Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Employee at LANL honored

    Gabriel Montaño of LANL’s Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies was named president-elect of of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
    His term as president is for four years: the first year as president-elect, two years as president and the fourth year as past president.
    Montaño joined the laboratory in 2002 as a postdoc in the Biosciences Division. He became a fulltime staff member in 2005 in the Laboratory’s Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies. Montaño has a bachelor’s degree in biology from New Mexico State (1997) and a doctorate in molecular cell biology from Arizona State (2002). 

  • Talking North Korea, Iran

    Former LANL director Siegfried Hecker presented a lecture at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Friday night. The subject: How the political situation Iran and North Korea has changed within a year, and the reasons behind it. Be sure to pick up Tuesday’s Los Alamos Monitor to get the full story.

  • Hecker to speak on N. Korea, Iran

    Former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Siegfried Hecker will present a public lecture on “Iran and North Korea what a difference a year makes” at 7 p.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1967 18th Street in Los Alamos.
    In a release, Hecker, who now works at Stanford, said, “one year ago, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad was still threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the map while Iran’s nuclear program was progressing steadily.
    “Now, recently elected President Hassan Rohani and his foreign minister Javad Zarif are pursuing a nuclear deal and rapprochment with the West. In North Korea, the young, Swiss-educated Kim appeared to be willing to compromise with the West. But recently he carried out one of the most brutal leadership purges, including executing his uncle.
    “In the meantime, the North’s nuclear program is moving ahead on all fronts. I will provide a perspective on these two nuclear cases based on interactions with key officials from both countries.”
    Hawkins to speak
    at Bradbury

  • NNSA lists its highlights

    As 2014 begins, the National Nuclear Security Administration last week released a list of some of its most important accomplishments and improvements over the past year. NNSA reached significant milestones in the areas of nonproliferation and counterterrorism, made a host of significant achievements through its work with the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile, and saw improved operations throughout the complex.
    “In 2013, even with a challenging budget situation, NNSA’s successes ensured that the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, secure and effective; saved taxpayers millions of dollars; and supported emergency preparedness and the next generation of nuclear security workers,” said NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held.
     “Our people, both our government employees and the employees in our government-owned labs and plants, have done great work executing our mission and improving the way we do business.”
    NNSA’s 2013 list highlights accomplishments in operations and at its sites, international partnerships to support nonproliferation and removals of dangerous materials, and emergency preparedness trainings and university programs.
    Improved Operations and Site Achievements:

  • Sexual harrassment case now moving to civil court

     Criminal charges were dropped against former Emergency Operations division leader Anthony Stanford in December after Stanford was charged with assault and battery last year.
    Stanford’s troubles, though, are far from over.
    A married couple employed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory filed a civil suit earlier this month against Stanford, alleging that assault and battery was committed against Erika Gorman.
    The suit also names Los Alamos National Security, which alleges it was negligent in hiring, supervising and retaining Stanford.
    A lab spokesman refused comment on the pending litigation. Attorney Aaron Boland, who represented Stanford in the criminal case, did not return an inquiry for comment.
    The district attorney’s office dismissed the charges without prejudice in magistrate court against Stanford.
    The Gormans’ attorney said it was Erika Gorman’s call to file the suit, which was filed in district court.
    “Under the criminal case, the worst punishment Stanford could have been assessed would be probation and he probably would not have gotten jail time,” said attorney John Day. “We did not want to put Erika Gorman through a criminal case. We have a civil case ready to go and Erika is certainly happy with that.”

  • LANL highlights its top science stories

     Noteworthy science achievements for 2013 from Los Alamos National Laboratory were as diverse as the scientific disciplines necessary for sustaining the institution’s national security mission; they included a ringside seat for the birth of a black hole, novel strategies for an HIV vaccine, sobering insights into the ravages of climate change, a dip into Mars’s watery past, clever processes for extracting energy from biomass, and a fleeting snapshot of the mysterious mechanisms that possibly power Earth’s radiation belts, among other discoveries.
    HIV vaccine under development
    The range of Los Alamos research on HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is significant, from groundbreaking vaccine concepts that are about to move into human trials, to computer modeling approaches to better understand how the virus moves through different populations. The Laboratory has long maintained the national HIV research database, in addition to the original research, and this year millions of readers worldwide had the chance to learn more.
     Climate impacts: forest mortality/wildfire contribution to global warming

  • LANL research helps improve solar cells

     Solar cells made with low-cost, non-toxic copper-based quantum dots can achieve unprecedented longevity and efficiency, according to a study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sharp Corporation.
    “For the first time, we have certified the performance of a quantum dot sensitized solar cell at greater than 5 percent, which is among the highest reported for any quantum dot solar cell,” said Hunter McDaniel, a Los Alamos postdoctoral researcher and the lead author on a paper appearing in Nature Communications this week. “The robust nature of these devices opens up the possibility for commercialization of this emerging low-cost and low-toxicity photovoltaic technology,” he noted.
    The reported solar cells are based on a new generation of nontoxic quantum dots (not containing either lead or cadmium as do most quantum dots used in solar cells). These dots are based on copper indium selenide sulfide and are rigorously optimized to reduce charge-carrier losses from surface defects and to provide the most complete coverage of the solar spectrum.

  • Nearly $2 million pledged in LANL 2014 campaign

    Nearly $2 million has been pledged by Los Alamos National Laboratory employees to United Way and other eligible nonprofit programs during the laboratory’s 2014 Employee Giving Campaign.
    Los Alamos National Security, LLC plans to prorate its $1 million match among the selected nonprofit organizations, bringing the total donation to nearly $3 million.
    “I give because I am a member of the Northern New Mexico community,” said Terry Wallace, Los Alamos’ principal associate director for Global Security and this year’s campaign champion. “I want to thank the Los Alamos National Laboratory staff for their participation in the Lab’s giving campaign.
    Nearly $2 million was pledged to the various community charities. Given the turmoil of the potential lab shut down, I am impressed that our employees wanted to ‘give because’ they care for their friends and neighbors.” 

  • Manhattan Project Park stalls in U.S. Senate

    Hopes that the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act would become law this year were dashed when the U.S. Senate rejected a House of Representatives amendment attaching the bill to the National Defense Authorization Act.

    The House amendment passed in June, but was not included in the final text of the defense bill released late Tuesday night.

    “What I understand is that they just determined that it would not be the best place to approach the legislation, through the Defense Authorization Act. And so they took it out of there,” said Bradbury Science Museum Executive Director Linda Deck. “So it’s not that they said, no, it shouldn’t happen. It’s just that they took it out of that piece of legislation.”

    Los Alamos Historical Museum Executive Director Heather McClenahan noted that supporters have become accustomed to disappointment in the 10 years since MCNHP legislation was first introduced. McClenahan is the county’s MPNHP project point person.

  • Watchdogs applaud stalling of park bill

    Not everyone was disappointed to hear about the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act’s stall in the U.S. Senate.

    Greg Mello, secretary and executive director for the Los Alamos Study Group, responded to the Los Alamos Monitor’s query by saying, “We are pleased that the proposed park was dropped from the defense bill and we will oppose it again next year.

    “It’s basically a propaganda and lobbying initiative that will benefit nuclear weapons contractors. It is not now and will never be an objective interpretation of history. Creating such a park inherently endorses the Manhattan Project and its modern-day successor activities as positive national achievements. Indeed that is the purpose of the proposal.

    “Supposedly ‘objective’ background materials supporting the Park proposal are already one-sided, significantly incomplete and historically incorrect.

    “If the Park is established, we hope to help make it a Mecca for protest activity of all kinds. The Manhattan Project and the atomic bombing of Japan were national mistakes. Los Alamos has played, and continues to play, a heavy role in weakening U.S. national security and misdirecting national priorities.”