Friday, May 15, 2015



Incredible image of Antarctica's swirling currents

Antarctic ocean currents, colors show speed; white is fast and blue is slow. LANL image.

Unbroken by major landmasses, Antarctica's ocean currents race around the icy continent with powerful force. Now, a new image from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico reveals in amazing detail the turbulent rush of swirling eddies and currents in the Southern Ocean.

The scene is from a high-resolution, supercomputer replica of the Southern Ocean that is part of a Department of Energy project to create better climate models. (Full Story)



Samitaur, LANL developing brain injury detection tech

Harshini Mukundan on YouTube, LANL image.

A new detection approach originally developed for tuberculosis diagnostics is being adapted as a tool for determining traumatic brain injury, one of the challenges facing the medical community as it works to treat military and sports figures with head injuries.

Minute chemical alterations in the body, called biomarkers, are the key. “The goal of this project is to not only detect traumatic brain injuries, but eventually to guide treatment as well,” said lead researcher Harshini Mukundan of Los Alamos National Laboratory. ( Full Story) See Mukundan on video



Ultralow-field MRI comes out of the lab

 Ultralow-field MRI scan, LANL image.

A practical, portable ultralow-field MRI system has been unveiled by researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US. With its low power requirements and lightweight construction, the researchers hope that their prototype design can soon be deployed for use in medical centres in developing countries as well as in military field hospitals.

"Standard MRI machines just can't go everywhere," explains project leader Michelle Espy, a physicist at Los Alamos. "Soldiers wounded in battle usually have to be flown in to a large hospital – and people in emerging nations just don't have access to MRI at all." (Full Story) Watch the video




Water use by trees is a key part of the hydrological process linking soil to climate and local weather

ULF-NMR and neutron imaging experiment, LANL image.         

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have made the first simultaneous measurements of Ultra-Low-Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (ULF-NMR) and neutron imaging to visualize the movement of water in trees.

Water use by trees is a key part of the hydrological process linking soil to climate and local weather. Despite decades of research and method development, non-destructive, in vivo measurements of water uptake and flow in trees are unavailable for field-based measurement. (Full Story)




Lee gets Early Career award

Christopher Lee, LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Christopher Lee is a recipient of the 2015 Early Career Research Program awards from the Department of Energy Office of Science.

“This prestigious award is recognition of Christopher Lee’s outstanding work in nuclear and particle physics, which is a vital part of the laboratory’s national security  science mission,” said Alan Bishop, principal associate director for Science, Technology and Engineering. (Full story)

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Friday, May 8, 2015


 Defeating the Virus

Illustration from The Scientist

Bette Korber and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory are designing so-called mosaic antigens to overcome HIV diversity. These are computationally derived proteins created by stitching together genetic sequences from across the entire HIV genome. These mosaic antigens, when delivered via viral vectors either alone or in combination with each other or a protein booster component, can provide greater breadth of cellular immune responses against HIV variants and protect against SHIV infection in monkeys. (Full Story)



 The trouble with reference rot

Van de Sompel, LANL photo.

Herbert Van de Sompel, an information scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library in New Mexico, quantified the alarming extent of this 'link rot' and 'content drift' (together, 'reference rot') in a paper published last December. With a group of researchers under the auspices of the Hiberlink project, he analysed more than 1 million 'web-at-large' links (defined as those beginning with 'http://' that point to sites other than research articles) in some 3.5 million articles published between 1997 and 2012. (Full Story)




LANL team developing downsized MRI for use on battlefield

Second generation MRI system, LANL photo.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are working on a mobile MRI machine that could help doctors in battlefield hospitals and in poor communities better diagnose injuries to the brain and other soft tissues.

It won’t be small enough to fit in a backpack, but the machine that lab scientist Michelle Espy and her team hope to perfect will be a lot more portable than the typical Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine used in a hospital. (Full Story)

Watch the video


Two more from the New Mexican this week:

Farmington second cleanest city for particle pollution, study says


Four corners power station, from the Daily Times

“It’s not just particles that are a concern to health,” Climate Scientist Manvendra Dubey said. “It’s also things like ozone and smog, which are gasses.”

Dubey was part of a study the national laboratory released in 2014 that found the San Juan Generating Station, Four Corners Power Plant, San Juan Mine and Navajo Mine were collectively the largest point-source polluters in the country. (Full Story)


Los Alamos startup aims to glean data from satellite images

Steven P. Brumby, Descartes Labs co-founder, New Mexican photo.

Started last year by a group of scientists with a century of experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Descartes Labs is training computers to use satellite images in what it hopes will change the way we see the world.

Descartes co-founder Steven P. Brumby, a theoretical physicist who led a machine-learning team at LANL for seven years, remembers as a child that he always wanted the window seat on airplanes, “to see what was on the ground.” (Full Story)



Why your next light saber will be an LED enhanced with Quantum Dots

Quantum Dot window material, LANL image.

According to our friends over at Los Alamos National Laboratory, that would be a little more than 15 years before the discovery of quantum dots. We bring that up because quantum dots have emerged as the linchpin of next-generation lighting technology.

Quantum dots are nanoscale particles of semiconductor materials. They’ve earned the moniker “artificial atoms” because their electronic properties can be precisely engineered. (Full Story)




Inspiring a new generation of women in nuclear science and engineering


ChemCam on the Curiosity rover. NASA image.

Nina Lanza, a research scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory currently working on the Curiosity Rover mission on Mars, brought a unique research perspective based on her experiences working in a large multidisciplinary team. Her research focuses on the elemental analysis of Martian rock and soil using ChemCam, an instrument that combines laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy with a high-resolution camera. (Full Story)

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Friday, May 1, 2015



TB diagnostic tool may also detect TBI

Harshini Mukundan uses an optical biosensor. LANL photo.

A detection approach originally developed for tuberculosis diagnostics is being adapted as a tool for determining traumatic brain injury, one of the challenges facing the medical community as it works to treat military and sports figures with head injuries.

“The goal of this project is to not only detect traumatic brain injuries, but eventually to guide treatment as well,” said lead researcher Harshini Mukundan of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We hope that our project will greatly benefit the care and recovery of veterans and deployed troops,” (Full Story)

Also from Medical Xpress




Mathematical model seeks functional cure for HIV

HIV, the AIDS virus (yellow), infecting a human immune cell. NIH image.

Individuals with the natural ability to control HIV infection in the absence of treatment are referred to as elite controllers (ECs). Such individuals maintain undetectable viral loads less than 50 copies per mL without therapy.

A group of researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a mathematical model of post-treatment control (PTC) of HIV infection in noncontrollers. (Full Story)




New technology could better detect dangerous materials at US ports

A typical American port, from Inside Science.

Some scientists are skeptical. It would still require a huge amount of radiation to scan a full cargo container, said Christopher Morris, chief scientist and head of the Los Alamos Muon Tomography Team. Morris has a patent on technology with a similar goal.

"If you fill up a cargo container from bottom up with frozen peas, the thickness of the peas is two-and-a-half meters. To see through that much material requires enormous doses. It requires incident lethal doses of radiation," and inspectors would have to be shielded from them. (Full Story)




SF team wins supercomputing challenge

Meghan Hill, left, and Katelynn James, right, pose with Rhonda Ward, their AP biology teacher, Journal photo.      

Inspired by circumstances surrounding their teacher, two young women at Santa Fe’s Mesa del Sol charter school took top honors at the 25th Annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge with a project on the cutting edge of science, exploring the use of nanotechnology as an alternative way to kill cancer cells. (Full Story)



PATHION develops new solid-state electrolytes

PATHION has an exclusive worldwide license for LiRAP from Los Alamos National Laboratories. Supported by an ARPA-E grant, LiRAP has proven to be a safe alternative compared to the liquid electrolytes used in most of today’s lithium ion batteries.

Solid-state electrolytes, unlike liquid-state, have extremely low expansion, no out-gassing, and the elimination of dendrite growth between anode and cathode, although sometimes at the expense of performance. (Full Story)




Los Alamos computer simulation improves offshore drill rig safety

A simulation of vortex induced motion shows how ocean currents affect offshore oil rigs. LANL image.

The security and efficiency of fossil-fuel extraction methods is increasingly important to an industry seeking to balance environmental concerns and profitability. To meet this goal, they to turn to US DOE Los Alamos National Laboratory supercomputers to understand how turbulent ocean currents affect floating oil rigs. LANL’s simulations point to a safer way to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy. (Full Story)

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Friday, April 24, 2015



Atomic labs across the U.S. race to stop Iran

Los Alamos National Laboratory.  LANL photo.

When diplomats at the Iran talks in Switzerland pummeled Department of Energy scientists with difficult technical questions — like how to keep Iran’s nuclear plants open but ensure that the country was still a year away from building a bomb — the scientists at times turned to a secret replica of Iran’s nuclear facilities built deep in the forests of Tennessee.

The classified replica is but one part of an extensive crash program within the nation’s nine atomic laboratories — Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Livermore among them — to block Iran’s nuclear progress. (Full Story)



Portable MRI could aid wounded soldiers and children in the third world

Second generation “unshielded” MRI system at Los Alamos. LANL image.          

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra low-field MRI system that could be low power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World’s poorest regions.

"MRI technology is a powerful medical diagnostic tool," said Michelle Espy, the Battlefield MRI (bMRI) project leader, "ideally suited for imaging soft-tissue injury, particularly to the brain." (Full Story)

Also in R&D Magazine & Watch the video on YouTube



Infrasonic sound waves could help detect Venusian seismic activity

Illustration shows how scientists might detect an earthquake on Venus. Keck Institute image.

Detecting an "earthquake" on Venus would seem to be an impossible task. The planet's surface is a hostile zone of crushing pressure and scorching temperatures.

In recent years, says Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Stephen Arrowsmith, infrasonic observations have undergone a renaissance of sorts, especially as a relatively inexpensive way to monitor atmospheric nuclear weapons tests.

Arrowsmith and colleagues say that barometric pressure changes might be detected with a series of balloons in the Venus cloud layer at 55 kilometers above the surface. (Full Story)




Landscapes we don’t want to lose: New Mexico’s Jemez mountains

The changing landscape of the Jemez Mountains, from The Guardian.              

As Earth Day turns 45, share your story about the natural – or urban – landscape you want to save. Here, Nate McDowell, a tree physiologist in New Mexico, explains how a warming climate is irreversibly altering an ancient ecosystem.  McDowell has been researching how and why trees die at Los Alamos National Laboratory for many years, and is working with other scientists across the planet to better understand the connection between drought, climate change, and forest mortality. (Full Story)




Earth Day: Biophysics research on biofuels

Cellulose bonds, LANL image.            

In honor of Earth Day, we spoke with Biophysical Society member Gnana S. Gnanakaran of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) about his research on biofuels and the role of LANL in pioneering biofuel research.

What is the connection between your research and biofuels?

Cellulose, an assembly of glucose polymers, is a vital renewable energy resource originating from plants. A major barrier for biofuel production is the efficient extraction of cellulose fibers from biomass and their degradation to glucose. (Full Story)




Just your typical New Mexico image recognition startup

Genie software. LANL image.

The company in question is Descartes Labs, and there's a very good reason why it's in Los Alamos. It aims to commercialize image-recognition technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) under the supervision of Steven Brumby.  He joined the Laboratory in 1998 and co-invented GENIE, an image-analysis software that was capable of identifying elements such as water and beaches in satellite photos. (Full Story)



Monte del Sol duo win top award at Supercomputing Challenge

Katelynn James (left) and Meghan Hill, LANL photo.

Two Santa Fe students took top honors Tuesday at the 25th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge at Los Alamos National Laboratory with a project exploring how tiny robots could kill cancer cells.

Meghan Hill and Katelynn James, both 18 and seniors at Monte del Sol Charter School, won out over 240 other students from 64 teams and schools across the state. It was the first time the duo had entered the Supercomputing Challenge. (Full Story)


Future Supercomputers Grow Out of File Systems, Into DAOS

Los Alamos National Laboratory was the originator of the burst buffer concept to boost I/O on large supercomputers, but the plan was always to see this storage tier as something that could tie off other data movement bottlenecks and find real use within applications.  Gary Grider, head of high performance computing at Los Alamos, says that exascale systems simply will not use file systems at all. (Full Story)
 


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