Friday, April 10, 2015



70 years on, crowd gets close to the birthplace of the atomic bomb

Visitors at Trinity Site, from the NYT

As the 70th anniversary of the test approaches in July, interest in Trinity Site has surged, bringing more visitors to places — test sites, bunkers, museums — connected to the weapons.

As home to the testing site and the laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico also takes considerable state pride in the nuclear program. “It felt, for me, like a pilgrimage,” said Janet Gagliano, 54, from Albuquerque.  (Full Story)




A potential Rosetta Stone of high temperature superconductivity

An international team led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory has demonstrated that the compound CeCoIn5 with incredibly high purity and the highest superconducting temperature for a cerium based material could serve as an ideal system to investigate the effect of disorder in the materials. Magnetic fluctuations, a driver for unconventional superconductivity, are indeed observed in pristine CeCoIn5. (Full Story)


Today in photos: A trillion-particle cosmic simulation

Photo #3  A team of astrophysicists and computer scientists, including Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers, completed the first-ever complete trillion-particle cosmological simulation and have made an initial 55 Tbyte (trillion bytes) public data release. A primary goal of this project is to adopt some of the fundamental concepts of the open source community, and translate them to open data for state-of-the-art cosmological simulations. (Photo)


This stunning image shows us the future of climate models

This technicolour swirl may look like an artist’s acid trip, but what you’re actually looking at is the next generation of high-resolution climate models.

Warmer colours represent hotter temperatures and ripples indicate eddy currents in this stunning visualization, which was released last week by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

It was produced by a simulation called the Model for Prediction Across Scales Ocean (MPAS-O). MPAS-O is a variable resolution model, meaning researchers can sharpen the simulation on regional scales where more data exists. (Full Story)




Nanoscience showcase at Los Alamos’ Bradbury Science Museum

Bradbury Science Museum, LANL photo.

Nanoscience is in the spotlight this week at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, where a range of programs will demonstrate the special and unexpected properties found at the nanoscale. KSFR's Tom Trowbridge spoke with Gordon McDonough, one of two “science evangelists” at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos about “Nano Days,” and asked him to tell us what’s going on during the event. (Full Story)



Randy Fraser named Security Professional of the Year

Randy Fraser.  LANL photo.                

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) announced on Thursday that Randy Fraser has been awarded the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Security Professional of the Year award for 2014.

Fraser is employed by the LANL Security, Safeguards and Emergency Response Directorate, as a program manager for the Strategic Security Infrastructure program. (Full Story)




Two LANL organizations receive recognition

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Nuclear Material Control and Accountability Group and the Quality and Performance Assurance Division received 2014 Performance Excellence Recognition awards from Quality New Mexico and will be recognized at QNM’s annual learning summit and awards ceremony in Albuquerque. (Full Story)

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Friday, April 3, 2015





Major new research project to study how tropical forests respond to climate change


The Amazon rain forest. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.

The project is called the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics, or NGEE-Tropics.

The effort includes collaborators from Berkeley, Brookhaven, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest national laboratories. The study also includes researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA, and several institutions from other nations, including Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research. (Full story)




 
Cosmic-ray muon technology to be used to image debris inside Fukushima Daiichi reactors
 
Toshiba Muon Detector, from PhysOrg.

Toshiba Corporation and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) today announced the development of a muon-based technology for imaging and mapping nuclear fuel debris inside the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Toshiba and IRID have adapted a novel technology for measuring the scattering behavior of muons penetrating objects, building on techniques originally developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the United States. (Full story)





Verdesian can help plants Take-Off
 

At Commodity Classic, Verdesian Life Sciences was showcasing nitrogen enhancement technology developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that can really help plants Take-Off.

According to Kurt Seevers with Verdesian technical services, Take Off® crop nitrogen assimilator helps improve photosynthesis by increasing carbon flow into a plant’s metabolism. (Full story)





Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity

Brad Ramshaw at the National High
Magnetic Field Lab, LANL photo

Taking our understanding of quantum matter to new levels, scientists are exposing high-temperature superconductors to very high magnetic fields, changing the temperature at which the materials become perfectly conducting and revealing unique properties of these substances. At this point, all devices that make use of superconductors, such as the MRI magnets found in hospitals, must be cooled to temperatures far below zero with liquid nitrogen or helium, adding to the cost and complexity of the enterprise. (Full story)





Did 'iron rain' bypass the Moon to fall mostly on Earth?

Moon-forming collision.  NASA illustration.

Experiments indicate that the velocity of the iron rain droplets will have been greater than the escape velocity on the moon, but below that of Earth. Earth would therefore have captured the metal cores of colliding asteroids, while the moon will have failed to. William Anderson of Los Alamos National Laboratory, US, said: “The moon may have received, but not retained, a significant portion of the late veneer.”

The results could imply that models for estimating the time scales of Earth’s core formation could be out by as much as a factor of ten, with the core forming much earlier in Earth’s history than previously recognized. (Full story)





Improving plutonium identification

 
TES-based devices sitting on one key of a
computer keyboard. NIST photo.

A collaboration between NIST scientists and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has resulted in a new kind of sensor that can be used to investigate the telltale isotopic composition of plutonium samples — a critical measurement for nuclear non-proliferation efforts and related forensics, as well as environmental monitoring, medical assays, and industrial safety. (Full story)





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Friday, March 27, 2015



Getting a critical edge on plutonium identification

TES-based devices sitting on one key of a computer keyboard. From PhysOrg

A collaboration between NIST scientists and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory has resulted in a new kind of sensor that can be used to investigate the telltale isotopic composition of plutonium samples – a critical measurement for nuclear non-proliferation efforts and related forensics, as well as environmental monitoring, medical assays, and industrial safety. (Full Story)



Also from PhysOrg this week:

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity

Brad Ramshaw conducts an experiment at the National High Magnetic Field Lab, LANL photo

LANL scientists are exposing high-temperature superconductors to very high magnetic fields, changing the temperature at which the materials become perfectly conducting and revealing unique properties of these substances.

“High magnetic-field measurements of doped copper-oxide superconductors are paving the way to a new theory of superconductivity,” said Brad Ramshaw of Condensed Matter and Magnet Science, lead researcher on the project. (Full Story)




Computer simulation improves offshore drill rig safety

A simulation of vortex induced motion. LANL image

Los Alamos National Laboratory mechanical and thermal engineering researchers’ efforts to solve the complex problem of how ocean currents affect the infrastructure of floating oilrigs and their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations received recognition from ANSYS Inc., a company that provides computer-based engineering simulation capabilities. (Full Story)

Also in HPCwire


LANL scientists’ ocean images help track changes and carbon capture

Los Alamos scientists recently used a supercomputer to paint a vibrant picture of how ocean eddies move heat and capture carbon from the atmosphere. The picture shows “the beauty of the ocean,” said scientist Todd Ringler.

More than a work of art, the ocean eddies modeled by Ringler and seven other members of the Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling team can help climate scientists and oceanographers track changes within the oceans. (Full Story)




New software identifies bacteria with less false positives

DNA and RNA extracted from the soil and other complex environments. LANL image

Led by Patrick Chain, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have combined bacterial genome databases and a search algorithm to create a system that can reveal the constituents of metagenomic samples through a process dubbed Genomic Origins Through Taxonomic Challenge (GOTTCHA). The system uses unique reads obtained through next-generation sequencing to resolve the taxonomy of bacterial species in metagenomes at any level from class all the way down to bacterial strain. (Full Story)

Also in Medical News Today



Scientists use this laser flower instead of nuclear explosions

Photo: It might look like something out of a nightclub, but this so-called Wide-angle Optical Multi-channel Probe is straight from the research halls of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

This specialized laser instrument allows Los Alamos scientists to perform sophisticated nuclear experiments and gather significant amounts of data without a critical mass of plutonium. (Full Story)




LANL takes on deadly bugs

Cross section of skin layers showing application of an ionic liquid for combating bacterial infection. UCSB image

David Fox is a staff scientist in LANL’s Bioscience Division. For several years he and a team of fellow chemists and microbiologists have been working with ionic liquids – known as molten salts. Originally their work was for forensic applications, like how to pull certain molecules out of fabrics. The team then figured out they could also use the ionic liquids to deliver molecules: like antibiotics to an until-then impenetrable bacteria. (Full Story)




HAWC Observatory to study Universe's most energetic phenomena

HAWC high in the mountains of Mexico. HAWC photo

HAWC has been collecting data since August 2013 when it had only 111 detector tanks. Even then, HAWC was much more capable than its predecessor-an observatory known as Milagro that operated near Los Alamos, N.M. and ceased taking data in 2008. In eight years of operation, Milagro found new sources of high-energy gamma rays, detected diffuse gamma rays from our own Milky Way galaxy and discovered that the cosmic rays hitting earth had an unexpected non-uniformity. (Full Story)


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Friday, March 20, 2015



Climate change as art

View of North America, LANL image.

The mesmerising patterns of our changing climate have been revealed in artistic computer simulations used to analyse global warming. The model, by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is used to simulate eddy transportation of heat within the ocean, a key component necessary to accurately simulate climate change. These are circular movements of water, counter to a main current, causing a small whirlpool. (Full Story)


High-energy partnership

HAWC observatory, high on the slopes near Puebla, Mexico. HAWC Photo

A new facility should help advance understanding of black holes, supernovae and the origins of our universe. A partnership including Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Maryland will lead the High Altitude Water Cherenkov observatory near Puebla, Mexico.

Almost six years in the making, this facility has unique capabilities for detecting the highest-energy electromagnetic radiation, and complements other gamma ray observatories around the world. (Full Story)



Bioinformatics tool for metagenome analysis

Molecular biology studies begin with purified DNA and RNA.  LANL photo

A new method for DNA analysis of microbial communities, such as those found in the ocean, the soil, and our own guts, has been developed by scientists. "We have developed a new tool in this rapidly expanding and evolving field of what is called 'metagenomics'" said a researcher. "It uses nucleic acid data and looks for sections that map uniquely to a pre-constructed database." (Full Story)

Also in PhysOrg and R&D Magazine




Los Alamos lab reduces water use in 2014

The Laboratory's SERF facility.  LANL image

Los Alamos National Laboratory says it has cut down on its water use by more than a quarter.

And about one-third of the savings last year came from the switch to reclaimed water for cooling a supercomputing center at the Northern New Mexico lab.

The lab’s reclamation plant contributed more than 27 million gallons of re-purposed water to the Strategic Computing Complex, a secure facility that supports national security work and is one of the institution’s larger water users. (Full Story)

Watch a video and see how SERF works.  Also in HPCwire



New insights into radiation damage evolution

A reaction between two "stacking fault tetrahedra." LANL image

Two reports from Los Alamos National Laboratory in Scientific Reports are helping crack the code of how certain materials respond in the highly damaging radiation environments within a nuclear reactor. The goal of these efforts is to understand at an atomistic level just how materials develop defects during irradiation,  and how those defects evolve to determine the ultimate fate of the material. (Full Story)




Reader View: Keeping peace — the real mission of Los Alamos

I think it is time that someone spoke up about the real mission of Los Alamos Scientific (later National) Laboratory.     

"You know what the lab is best known for, but you don’t know our mission. Your mission is to be absolutely certain that what Los Alamos is known for is never, ever used again in anger,” said former director Norris Bradbury.

Much water has passed over the dam, but that is still LANL’s mission, in spite of much of what you read and hear today. (Full Story)


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