Friday, February 28, 2020

Mars is humming. Scientists aren’t sure why

InSight is designed to map out Mars's interior structures, NASA image.

Under its frigid, dusty surface, Mars is humming. The quiet, constant drone periodically pulses with the beat of quakes rippling around the planet, but the source of this alien music remains unknown.

Analysis suggests the Mars hum is unrelated to the planet’s roaring winds, and it seems to strengthen with the crack of a distant marsquake. The effect is a little like causing a bell to ring by yelling nearby, explains Joshua Carmichael, a quantitative geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who was not involved in the research. Your voice is a mix of frequencies, and if one matches the resonance of the bell, your shouts can set it ringing. (Full Story)

Uranium and thorium make their debut in dual aromatic–antiaromatic molecule

First of their kind actinide compounds, image from Chemistry World.

The first metallabiphenylenes – molecules that have both aromatic and antiaromatic rings – have been made by chemists in the US. One of the compounds contains a uranium, the other a thorium atom.

A team led by Jaqueline Kiplinger at Los Alamos National Laboratory has now made two actinide metallabiphenylenes. Both the red–brown uranium complex and the bright yellow thorium derivative were synthesised by combining dicyclopentadiene complexes of the metals with potassium graphite, an extremely strong reducing agent. (Full Story)

Machine learning reveals earth tremor and slip occur continuously, not intermittently

Applying deep learning to seismic data has revealed tremor and slip occur at all times—before and after known large-scale slow-slip earthquakes—rather than intermittently in discrete bursts, as previously believed. Even more surprisingly, the machine learning generalizes to other tectonic environments, including the San Andreas Fault.

"The work tells us that the physics of friction on faults appears to have universal characteristics—something we suspected but could not prove," said Bertrand Rouet-Leduc, a geophysicist in the Geophysics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author on the paper. (Full Story)

Scientists in New Mexico studying link between coronavirus and animals

Scientists in New Mexico are studying the new coronavirus and other infectious diseases, trying to help stop a pandemic. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are looking into the cause and how to stop it.

They say there is a link between people and animals and believe that the more people come in contact with animals, the more diseases like the coronavirus will spread. “That can be through many ways -- through consumption of wildlife, through interaction with wildlife and what we’ve all heard through the news, with wet markets where wildlife is sold,” Dr. Jeanne Fair, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory said. (Full Story)

Going Viral

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists Jeanne Fair (left) and Sara Del Valle, LANL photo.

Sara Del Valle, the deputy group leader for LANL's Information Systems and Modeling Group, develops mathematical and computational models for infectious diseases. She has developed epidemiological models for smallpox, anthrax, HIV, Ebola, influenza, among others.

LANL Deputy Group Leader for Biosecurity & Public Health Jeanne Fair focuses on epidemiology and animal disease ecology, and was the principle investigator for a 24-year research project on the impacts of environmental stress on avian populations and infectious diseases. (Full Story)

Disease modeller says Covid-19 risk to NZ is very low

Photo from Radio New Zealand.

Sara Del Valle is an applied mathematician and disease modeller at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Like a weather forecaster, she uses mathematical equations to identify patterns in the hope of being able to predict trends that could be a threat to global security. Del Valle and other disease modellers have gazed into their computers to see the future of Covid-19 and the news is not bad for New Zealand. (Full Story)

To defeat Coronavirus, win the containment battle

Early estimates of the basic reproductive number r0 — a key epidemiological figure that reflects the number of new cases, on average, resulting from a single infection in a fully susceptible population — looked to be in the range of 2 to 3.

The largest estimate of r0 so far, in the range of 4.7 to 6.6, comes from a new study by a modeling group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Instead of using data collected in Wuhan, Hubei province, which are unreliable for many reasons, this study relied on data collected outside Hubei province. Data on human movements were gathered from the Baidu Migration server, an online platform that reports mobile-phone travel data, providing a high-resolution picture of travel patterns in China. (Full Story)

Santa Fe startup NTxBio plans expansion

Hallie Rane, senior scientist at NTxBio, New Mexican photo.

NTxBio President and co-founder Alex Koglin took two compounds he developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop new methods to produce pharmaceuticals that do not employ a commonly used fermentation process that he says is slow, needs a lot of space and is prone to contamination.

“You can produce [pharmaceuticals] in a much smaller space,” Koglin said. “Pharmaceutical companies need 10,000 to 30,000 square feet and $400 million to $500 million to produce one drug. (Full Story)

Computational storage winds its way towards the mainstream

Applications for Eideticom’s NoLoad devices cover both storage and compute applications again, with the company stating it supports computational accelerators for compression, encryption, erasure coding, deduplication, data analytics, AI and ML workloads.

Eideticom announced last year that it had worked with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop a storage system using a Lustre/ZFS-based parallel filesystem with NoLoad performing compression, erasure, checksumming and dedupe functions.

Eideticom received seed and strategic financing from Inovia Capital and Molex Ventures in 2019, but exact figures have not been disclosed. (Full Story)

What was the Manhattan Project?

Enrico Fermi's Los Alamos badge photo. LANL image.

The Manhattan Project enlisted the help of thousands of scientists across the country. Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard, physicists at the University of Chicago, were particularly important in the effort.

These scientists all worked under J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project's scientific director and leader of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Los Alamos wasn't the only laboratory involved in the Manhattan Project. The Met Lab at the University of Chicago and the Rad Lab at the University of California, Berkeley both had important roles.  (Full Story)

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