Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Published by Kathy Chambers
The Flower dramatically demonstrates the superinsulating properties of silica ae

Aerogels are some of the most fascinating materials on the planet. They were discovered in the 1930s by Stanford University’s Samuel Kistler who proved that he could successfully replace a gel’s liquid with a gas by drying it, thereby creating a substance that was structurally a gel, but without liquid. Since their invention aerogels have primarily been made of silica but can be made of a growing variety of substances including transition metal oxides, organic polymers, biological polymers, semiconductor nanostructures, graphene, carbon, carbon nanotubes and metals as well as aerogel composite materials and the list is growing.

Published by Kathy Chambers
Titan Cray XK7 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Just seven miles south of our OSTI facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee is a national treasure – the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  ORNL is DOE’s largest multi-program laboratory where remarkable scientific expertise and world-class scientific facilities and equipment are applied to develop scientific and technological solutions that are changing our world. ORNL’s National Center for Computational Sciences is home to two of ORNL’s high-performance computing projects -- the National Climate-Computing Research Center (NCRC), where research is dedicated to climate science, and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)

Published by Kathy Chambers
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6309229615/in/photostream/

Every day we are bombarded with advertisements in every form and format telling us that our lives will be improved if we buy a particular product because it will save us money, reduce our work effort, save us energy, or benefit the environment. We are justifiably skeptical because we know from experience that if something sounds too good to be true, usually it is. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is one of the exceptions. LEDs benefits are so powerful that they seem too good to be true; however, they actually do save us money, reduce our work effort, save us energy and benefit our environment.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity to light. LED lighting products are beginning to appear in a wide variety of home, business, and industrial products such as holiday lighting, replacement bulbs for incandescent lamps, street lighting, outdoor area lighting and indoor ambient lighting.

Published by Dr. Walt Warnick
Aquatint of a Doctor in divinity at the University of Oxford, shown wearing conv

It is truly wonderful when something comes along that speeds access to science. Such is the case with CrossRef’s linking network for scholarly literature. Anyone that has ever done a literature search prior to 2000 is completely blown away today when they encounter the time saved and the quality of CrossRef’s linking service. I vividly recall my own literature review for my PhD dissertation almost 40 years ago and I want to share my story.

For many long and miserable days and nights for a solid month I practically lived at the University of Maryland’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Library plowing through a massive set of numerous volumes of citation indices looking up keywords related to my dissertation. My topic Secondary deflections and lateral stability of beams was based on my research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Published by Kathy Chambers
Gamma-ray burst  GRB 080319B

Star gazing seems especially good on a clear autumn night. From our back deck our amateur eyes scan the sky and its wonder. We first notice Venus, our closest planetary neighbor. A beautiful harvest moon rises over the hill, lighting up jet streams that crisscross the stars and planets. We see Orion, the bowl and handle of the Big Dipper, the Square of Pegasus, the vast Milky Way and we are fortunate to see an occasional falling star. We are in awe of the beauty of our night sky but it’s what we can’t see that is truly amazing.

Spectacular explosions, which can’t be detected with the human eye, light up the gamma-ray sky about once a day. These explosions, called gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), are from distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away from earth and are thought to be triggered by supernovae or exploding stars. They release more energy than our sun will put out in a lifetime.