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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • 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.

  • 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.