Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Robots to take over Bradbury

    Employees and the public can see and drive a variety of different robots at Robotics Night from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, at the Bradbury Science Museum.
    Robots from the Laboratory’s Hazardous Devices Team, the FIRST Robotics Leagues, UNM-Los Alamos, the Los Alamos Police Department and other local enthusiasts will be at the museum.
    Demonstrations will include the laboratory’s robots each weighing in at more than 500 pounds and the Los Alamos Police Department’s Bomb Squad robot. UNM-LA’s robotics program also will have many of their student-built bots on display with information on their degree program offerings.
    In addition, attendees can operate the robotic arm on display at the museum acting out possible real-life scenarios. The arm is similar to the kind used in hot cells and glove boxes at the laboratory.
    Also featured will be Sumo Bot battles. The Sumo robots are autonomous, battery powered and controlled by an Arduino or a similar processor.
    Competitors will battle to push each other out of the ring with only their sensors and programming to guide them.
    A number of other Arduinos also will be on display for the evening in an Arduino Zoo.

  • Albuquerque firm acquires LANL water patent technology rights

    IX Power Clean Water, a company based in Albuquerque, has acquired the patent rights to OrganiClear from Los Alamos National Laboratory and begun commercialization of the technology to filter and destroy organic hydrocarbons in “produced water” without creating an additional waste stream.
    IX Power Clean Water’s “OrganiClear” cleans organic hydrocarbons – BTEX – from produced water from oil and gas, mining operations, and industrial processes.
    Produced water is a term to describe water extracted from the earth along with oil and gas. The water produced may include water from the fossil fuel reservoir, water injected into the formation (including the high pressure water used to fracture the rock formation—“fracking”), and chemicals added during production and well treatment processes.
    The OrganiClear machine cleans water to the point that it can be safely used for agriculture and livestock and, with additional processes, can also be used for community water systems.

  • Former student pleads guilty to murder

    Alex Kinyua, 22, who attended a Los Alamos National Laboratory symposium in the summer of 2011, entered a guilty plea Monday in a Baltimore courtroom to first-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie last year.
    The former Morgan State University student spoke softly as he responded to questions from the judge, saying he had agreed to the plea and medications he had been taking were helping him. He declined an opportunity to address the court.
    Judge Stephen Waldron said he had concerns about agreeing to the plea, but had to accept determinations by psychiatrists for the defense and prosecution that Kinyua could not be held criminally responsible. He expressed condolences to family and friends of the Agyei-Kodie.
    “My heart breaks for you,” Waldron said. “I am very, very sorry.”
    Kinyua has been held at the state’s maximum-security psychiatric hospital and returned there after the hearing.
    Kinyua, a U.S. citizen originally from Kenya, admitted using a knife to kill Agyei-Kodi, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said when Kinyua was arrested last year. Agyei-Kodie, a native of Ghana, had been staying with the Kinyua family for about six weeks at their townhouse in a Baltimore suburb when he disappeared in May 2012. His body was found four days later.

  • LANL lecture series

    Los Alamos National Laboratory historian emeritus Roger Meade discussed Captain William S. “Deak” Parsons’ contributions to World War II during LANL’s 70th Anniversary Public Lecture Series, which took place on Wednesday. His lecture filled up all available space, making it necessary for event coordinators to provide a live feed of the lecture in the smaller museum auditorium. The anniversary lectures occur monthly on the second Wednesday of the month. 

  • Bradbury's legacy to be discussed

    Concluding his two-part lecture series about Norris Bradbury, Los Alamos National Laboratory historian Alan Carr will discuss the leadership of the lab during the Cold War and the unique legacy that Bradbury left in Los Alamos during a “brown bag” lecture Aug. 21 at the Bradbury Science Museum.
    The talk is at noon and employees and the public are welcome to bring their lunch.
    “The Life, the Times, and the Laboratory of Norris E. Bradbury,” will review the final decade of Bradbury’s time as Los Alamos’ second director, as well as defining moments for the laboratory, including the postwar period.
    Bradbury succeeded J. Robert Oppenheimer as laboratory director in 1945 and developed and grew LANL into what it is today during his 25 years as director, making him the longest-serving leader of the lab. 

  • Lab breaks scholarship fundraising mark

    This year’s Los Alamos National Laboratory Employees’ Scholarship Fund broke past fundraising records, raising a total of $563,827.
     Of that, 601 LANL employees, visiting scientists and friends of the lab contributed $313,000. Los Alamos National Security, LLC provided a $250,000 match.
    Nan Sauer, associate director for Chemistry, Life and Earth Science at the lab and chair of the campaign, said this exceeded the Scholarship Advisory Committees’ goal of $300,000 from employees.
     Laboratory employees contributed $273,300 to the campaign last year.
    Scholarship awards went to 73 students in a seven-county region. Winners received their checks, ranging from $20,000 to $1,000 at a recent ceremony at the LANL Foundation office courtyard in Española.
    Rich Marquez, executive director of the lab encouraged students to “think big and be what you want to be.”
    “There is no reason for us to recruit outside of Northern New Mexico; you are the seedbed for the lab’s future, and seeing you reminds me this country has a great future and you are it,” he said.
    Now, in its 15th year, the scholarship program has awarded more than $3.7 million to students in the Northern New Mexico counties it serves.

  • DOE work continues near condos

    The Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration will continue to do some remediation work on Los Alamos Canyon.

    And the residents who live in the Los Arboles Condominiums on Oppenheimer Drive don’t seem to mind a bit.

    “There’s no problem, none at all,” said Jim Stetzer, the board president of the condo association. This is the third time they’ve come through here.”

    Asked about the possibility of radioactive waste, Stetzer replied, “All the properties were cleared during the last check. Our requirement is that they can only have access by foot. All the test holes are hand dug.”

    According to lab spokesman Fred DeSousa, the work is a continuation of the Upper Los Alamos Canyon Aggregate Area Phase II project, which began in 2011 under a work plan approved by the New Mexico Environment Department.

    “This project is part of an on-going effort to complete sampling and cleanup within the historic footprint of the buildings, waste lines, and outfalls that were used during the Manhattan Project,” DeSousa said.

  • Oppenheimer lecture to look to heavens

    Dr. Steven Squyres, Cornell University professor and NASA project scientist, will deliver the 43rd Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture at 7:30 pm Monday, Aug. 19, at the Duane Smith Auditorium in Los Alamos.
    The talk is free and open to the public. His talk, titled “Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet,” will describe the exploits of the plucky Martian Rovers Spirit and Opportunity and what we have learned from them after more than 3,000 days on Mars. Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and have lasted for years beyond their design lifetimes.
    Squyres is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University and the principal investigator for the science payload on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers. Squyres’ research interests include the robotic exploration of planetary surfaces, the history of water on Mars, geophysics of the icy satellites of the outer planets, the tectonics of Venus, and planetary gamma-ray and x-ray spectroscopy. He is perhaps best known for his studies of the history and distribution of water on Mars and of the possible existence and habitability of a liquid water ocean on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

  • Udall Introduces Tech Transfer Bill

    SANTA FE — U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) announced legislation Monday to help create high-tech jobs and industries in New Mexico by streamlining the process for getting cutting-edge research and development from the state’s universities and national labs to the marketplace.

    Udall unveiled the bill during a half-day conference and workshop he organized at Santa Fe Community College called, “Technology Transfer: Key to New Mexico’s Future.”

    The event brought together some of New Mexico’s sharpest minds and successful entrepreneurs and investors, including educators and leaders from New Mexico’s national labs. Speakers included former U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Los Alamos National Laboratory Chief Technology Officer Duncan McBranch and Sandia National Laboratory Director Paul Hommert.

    “New Mexico is home to some of the brightest minds in science and some of the most innovative entrepreneurs. From a new ultrasound technology that can be used to screen for breast cancer, to a device that tests for biotoxins, our labs and universities are already a launching pad for exciting – even revolutionary – new products,” Udall said.

    “If we can harness that potential, New Mexico can lead the nation in high-tech innovation.”

  • Algae-based fuel receives $5 million boost from DOE

    Research into the potential of algae-based fuel is getting a $5 million boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.
    New Mexico State University recently announced the funding, saying it will go to a research effort aimed at improving fuel that’s compatible with existing refineries.

    NMSU is working on the project along with Los Alamos, Argonne and Pacific Northwest national laboratories, Washington State and Michigan State universities and four companies.

    Key goals of the project are to improve the yields and stability of algal biomass and cultivation systems while also improving oil content at harvest.

    Each of the necessary process elements, or unit operations, required to produce drop-in fuels from algal biomass are targets for improvements by various team members.

    Strain improvement work will be conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Michigan State University and Phycal; cultivation simulation and validation work will be conducted at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and NMSU respectively; while bio-crude extraction methods are being developed at Washington State University.