Friday, May 21, 2021

A newfound quasicrystal formed in the first atomic bomb test

Red trinitite was formed from melted sand, copper wires and other debris in the aftermath of the Trinity nuclear test. From Science News.


Trinitite takes its moniker from the nuclear test, named Trinity, in which the material was created in abundance (SN: 4/8/21). “You can still buy lots of it on eBay,” says geophysicist Terry Wallace, a coauthor of the study and emeritus director of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.


But, he notes, the trinitite the team studied was a rarer variety, called red trinitite. Most trinitite has a greenish tinge, but red trinitite contains copper, remnants of the wires that stretched from the ground to the bomb. Quasicrystals tend to be found in materials that have experienced a violent impact and usually involve metals. Red trinitite fit both criteria. (Full Story)


Newly discovered quasicrystal was created by first atomic bomb test


discovery made by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory may someday help scientists better understand nuclear explosions and control nuclear proliferation. According to a news release from LANL, a newly discovered quasicrystal was first created by the initial nuclear explosion at Trinity Site on July 16, 1945.


The quasicrystal that was formed by the Trinity explosion in a sample of red trinitite reportedly has a five-fold rotational symmetry which scientists say isn’t possible in a natural crystal. The quasicrystal’s symmetry group is the same as the regular 20-sided icosahedron solid. (Full Story)


Also from Newswise and LiveScience


Nanostructure thermalization process reveals surprising behaviors of nanoparticles


Thermalization of an ensemble of nanoparticles, UNM illustration.


collaboration between scientists from the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Institute of Optics (Spain) has developed a framework that enables the efficient and simple description of the thermalization dynamics of systems that are made up of even thousands of nanoparticles. The work delivers insight into the way that collections of nanoparticles radiatively exchange heat with one another and their environment.


Radiative heat transfer occurs as the sun emits light (electromagnetic radiation) that travels to Earth and heats an object that absorbs it. Radiative heat transfer is also the mechanism behind thermal cameras; every hot object, including humans, emits light, allowing the object to release heat and thermalize to the environment. (Full Story)


The singing neutrino Nobel laureate who nearly bombed Nevada


Reines, left, and Cowan, at the controls of the Savannah River experiment, LANL photo.


Frederick Reines joined the Los Alamos laboratory in 1944 to work on the Manhattan Project, the US effort to develop an atomic bomb led by some of the world’s top physicists. Most left Los Alamos after the war; not Reines. He continued to work on the radiation emissions of nuclear bombs — above-ground atomic tests were still taking place, in Nevada and on remote atolls in the Pacific Ocean


In the early 1950s, Reines and his colleague Clyde Cowan designed an experiment to detect neutrinos, the tiniest and most elusive of subatomic particles. Theorists were convinced that neutrinos must exist — and that they would be untraceable. And Reines liked nothing better than a challenge. (Full Story)


Historic ‘#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit’ featuring woman in STEM from New Mexico


Harshini Mukundan, an #IfThenSheCan ambassador, LANL photo.


Designed to activate a culture shift among young girls by inspiring them to pursue STEM careers, Lyda Hill Philanthropies®’ IF/THEN® Initiative presents ‘#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit’, a monumental exhibit of the most women statues ever assembled in one location.


The Exhibit celebrates the contributions of more than 120 AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors, including microbiologist Dr. Harshini Mukundan, a team leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory, her work focuses on developing diagnostics of infectious diseases. She leads and participates in projects aimed at developing rapid detection and diagnostics assays for breast cancer, influenza, toxic panels, and others. In addition to her research, she mentors the future minds of science and advocates for women and underrepresented groups in STEM. (Full Story)


Guest Column: Affordable, attainable technical degrees open the door at LANL and across the nation


Radiological Control Technicians, LANL photo.


Currently, the Radiation Control and Protection Competitive Academic Opportunity program at Northern’s EspaƱola campus is open for enrollment. This is a competitive program that selects up to 10 students. For the full-time students chosen, tuition and fees will be covered by the Laboratory. 


They will also be given a paid internship that will pay the student/intern while they are in class (based on standard NNMC contact hours), and through the beginning of the security clearance process and the move to full-time employment upon graduation with an associate’s degree, providing the student meets all Los Alamos National Laboratory eligibility requirements. In addition to paid internships and paid tuition, students are also eligible for Laboratory benefits. The starting salary for RCTs is in the $50,000/year range. (Full Story)



To subscribe to Los Alamos Press Highlights, please e-mail and include the words subscribe PressHighlights in the body of your email message; to unsubscribe, include unsubscribe PressHighlights.


Please visit us at