Science

Former LANL Mathematician Mark B. Wells Receives Special Services Award From U.S. Chess Federation

Mark Wells playing a game of chess with a young opponent. Courtesy photo

An example of Mark Well’s hand-written algorithm for ‘Knight’ moves of his 6×6 chess game (1957). Well’s early computer chess algorithms, including the one shown here, are now housed in the Computer History Museum in Palo Alto, Calif. Courtesy photo

By MARCELLA WELLS
Fort Collins, Colo.

Mark Wells, long-time resident of Los Alamos will receive a posthumous award from the U.S. Chess Federation based on his pioneering efforts in computer chess (c.1950s) and his lifelong love of the game.

His surviving daughters were


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Los Alamos Faith And Science Forum Announces Seventh Annual Summer Series – This Year Via Zoom Starting June 3

Scene from a Wednesday evening session during the 2019 LAFSF summer series at which Gerry Wood is delivering the after-dinner lecture at the Unitarian Church in Los Alamos. Courtesy/LAFSF

LAFSF News:

The Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum invites the community to its seventh annual summer program – this year via Zooming through cyberspace.

The lecture series begins at 6:30 p.m., every Wednesday starting June 3 and running for seven weeks through July 15. These sessions will be available on the internet via Zoom.

Registration information has already been sent to members and previous years’


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Registration Opens For Los Alamos ScienceFest 20×20 Art Challenge With Theme ‘20/20: Eyes On The Future’

Los Alamos Creative District News:

Registration is now open for the Los Alamos ScienceFest 20×20 Art Challenge.

The Los Alamos Creative District, Fuller Lodge Art Center, and the Los Alamos Arts Council are sponsoring this art competition designed to inspire and share creativity in the Los Alamos downtown area during this year’s ScienceFest, which will primarily be held virtually July 7–12.

The art challenge also will serve as a fundraiser for the Los Alamos Arts Council.

The challenge is limited to the first 20 artists to register, costs $20 per entry, and spots are expected to fill quickly.


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NIST Team Builds Hybrid Quantum System By Entangling Molecule With Atom

NIST physicist James Chin-wen Chou adjusts one of the laser beams used to manipulate an atom and a molecule in experiments that could help build hybrid quantum information systems. Courtesy/J. Burrus/NIST

NIST News:

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have boosted their control of the fundamental properties of molecules at the quantum level by linking or “entangling” an electrically charged atom and an electrically charged molecule, showcasing a way to build hybrid quantum information systems that could manipulate, store and transmit different


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Smithsonian Science Education Center With World Health Organization Support Launches COVID-19 Guide For Youth

Smithsonian News:

The Smithsonian Science Education Center, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)—a partnership of 140 national academies of science, engineering and medicine—has developed “COVID-19! How can I protect myself and others?,” a new rapid-response guide for youth ages 8–17.

The guide, which is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, aims to help young people understand the science and social science of COVID-19 as well as help them take actions to keep themselves, their families and communities safe.

Through


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AGU: How Climate Killed Great Barrier Reef Corals In 2016

The final toll: more than half the coral in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef died in 2016. Courtesy/AGU

AGU News:

A squad of climate-related factors is responsible for the massive Australian coral bleaching event of 2016. If we’re counting culprits: it’s two by sea, one by land.

First, El Niño brought warmer water to the Coral Sea in 2016, threatening Australia’s Great Barrier Reef’s corals. Long-term global warming meant even more heat in the region, according to a new study. And in a final blow that year, a terrestrial heatwave swept over the coast, blanketing the reef system well into the


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NIST Study Published Today Measures Performance Accuracy Of Contactless Fingerprint Scanning Technologies

NIST evaluated several commercially available contactless fingerprint scanning technologies in its May 2020 report. Courtesy/N. Hanacek/NIST

NIST News:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has evaluated several commercially available contactless fingerprint scanning technologies, allowing users to compare their performance to conventional devices that require physical contact between a person’s fingers and the scanner.

The results of the study, published today as NIST Interagency Report (NISTIR) 8307: Interoperability Assessment 2019: Contactless-to-Contact


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LANL: New Technique Separates Industrial Noise From Natural Seismic Signals

Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

For the first time, seismologists can characterize signals as a result of some industrial human activity on a continent-wide scale using cloud computing.

In two recently published papers in Seismological Research Letters, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory demonstrate how previously characterized “noise” can now be viewed as a specific signal in a large geographical area thanks to an innovative approach to seismic data analyses.

“In the past, human-caused seismic signals as a result of industrial activities were viewed as ‘noise’ that polluted


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AFNWC Splits Directorates Into Two To Improve Focus On Providing Nuclear Mission Capabilities To Warfighter

Kirtland AFB News:

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is restructuring its directorates to improve focus on providing nuclear capabilities to the warfighter.

The center is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear materiel management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command, in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command. It has more than 1,300 personnel assigned to 18 locations worldwide.

Headquartered at Kirtland AFB, the center’s former Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Systems Directorate at Hill AFB, Utah, divided into two new directorates:

  • The Minuteman

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Los Alamos Makers Launches Soft Re-opening

Elannah Venhaus, a former Biodidact intern learning the ropes of DNA barcoding. Courtesy/LAM

A glimpse of Los Alamos makers’ wood shop. Los Alamos Makers is helping make woodworking safer and more accessible with its newly remodeled shop. The fully renovated shop will be revealed during an upcoming open house. Courtesy/LAM

Los Alamos Makers News:

Sunday, May 17 concluded this year’s National Week of Making. The coronavirus crisis has made it very clear that makers do matter and do make a difference, with makers of all kinds, and everywhere, participating in the global effort to provide personal


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LANL: ‘Green’ Quantum-Dot Solar Cells Exploit Defects

Scanning electron microscope image of electrodes infiltrated with quantum dots, left, and the corresponding distributions of copper, indium, zinc, and selenium across the film thickness. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • Quantum-dot approach shows promise for a new type of toxic-element-free, inexpensive, defect-tolerant solar cells

Novel quantum dot solar cells developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory match the efficiency of existing quantum-dot based devices, but without lead or other toxic elements that most solar cells of this type rely on. 

“This quantum-dot approach shows great


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AGU: New Proof Of Watery Plumes On Jupiter’s Moon Europa

The new study is based on data collected by Galileo during a flyby of Europa in 2000. The image comprises data acquired by the Galileo Solid-State Imaging (SSI) experiment on the spacecraft’s first and fourteenth orbits through the Jupiter system, in 1995 and 1998, respectively, and was recently re-processed in 2014. The image scale is 1.6 km/pixel, and the north pole of the moon is to the right. Courtesy/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

AGU News:

Jupiter’s moon Europa is a fascinating world. On its surface, the moon appears to be scratched and scored with reddish-brown scars, which rake across


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General Atomics Makes Advancement In Physics Understanding … Key Step Toward Practical Fusion Energy

This graphic shows how density peaking increases with decreasing collisionality (blue squares). The largest increase in peaking is directly linked to changes in electron transport (yellow triangles) and not related to changes in direct core fueling (red circles). This highlights that peaked density profiles can be obtained at low collisionality in fusion reactors without core fueling. Courtesy/General Atomics

GA News:

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Scientists at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility have made a significant advancement in physics understanding that represents a key step toward


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LANL: El Niño–Linked Decreases In Soil Moisture Could Trigger Massive Tropical-Plant Die Offs

Figure 6: In the Los Alamos National Laboratory team’s analysis of soil moisture changes during ‘Super El Niño’ events in 1982-83, 1997-98 and 2015-16, cell colors indicate the magnitude of change shown in the corresponding histograms. More consistent strong decreases relative to normal for these seasons are typical for red cells and more consistent strong increases relative to normal for these seasons are typical for green cells. The top map shows October to December and the bottom map shows January to March. Courtesy/LANL

 

LANL News:

  • New insights could help farmers, water managers

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2020 Supercomputing Challenge Award Winners Announced

LAHS student Charles Strauss wins Judges’ Special Award

EDUCATION News:

Three of the 9 finalists in the 2020 Supercomputing Challenge held virtually April 28 were from Los Alamos High school.

Twenty New Mexico schools participated including two from Los Alamos, 36 teams competed including five from Los Alamos, 27 awards were presented, and nine scholarships were awarded.

The Los Alamos finalists include:

Team 1005, Los Alamos High School Project Title: Comparing Sparse and Dense Neural Networks: Using AI to Detect Cancer – Team Member: Charles Strauss who won a Judges’ Special Award for


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NIST Helps Expand Genome Sequencing Of Marine Mammals

The bearded seal genome has been sequenced by the scientific consortium known as the DNA Zoo, thanks to a tissue sample supplied by NIST’s Biorepository in Charleston, SC. Courtesy/Allan Hopkins, Creative Commons

NIST News:

Researchers will soon have access to the full genomic sequences for 23 marine mammal species preserved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), thanks to an ongoing collaboration between NIST and a scientific consortium called the DNA Zoo.

The specimens come from a longstanding project known as the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank (NMMTB)


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Living In A Complex System: The Basics

By DON NEEPER
Formerly of Los Alamos

In our society, each new law or regulation is intended to fix a previous problem. Sure enough, it seems each new written legal rule generates at least one new problem. Why is that?

The new problem often occurs because most legal solutions address symptoms rather than the underlying social rules that generate the problem. President  Johnson’s war on poverty did not end poverty, but urban renewal moved some poor people out of their own neighborhoods into more crowded areas. Federal flood insurance encouraged the construction of more flood-prone houses after


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Los Alamos National Laboratory: Battling COVID-19 With Expertise, Technology And Materials

 

National Security Sciences Building at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • A multidisciplinary effort

Los Alamos National Laboratory, like many of the Department of Energy national laboratories, is drawing on its rich history in the biological sciences to actively engage in the national effort to study, understand, and answer important questions about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Areas covered include disease detection and diagnostics, epidemic modeling, disease prediction and forecasting, decision support, data collection and integration, and medical


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AGU: New Study Predicts Doubling Of United States Population Exposed To Extreme Climate Events By 2050

The map displays projected changes in human exposure to extreme climate events at a 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) scale from 2010 to 2050, which range from minor decreases in rural and suburban areas to moderate and major increases in densely populated urban centers. Courtesy/Adam Malin/ORNL, DOE

AGU News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — By 2050, the United States will likely be exposed to a larger number of extreme climate events, including longer droughts, more intense floods, and more frequent waves of extremely hot days and warm nights, which can lead to greater risks for human health, ecosystem stability


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How NIST Digitally Preserved JFK Assassination Bullets

The bullet that struck both President John F. Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally, carefully preserved inside its glass vial prior to scanning. Known as the ‘stretcher bullet’, it was found on Gov. Connally’s stretcher after he was taken to the hospital. Photo by J. Stoughton/NIST

By ROBERT M. THOMPSON
Senior Forensic Science Research Manager
NIST

They were long, round-nosed rifle bullets. Their copper metal jackets had the dull color of a worn penny, giving testimony to their age. The gun-barrel rifling impressions on their sides were typical of a bullet fired from a military weapon: four


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