Friday, March 20, 2020

Are we ready for quantum computers?

Quantum illustration from SciAm.

As we wait for the hardware to catch up with theory, researchers in quantum information science will continue to study and implement quantum algorithms useful for the currently available noisy, fault-ridden machines. But many of us are also taking a longer view, pushing theory deep into the intersection of quantum physics, information theory, complexity and mathematics and opening up new frontiers to explore, once we have the quantum computers to take us there.

This column's author, Rolando Somma, conducts research on quantum information theory and condensed matter physics in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems Group of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

How a small nuclear war would transform the entire planet

Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev after signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991. Photo from Nature.

Comparisons with giant wildfires could also help in resolving a controversy about the scale of the potential impacts. A team at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico argues that Robock’s group has overestimated how much soot burning cities would produce and how high the smoke would go.

The Los Alamos group used its own models to simulate the climate impact of India and Pakistan setting off 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs. The scientists found that much less smoke would get into the upper atmosphere than Toon and Robock reported. With less soot to darken the skies, the Los Alamos team calculated a much milder change to the climate — and no nuclear winter. (Full Story)

Scientists design water splitting technology to create affordable renewable energy

Illustration from Energy News 24

A collaborative team of scientists including those from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Washington State University have discovered an innovative way of splitting water into parts in order to make renewable energy, even if the sun and the wind are at its weakest.

The method uses solar and wind power when it is available for water splitting. Furthermore, the process uses electricity to split H20 into hydrogen and oxygen and thus stores energy in the form of hydrogen fuel.

“The current water electrolysis system uses a very expensive catalyst. In our system, we use a nickel-iron based catalyst, which is much cheaper, but the performance is comparable,” explains Yu Seung Kim, a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and corresponding author on the paper. (Full Story)

New program helps New Mexico small businesses bring technology to market

New Mexico companies who find themselves up a creek without venture capital to ferry them across the research and development gap from invention to commercialization may receive a life-preserver thanks to a new law recently passed by the New Mexico Legislature and signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Qualifying companies may receive up to $150,000 per year in technical assistance from Los Alamos National Laboratory or Sandia National Laboratories, applicable toward activities such as prototyping, field demonstrations, technical validation, and testing—expensive endeavors critical to any new product’s success.  (Full Story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory ‘s Community Programs Office provides food staples for seniors

Joanna Gillespie of the Los Alamos National Laboratory ‘s Community Programs Office hands off ‘shelf staples’ provided to seniors of local senior centers to provide meals to seniors. Seniors 60 and over are welcome to join the centers for free in White Rock or Los Alamos. Call (505) 662-8920 for information or visit (Full Story)

Also from the Reporter this week:

LANL Foundation awards $741,000 To 110 Northern New Mexico scholarship recipients

Monica Chavez, a graduating senior at the New Mexico School for the Deaf, LANL Foundation photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation, in partnership with the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund (LAESF), has awarded $741,000 during its 2020 four-year scholarship cycle. These scholarships will support the educational goals of 110 Northern New Mexico students.

Three graduating seniors, Monica Chavez, New Mexico School for the Deaf, Lillian Peterson, Los Alamos High School and Kyran Romero, Santa Fe Indian School, were awarded the top-level $20,000 Gold Scholarship. (Full Story)

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