OSTIblog Articles in the In the OSTI Collections Topic

The Legendary Richard Feynman

by Kathy Chambers 25 Sep, 2015 in In the OSTI Collections

Richard Feynman visits National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) December 1972. Fermilab photo 72-0910-04.Richard Feynman visits National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) December 1972. Fermilab photo 72-0910-04.Richard Phillips Feynman was one of the world’s great quantum physicists. He was best known for his research in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, and in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model.  Many of his theories and inventions, such as the Feynman diagrams and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), have evolved into techniques scientists use todayFeynman was able to think visually and invent problem-solving tools that forever altered the direction of theoretical physics.  His extraordinary genius along with his blunt, mischievous, and eccentric personality made him a legend.

Many of Feynman’s brilliant ideas were not readily accepted.  In the 1940s, Feynman introduced a graphical interpretation called Feynman diagrams to make sense of complex mathematical equations and visualize interactions among particles.  These diagrams offered a way to solve the most complex puzzles of theoretical physics at the time.  Yet when he first presented his diagrams at a prestigious computational seminar, attendees took the chalk right out of his hand.  Young scientists that adopted the diagrams had to use them in secret.  Feynman’s diagrams were gradually accepted and his theory of quantum physics and the Feynman diagrams earned him a share of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics.  Today, Feynman’s diagrams have continued to evolve and physicists rely on them worldwide.

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High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Gamma-Ray Observatory

by Kathy Chambers 30 Apr, 2015 in In the OSTI Collections

Image credit: HAWCImage credit: HAWCCheers of celebration erupted in March 2015 as the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma- Ray Observatory was formally inaugurated on the slopes of the Sierra Negra volcano in the State of Puebla, Mexico.  The inaugural ceremony marked the completion of HAWC, the latest tool for mapping the northern sky and studying the universe’s violent explosions of supernovae, which are neutron star collisions and active galactic nuclei that produce high-energy gamma rays and cosmic rays that travel large distances, making it possible to see objects and events far outside our galaxy.  

This extraordinary observatory uses a unique detection technique that differs from the classical astronomical design of mirrors, lenses, and antennae.  From its perch on top of the highest accessible peak in Mexico, HAWC observes TeV gamma rays and cosmic rays with an instantaneous aperture that covers more than 15% of the sky.  The detector is exposed to two-thirds of the sky during a 24-hour period.  The observatory's ability to operate continuously and its location at 14,000 feet above sea level allow HAWC to observe the highest energy gamma rays arriving anywhere within its field of view.

Related Topics: HAWC; LANL; Los Alamos National Laboratory


Graphene’s Humble Creation and Promising Future

by Kathy Chambers 05 Jan, 2015 in

Sometimes the ordinary things we use every day can lead to extraordinary discoveries.  This was truly the case when physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov used the humble adhesive tape to extract single layers of graphene from graphite. 

Although graphene had been theorized years before, it was thought to be impossible to isolate such thin crystalline materials in a laboratory.  Geim and Novoselov not only exfoliated their thin sheets of graphene, they transferred them to a silicon substrate, the standard working material in the semiconductor industry and did electrical characterization on the graphite layers.  

Related Topics: adhesive tape, Andre Geim, graphene, In the OSTI Collections, Konstantin Novoselov


ACME - Perfecting Earth System Models

by Kathy Chambers 29 Oct, 2014 in

Earth system modeling as we know it and how it benefits climate change research is about to transform with the newly launched Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project sponsored by the Earth System Modeling program within the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research.  ACME is an unprecedented collaboration among eight national laboratories, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, four academic institutions, and one private-sector company to develop and apply the most complete, leading-edge climate and earth system models to the most challenging and demanding climate-change issues.

Related Topics: Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy, ACME, Advanced Scientific Computing Research, ASCR, climate change, earth systems modeling, High-performance computing, HPC, In the OSTI Collections, Supercomputers



by Kathy Chambers 20 Jun, 2014 in

Image: N. Watson, L. Thompson, MITImage: N. Watson, L. Thompson, MITGenomes of individual organisms and systems of organisms contain the information and operating capabilities that determine structure and function across multiple scales of biological organization. These complex systems hold the secrets of life. Because we do not yet have a full understanding of how a living system works, and how these organisms interact with and modify their environments, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Genomic Science Program is working to achieve a predictive, system-level understanding of plants, microbes, and biological communities. This program is providing the foundational knowledge underlying biological approaches to producing biofuels, sequestering carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, and cleaning up contaminated environments.

Related Topics: genomics, In the OSTI Collections, MIT, Prochlorococcus, Sally W. Chisholm