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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • La Cueva takes top prize

    A trio of Albuquerque La Cueva High School students — two who are siblings — took the prize in the 23rd New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge for their research project that used statistical analysis to identify and analyze topics in human language.

    The team, Ari Echt-Wilson, Eli Echt-Wilson and Justin Sanchez also won the CHECS Teamwork and Cray High Performance Computing awards for their project, “Learning and Analyzing Topics in Human Language.”

    Los Alamos High School freshman Cole Kendrick took second place for his computer simulation project of Saturn’s ring structure. Kendrick, who won the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge’s top prize in 2011 as a seventh-grade student, also received the Technical Poster Award, the Visualization prize from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the Professional Presentation Award.

    La Cueva High’s Alexandra Porter received third place for her project “Simulation of Approximate Computing Applied to Numerical Methods.” Porter was part of a La Cueva High team that took last year’s third prize.

    All the finalist teams received plaques for their school, a large banner suitable for hanging at their schools and other gifts.

  • LANL employees receive pollution prevention awards

    Nearly 400 Los Alamos National Laboratory employees on 47 teams received Pollution Prevention awards for protecting the environment and saving taxpayers more than $8 million. The employees were recognized at the Laboratory’s annual Pollution Prevention Awards ceremony on Monday, Earth Day.
    Five projects received the Lab’s Best in Class Star Award for outstanding achievement. These projects will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration for national Pollution Prevention award consideration. They are:
     Acetone out, rhenium in: employees made changes to an acetone sample rinsing process, eliminating 48 liters of mixed low-level waste per year. Now the team separates a small rhenium metal ribbon from stainless steel posts and recycles the steel instead of disposing of the entire apparatus.
    Streamlined plutonium operation: By changing the vessel shape for the process, which extracts americium from old plutonium so that the plutonium can be reused, this method generates less than half of the waste of the former process. The new approach also requires less salt and avoids the generation of more than 20 kilograms of mixed transuranic and low-level radioactive waste per year and an additional 80 kilograms from subsequent processes.

  • LANL makes progress on tuberculosis

    New work from Los Alamos National Laboratory shows promise for stemming the advance of tuberculosis (TB) by revealing how the bacterium interacts with its human hosts and thus providing a new pathway for early detection in patients.
    A recent publication from the Los Alamos Biosensor Team describes the association of a key tuberculosis virulence factor, lipoarabinomannan (LAM) with human high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in blood. “Understanding the pathophysiology of tuberculosis, and the distribution of pathogen-associated molecules in the host, is essential to developing efficient methods of intervention,” said Harshini Mukundan, corresponding author on the paper.
    “Association of lipoarabinomannan with high density lipoprotein in blood: Implications for diagnostics” Tuberculosis 93 (2013) was published April 3rd, 2013, in the journal Tuberculosis.

  • Scholarships up for grabs

    Northern New Mexicans wanting to return to college for a certificate or two-year program are eligible for $1,000 awards from the Regional College/Returning Student program of the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund.
    The application deadline is June 17 to the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation’s Regional College/Returning Student Scholarship Fund. Applications must be submitted online at lanlfoundation.org before June 17.
    The awards go to students returning to a formal education after an absence, such as business, the military or personal reasons. Candidates from Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Los Alamos, San Miguel, Taos, Mora and Sandoval counties are eligible and must show that have been accepted for certification, or a two-year degree program at an accredited regional college.
    Since the program began in 2011,
    36 students have been awarded the scholarship. Students who previously received the Regional College/ Returning Scholar award may reapply.
    Funding for the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund comes from contributions by LANL employees and a match from Los Alamos National Security, LLC.
    Sauer to chair campaign

  • LANL quality assurance division gets recognition

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quality and Performance Assurance Division received Piñon Recognition from Quality New Mexico and will be recognized at QNM’s annual learning summit and awards ceremony April 22-23 in Albuquerque.
    Piñon Recognition signifies that organizations have demonstrated development and use of systematic processes as a foundation for analysis and improvement to attain improved organizational outcomes, according to Quality New Mexico’s webpage qualitynewmexico.org.
    The Quality and Performance Assurance Division is responsible for developing and overseeing implementation of the Lab’s quality assurance and contractor assurance programs that are part of the contract between Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • Legislators at the lab

    State Representatives Stephanie Garcia Richard and Carl Trujillo spent Monday morning meeting with LANL scientists and staff. Garcia Richard, meanwhile, will host a town hall meeting along with the AARP at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

  • Police, lab conclude package not dangerous

    The Los Alamos Police Department received a report of a suspicious package at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    LAPD bomb team and LANL Hazardous Devices team responded to examine the item at Technical Area 3.
     At about 11:40 a.m., the joint LAPD/LANL team concluded that the item was not dangerous and an all clear was issued.
    Apparently, it was a legitimate delivery of something they ordered, but there was a label mix up, according to police.
    Cpl. Ben Hinrichs later determined the item was not dangerous.
     

  • Students to descend on lab

    More than 200 New Mexico students and their teachers will be at Los Alamos National Laboratory, April 21-23 for the 23rd annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge expo and awards ceremony.
    More than 60 teams of students from elementary, middle, and high school are expected at the event, said David Kratzer of the Laboratory’s High Performance Computer Systems group and LANL’s coordinator of the Supercomputing Challenge. While at the laboratory, students will present their projects and take part in tours, talks, and demonstrations with scientists.
    Student projects will be recognized during an awards ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon, April 23 at the Church of Christ Auditorium, 2323 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos. Laboratory director Charlie McMillan will present the top awards to the winning teams. More than $40,000 in scholarships will be awarded to student participants.
    “The goal of the year-long competition is to increase knowledge of science and computing, expose students and teachers to computers and applied mathematics, and instill enthusiasm for science in middle- and high-school students, their families and communities,” Kratzer said.

  • Lab budget up 7 percent

     Los Alamos National Laboratory would see a 7 percent budget increase, while spending for Sandia National Laboratories would remain basically flat under the Obama Administration budget plan unveiled on Wednesday.
    The Department of Energy spending proposal requests $1.96 billion for Los Alamos and $1.8 billion for Sandia in fiscal 2014. In FY13, Los Alamos was operating on a $1.83 billion budget.
    Officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration say that given the tight budget times, they are also going back to reevaluate what might be done to more affordably upgrade the plutonium research facilities at Los Alamos.
    The administration last year proposed putting on hold any further work on a controversial $6 billion project known as the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.
    On Wednesday, the acting administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration, Neile Miller, said the lab is “clearly not affordable” and alternatives are being studied.
    The proposed budget also calls for a 5 percent cut for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, to $203 million.
    U.S. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said he was “encouraged that Los Alamos and Sandia labs are well-supported in the President’s budget proposal.”

  • 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.