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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Antibody evolution could guide HIV vaccine development

    Observing the evolution of a particular type of antibody in an infected HIV-1 patient, a study spearheaded by Duke University, including analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratory, has provided insights that will enable vaccination strategies that mimic the actual antibody development within the body.
    The kind of antibody studied is called a broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibody, and details of its generation could provide a blueprint for effective vaccination, according to the study’s authors. In a paper published online in Nature this week, the team reported on the isolation, evolution and structure of a broadly neutralizing antibody from an African donor followed from the time of infection.
    The observations trace the co-evolution of the virus and antibodies, ultimately leading to the development of a strain of the potent antibodies in this subject, and they could provide insights into strategies to elicit similar antibodies by vaccination.

  • Grandson of Enola Gay pilot to give lecture

    Col. Paul Tibbets IV, grandson of Enola Gay pilot Paul W. Tibbets Jr., talks about his grandfather and his experiences as a U.S. Air Force pilot flying B-1 and B-2 bombers during a talk at 5:30 p.m., April 10 at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bradbury Science Museum.
    The talk is part of Los Alamos’ 70th anniversary lecture series.
    Paul Tibbets IV is commander of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, a post he has been assigned since July 2011. The agency provides independent inspection, evaluation and analysis to advance continuous improvement of mission effectiveness at all Air Force levels.
    Tibbets IV’s grandfather, the late Brigadier General Paul Tibbets Jr., piloted the Enola Gay B-29 airplane from which the first atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945. Tibbets died in 2007 at age 92.
    Tibbets IV received his Air Force commission in 1989. He has flown combat missions in southwest Asia, the Balkans and Afghanistan and has more than 3,800 flying hours. Paul Tibbets IV and his team of senior officers visited the laboratory in spring 2012 to share their stewardship and operational experience concerning the Air Force’s nuclear weapons systems with LANL designers and engineers.

  • Agency hits lab with fines -- updated

     

    The New Mexico Environment Department sent a letter to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, stating it plans to fine the lab $21,333.

    NMED conducted a hazardous waste compliance evaluation and based on that inspection, it issued a notice of violation, dated March 1.

    According to the letter, the NMED is proposing to assess a civil penalty of $21,333 to settle the violations alleged in the notice.

    NMED spokesman Jim Winchester said the state entity would not comment on the proposed fine.

    Lab spokesman Fred DeSousa said in a statement, ““The Notice of Violation (NOV) resulted from an April 2012 state inspection and all of the conditions have since been corrected.  Although the conditions presented no immediate risk to people or the environment and did not involve a release of hazardous waste, we take very seriously all of the requirements under our permit and the regulations.  In addition, the Laboratory has implemented a number of corrective actions to improve our compliance, including training and  strengthening our internal processes and procedures.  We are in discussions with the Environment Department regarding resolution of the NOV.”

  • Labs recognize small businesses

    Ten New Mexico small businesses participating in projects using the technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories were recognized at the 12th annual Innovation Celebration Thursday at Technology Venture Corporation’s Deal Stream Summit at the Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo.
    The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program was created in 2000 by the New Mexico State Legislature to bring national laboratory technology and expertise to small businesses in New Mexico and promote economic development with an emphasis on rural areas. The program, which started at Sandia, was joined by Los Alamos in 2007. In 2012, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories through NMSBA assisted 347 small businesses in 27 counties across the state.
    The businesses and individuals being recognized include:
    • Members of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowner Associations (CRELA) in eastern New Mexico, which asked NMSBA for help exploring the renewable energy potential of their land. Loren Toole of LANL and Craig White of UNM offered a five-course class through NMSBA covering wind-data evaluation, wind-turbine siting, power sales markets and pricing, and other factors affecting wind-energy development.

  • LANL Foundation to host open house

    An open house from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation’s Science Resource Center in Chimayo will give community members an opportunity to see how inquiry science works in the classroom.
    Demonstrations will feature a sound kit, teaching vibration and pitch; a magnetism and electricity kit exploring circuits and electromagnetism; and a lesson on levers and pulleys.
    Science Literacy Coaches, who work in 34 schools, will be on hand to answer questions. Inquiry science, supported by the LANL Foundation, encourages students to conceptualize a question and respond with an explanation. The program reaches 12,500 students in Northern New Mexico, expanding knowledge in science, math and language.
    Funding comes from the foundation and Los Alamos National Security, LLC.
    The Science Resource Center is at Manzana Center on County Road 103, 7.8 miles east of the N.M. 76 turnoff in Española. For more complete directions see lanlfoundation.org. 

  • Researcher deciphers HIV attack plan

     A new study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of Pennsylvania scientists defines previously unknown properties of transmitted HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. The viruses that successfully pass from a chronically infected person to a new individual are both remarkably resistant to a powerful initial human immune-response mechanism, and they are blanketed in a greater amount of envelope protein that helps them access and enter host cells.

    These findings will help inform vaccine design and interpretation of vaccine trials, and provide new insights into the basic biology of viral/host dynamics of infection.

  • Physicist Richard Feynman: Los Alamos Safe Cracker

    A chat about some of the ways legendary physicist Richard Feynman cracked safes (filing cabinets) at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project.

    Discussed by Professor Roger Bowley.

  • IG pushes to enhance safeguards at Area G

    The Department of Energy Inspector General recently released a report addressing safety issues at Area G at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    It was the second inspection in two years of Material Disposal Area G, located in Technical Area 54. The site is one of Los Alamos’ active disposal areas for low-level radioactive waste. 

    The report reads, “We noted that Los Alamos developed corrective actions designed to address safety issues identified during the 2011 safety assessments. While progress had been made, our inspection identified opportunities for further improvements regarding training, the consistency of Area G operational activities with safety requirements and updating safety-related documents.”

  • LANL extends deadline

    In order to help students who have been contending with state testing as well as getting ready for spring break, Los Alamos National Laboratory officials are extending the registration deadline to April 12 for the Los Alamos STEM Challenge.
    It’s a contest meant to highlight LANL’s 70th birthday, as well as what students know about science, technology, engineering and math.
    According to the STEM Challenge website, stemarts.com, the contest is only open to students in grades six through 12 or home school equivalent.
    LANL officials prefer that teachers register the students as a team, but home school students are also welcome to join.
    After students register, the next step is to write an essay, create a video, design a poster or design an app and turn it in by April 30, according to Janelle Vigil-Maestas, an education specialist with LANL’s Community Programs division.
    The four categories must reflect these STEM categories: biology, chemistry, computer science, Earth science, environmental science, physics robotics or space technology.
    LANL employees will judge the designs for creativity and ingenuity. While the designs don’t have to necessarily work, they should be feasible enough to.

  • End of the Road for Roadrunner

    Roadrunner, the first supercomputer to break the once-elusive petaflop barrier—one million billion calculations per second—will be decommissioned on Sunday, March 31.

    During its five operational years, Roadrunner, part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program to provide key computer simulations for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, was a workhorse system providing computing power for stewardship of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and in its early shakedown phase, a wide variety of unclassified science. The IBM system achieved petaflop speed in 2008, shortly after installation at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    "Roadrunner exemplified stockpile stewardship: an excellent team integrating complex codes with advanced computing architectures to ensure a safe, secure and effective deterrent," said Chris Deeney, NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Stewardship. "Roadrunner and its successes have positioned us well to weather the technology changes on the HPC horizon as we implement stockpile modernization without recourse to underground testing."