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OSTIblog Articles in the Los Alamos Topic

The Unbelievable Accuracy of the Monte Carlo Method

by Kathy Chambers 18 Jan, 2013 in Science Communications
Stanislaw Ulam

The year was 1945, the year I was born. That in itself is of great significance to me.  However, it was a momentous year in history. World War II came to its merciful end and the development of the first electronic computer – the ENIAC—was nearing completion. At a post-war Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), mathematician Stanislaw Ulam envisioned the possibilities of reviving statistical techniques that would have a huge impact on science and technology research today. (Read the history of Stanislaw Ulam in the special edition of Los Alamos Science No. 15, 1987.)

Related Topics: eniac, Enrico Fermi, LANL, Los Alamos, Monte Carlo, Stanislaw Ulam


Science and a Movie

by Kathy Chambers 18 Sep, 2012 in Science Communications

DOE’s ScienceCinema is now showing “A LANL Scientist’s Dream Takes Off to Zap Rocks on Mars” starring Roger Wiens.

At age 9, Roger Wiens and his brother built rockets, a whole fleet of rockets. They also built a telescope that allowed them to draw craters they saw on Mars when  it neared close to earth. Little did Roger know that he would be putting a camera on Mars 40 years later. Roger Wiens is now a LANL planetary scientist and the principal investigator of the Mars Science Laboratory mission’s ChemCam team. The ChemCam instrument fires a laser at Martian rocks and looks at the resultant flash to determine the composition. Data obtained from Chemcam is helping to answer the question of about life on Mars. Visit DOE’s ScienceCinema to catch Roger’s excitement along with a team of 40 people at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the collabortaion of the French Space Agency IRAP as the Curiosity rover reaches Mars.

Related Topics: Energy Citations Database (ECD), Los Alamos, Mars, ScienceCinema


Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity – ChemCam

by Dr. William Watson 12 Sep, 2012 in Science Communications

How do you run chemical tests at a geologic site millions of miles away from you to see what the rocks and soil are made of? Curiosity’s new instrument ChemCam, developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is designed to determine how much light is emitted at each frequency by a geologic sample when it’s heated by a laser beam. Since different materials have different light-emission patterns, measuring the patterns shows what materials emitted them.

Slide presentations giving a general view of Los Alamos contributions to ChemCam:

Related Topics: ChemCam, data, Los Alamos