Science

Los Alamos National Laboratory 2020 Year In Review

Los Alamos National Laboratory. Courtesy/LANL

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
caclark@ladailypost.com

Looking back over 2020, Director Thom Mason said it is the 13,000 Laboratory employees that he is most proud of … how they have stepped up and met the challenges of a global pandemic.

LANL Director Thom Mason

Just shifting that large number of employees from working onsite to working remotely was quite an endeavor and Mason commended the employees on having adapted so well.

“Those employees that had to be onsite were safer by not having more people here,” he said during a recent


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National Nuclear Security Administration Job Fair Jan. 27

DOE/NNSA News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) is hosting a virtual hiring event 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, although candidates will have the opportunity to register and submit resumes the day of the event.

The registration link is available here.

During the virtual job fair, candidates will have the opportunity to browse videos about the Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) sites. From the virtual lobby, attendees can visit hiring booths, view information for each NSE


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New Algorithm Mimics Electrosensing In Fish

Weakly electric fish are specially adapted to traverse obscured waters without relying on vision; instead, they sense their environment via electric fields. Courtesy/SIAM

SIAM News:

While humans may struggle to navigate a murky, turbid underwater environment, weakly electric fish can do so with ease. These aquatic animals are specially adapted to traverse obscured waters without relying on vision; instead, they sense their environment via electric fields.

Now, researchers are attempting to adapt these electrosensing techniques to improve underwater robotics.

Scientists have


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Homegrown New Mexico Science And Tech Companies Including UbiQD Awarded Innovation Research Grants

UbiGro inside a greenhouse of UbiQD of Los Alamos. Courtesy/UbiQD

STATE News:

  • ‘Each of these companies is developing technology that will greatly benefit mankind…’ –EDD

SANTA FE – Three high-tech New Mexico companies will receive New Mexico Small Business Innovation Research (NMSBIR) Grants to help their businesses thrive, announced New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD) Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes.

The three companies receiving awards for this round of the grant are:

  • UbiQD in Los Alamos;
  • BennuBio in Albuquerque; and
  • Mesa Photonics in Santa Fe.

Each of these companies


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U.S., Canada Complete Nuclear Material Shipping Campaign

Acting NNSA Administrator Dr. William Bookless. Screenshot/LADP

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited President and CEO Richard Sexton. Screenshot/LADP

NNSA News:

  • Material had been used to create life-saving medicines

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) announced the completion of a multi-year campaign to repatriate 161 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) liquid target residue material from Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, Canada, to the Savannah River Site in Aiken,


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Fatal Attraction: Bats With White-Nose Syndrome Prefer Suboptimal Habitats Despite Consequences

Bats with white-nose syndrome roosting in the warmest sites have been hit particularly hard, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Tech. Courtesy/Virginia Tech

A research team uses a swab to measure the fungal loads on each individual bat and a laser thermometer to measure the roosting temperature of the rocks next to each bat. Courtesy//Virginia Tech

By KENDALL DANIELS
Virginia Tech

Since 2006, a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome has caused sharp declines in bat populations across the eastern United States.

The fungus that causes the disease, Pseudogymnoascus destructans,


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Los Alamos High School Senior Named Top Scholar

Karin Ebey

LAPS News:

Karin Ebey, a senior at Los Alamos High School, has been named one of the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

“I am really excited to be named one of the top 300 finalists,” Ebey said.

Her project title is Climate Change on Crocodilians: Modeling the Effects of Variations in Rainfall on Crocodilians and Their Ecosystems. On Jan. 21, 40 of the 300 scholars will be named Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards


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DOE/NNSA: Los Alamos Field Office Proposes Facility For Isotope Production Used In Cancer Therapies

DOE/NNSA News:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Los Alamos Field Office has issued a categorical exclusion (CX) determination to construct and operate a Light Manufacturing Facility to support DOE/NNSA’s Isotope Production Program.

The Light Manufacturing Facility will be used to for the processing of alpha emitting isotopes that will be shipped throughout the country and be used for varying cancer therapies.

The CX is available here.


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LAHS Senior Karin Ebey Among Society For Science Top 300 Scholars In Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021

SFS News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Society for Science (the Society) Thursday announced the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Los Alamos High School senior Karin Ebey is among the winners for her project  Climate Change on Crocodilians: Modeling the Effects of Variations in Rainfall on Crocodilians and Their Ecosystem.

The 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000 each.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars were selected from 1,760 applications received


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Amateur Naturalist: Eroded Rock, Grinding Stone, Or Sacred Stone?

By ROBERT DRYJA
Los Alamos

Rocks of all shapes and sizes can seen while exploring the slopes of the Jemez Mountains. But some create puzzles when looked at closely.

Consider a slope rising gently through a wooded landscape toward a mountain peak. The trees are spread apart and the grass is short as a result of the shade.

It is easy to see relatively small boulders that are two to three feet across, have relatively flat surfaces and are grey in color. A different appearing boulder then appears, (Picture A).

Picture A: How did this pattern of holes develop in the boulder? Photo by Robert Dryja

This particular


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Rotary Hosts Dr. Sandy Farmer Of Pfizer Pharmaceutical

By LINDA HULL
Vice President
Rotary Club of Los Alamos

Dr. Sandy Farmer of Pfizer Pharmaceutical was the featured speaker via Zoom at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos. 

In his presentation, How the COVID-19 Vaccine Came to Be: A Confluence of Innovation Along Many Dimensions, Farmer outlined the evolution of vaccine development. He explained that although the world’s first vaccine was administered in 1798 to reduce the spread of smallpox, it wasn’t until the late 1960s and into the 1970s that purified forms were steadily developed to eliminate use of live viruses which can generate


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Air Force Research Laboratory Engineer Award Winner Dr. Odell Reynolds Proclaims A First For U.S. Space Force

Air Force Research Laboratory engineer Dr. Odell Reynolds speaks at the ceremony where Air Force Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Joseph presented him the 2019 Harold Brown Award. The ceremony was Dec. 16, 2020 at AFRL’s Starfire Optical Range on Kirtland AFB. U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Ireland R. Summers

AFRL News:

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE — Air Force Research Laboratory Senior Engineer Dr. Odell Reynolds received the 2019 Harold Brown Award from Chief Scientist of the Air Force Dr. Richard Joseph, in a ceremony Dec. 16, 2020 at AFRL’s Starfire Optical Range (SOR) on Kirtland Air Force Base.

The Harold


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Learn About The Sunrise Movement Of Northern New Mexico With PEEC’s Young Adult Advisory Group Sunday Jan. 10

Join Zoe Hemez from the Sunrise Movement of Northern New Mexico and PEEC’s Young Adult Advisory Group for an introduction to the local chapter of the Sunrise Movement, 4 p.m. Sunday. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Join the Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s (PEEC) Young Adult Advisory Group at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, to learn about the local chapter of the Sunrise Movement.

Zoe Hemez from the Sunrise Movement of Northern New Mexico will give a brief overview of the Sunrise Movement’s mission and share some examples of work that has been done by the Northern New Mexico chapter at this event.

After


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Deepfakes: How They Deceive Us … How We Detect Them

Science on Tap: Can you tell if a photo or video is generated by artificial intelligence? The Bradbury Science Museum invites the community to join Juston Moore virtually at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11 to learn about potential approaches to reduce the risks of AI-generated misinformation. To register, click here. Courtesy/BSM


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Ghost Town In Playas Provides High-Tech Testing For AFRL

AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate researchers setting up test equipment overlooking the Playas Research and Training Center in southern New Mexico. Courtesy/AFRL

AFRL NEWS:

KIRTLAND AFB — In a dusty ghost town in southern New Mexico, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is conducting some of its most important testing.

Located in Hidalgo County, Playas was once a bustling “corporate town” built by the Phelps Dodge Corporation to house the workforce of a copper smelter built in 1971.

The boom town was all but abandoned when copper prices fell in 1999, the smelter was closed, and most of its


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AI World Society History Of AI 2020 Awards Recognizes People; Achievements That Are Pioneering, Influential

As a champion of democratic values and trained scientist who places humanity at the center of AI innovation, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen – president of the European Commission is recognized for HAI 2020. Courtesy/AIWS

AIWS News:

BOSTON, MA — The AI World Society Thursday announced the History of AI 2020 Awards. The HAI Awards recognize people and achievements in the AI world that are pioneering, meaningful, and influential.

The History of AI 2020 Awards for Achievement go to:

AlphaFold – the solution to a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology, developed by DeepMind. “This breakthrough


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Glimpse Of What’s New In COVID-19 Research At LANL

LANL continues working to better understand and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

Los Alamos National Laboratory continues its work to better understand and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Here’s a brief look at some of the research underway:

Infrastructure analysis and decision support

Los Alamos developed the Modeling Epidemics for Decision Support with Infrastructure Analysis (MEDIAN) to understand interdependencies between critical infrastructures and public health measures such as contact tracing and diagnostics as it relates to pandemic


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LANL: ‘Garbage To Gas … Using Biodigesters To Create Energy’ Wins 2020 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge

Los Alamos National Laboratory awards a $4,500 cash prize to the winning students in the New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

Student scientists at Monte del Sol Charter School earned a $4,500 cash prize awarded by Los Alamos National Laboratory judges in the New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge with their project, “Garbage to Gas: Using Biodigesters to Create Energy”.

“The STEM Challenge’s team-based approach of applying science, technology, engineering and math to address real needs is a microcosm of what we do at the Laboratory every day,” Laboratory Director


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Los Lunas Public Library Partners In National Project On Gender Equitable, Culturally Responsive Science Learning

LLPL News:

LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas Public Library has been selected as one of 12 libraries to participate in the STAR Net STEAM Equity Project, a competitive grant program that will enable the library and its collaborators to offer special programs, educational products, and exhibitions.

Through this project, Los Lunas and surrounding area residents are invited to join this effort to empower tweens and their families in equitable STEAM learning and career paths by building off of their existing strengths, interests, and diverse cultures.

The STEAM Equity project — where STEAM stands for Science,


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AFRL Spacecraft Collects Never Before Seen Data

A diagram of the Air Force Research Laboratory DSX and Japanese Space Agency Arase experiment in which the first space-to-space very low frequency transmission was conducted. The locations and directions of the spacecraft at the time of the experiment are shown, DSX in yellow and Arase in cyan, when they were 436 kilometers apart. Direct VLF wave paths from DSX are in blue, while the paths of waves reflected by magnetospheric plasma are in red. White dotted lines show magnetic field lines from the Earth’s magnetic field, which tends to guide the low-density plasma and, as a result, the VLF waves.


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