation Award on UbiGro, a new window film for greenhouses created by New Mexico-based Ubiquitous Quantum Dots, or UbiQD Inc.

That’s a huge endorsement for a small New Mexico startup that launched in 2014 with technology licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Full story)