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OSTIblog Articles in the Science Communications Topic

Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity – ChemCam

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Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity – ChemCam

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:

Reports and analysis of data:

Curiosity’s ChemCam does its job on Mars but is to be operated from Earth, initially at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and afterward in shifts at DoE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French space agency CNES. Here’s a description of the workings of the CNES operations center as well as...

Related Topics: ChemCam, data, Los Alamos

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University of Tennessee Knoxville in DOE’s .EDUconnections Spotlight

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University of Tennessee Knoxville in DOE’s .EDUconnections Spotlight

Science is always in the spotlight at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, a land-grant institution and the state's flagship research campus.  Recent research might include searching for potential habitats for life on Mars, developing an autotaxin  inhibitor to fight cancer, designing a car for the DOE EcoCAR 2 competition, determining  the boundaries of the nuclear chart or developing “Living Light”, a net-zero energy home for DOE’s Solar Decathlon. UTK is situated in an ideal environment for research. It has a 60-year-old partnership with DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where young scientists have access to state-of-the-art research tools, the world’s leading center for neutron science and some of the world’s fastest supercomputers.  UT’s famous forensic research also benefits from a partnership with DOE’s  Y-12 National Security Complex.  Cross-disciplinary teams are nurtured by the UT-ORNL Science Alliance.

This is why DOE shines their spotlight on the University of...

Related Topics: .EDUconnections, cancer, DOE EcoCar 2, DOE's Solar Decathlon, Knoxville, Mars, University of Tennessee

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Wind Direction Forward

Wind-Energy - A Revitalized Pursuit was issued by Sandia Laboratories in 1974.  This report discusses challenges of the “energy crunch” and the U.S. goal to maintain high standards of living by developing “promising energy sources that are (1) vast, (2) environmentally acceptable, and (3) economically competitive.”  The authors felt that wind energy was a feasible solution. 

Devising ways to efficiently harness the wind is an ongoing pursuit of scientists around the world.  The wind mills of the past have evolved into high-tech wind turbines, governed by complex computer systems.  These control systems continue to be more and more important as turbines become larger, with more flexible and lighter components.  Advanced controls are necessary to prevent damage and possible malfunction of the turbines.  Facilities for testing new control systems at the National Wind Technology Center are described in the fact sheet Advanced Wind Turbine Controls Reduce Loads

Read more about wind energy in the DOE Science Showcase: Wind Power and watch Energy 101: Wind Turbines  (YouTube) to learn about the fundamentals and future of wind energy.

 

Daphne Evans, OSTI Staff

Related Topics: energy, Sandia, showcase, wind

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Congratulations to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on its Golden Anniversary

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Congratulations to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on its Golden Anniversary

SLAC was established in1962 at Stanford University. The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory  and home to a two-mile linear accelerator—the longest in the world.  Originally a particle physics research center, SLAC is now a multipurpose laboratory for astrophysics, photon science, accelerator and particle physics research and home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies used by researchers from around the world to uncover scientific mysteries on the smallest and the largest scales—from the workings of the atom to the mysteries of the cosmos.

SLAC is at the frontier of scientific discovery. With its range of diverse programs and facilities and exceptional researchers, SLAC is at the forefront of groundbreaking discoveries across the sciences, from astrophysics and accelerator research to chemistry, materials and energy science.

The lab’s core competencies are:

  • Electron-based accelerator research and technology
  • Advanced instrumentation, diagnostics and systems integration
  • Theory and innovative techniques for data analysis, modeling, and simulation in Photon Science, Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics
  • Management of ultra-large data sets for users and collaborations distributed worldwide

Evidence of their success?  Nearly 3,400 scientists from around the world use SLAC’s facilities each year, 275 universities make use of the lab’s resources, 6 scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for work carried out at SLAC and over 1000...

Related Topics: Nobel Prize, slac, Stanford

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Energy in the Forecast

If you can accurately predict the weather, you may be able to predict how much energy can be generated from wind turbines.  That was one objective of the “Great Plains Wind Energy Transmission Development Project,” completed in 2011, to “develop a wind energy forecast system, and demonstrate its efficacy in scheduling power output from wind farms in the Great Plains.”  The forecasting system described in the report was comprised of three elements, a software component using various weather prediction models, a wind energy output model, and a graphical user interface.

Detailed wind resource maps, provided by the Wind Powering America Initiative, are another tool for demonstrating wind resource potential and removing some of the guesswork from wind energy prediction. 

You can read more about the wind, weather, and turbine dynamics in OSTI Collections: Wind Power, and link to many other research reports delving deeper into a range of topics related to wind energy.

Daphne Evans, OSTI Staff

Related Topics: energy, maps, OSTI collections, weather, wind, wind collection

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Wind Power Research Excitement

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Wind Power Research Excitement

New simulation tools and data collection capabilities now available for wind power research are creating a lot of excitement and significant advances in the wind energy industry. For example, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tripled previous estimates of U.S. wind power potential by using advanced wind mapping and validation techniques. New wind development areas were also identified where the wind resource was previously considered unsuitable.

OSTI’s Energy Citations Database makes available a conference paper “State of the Art in Floating Wind Turbine Design Tools” that reviews simulation codes available to the offshore wind industry to potentially use deep water resources. Multi-megawatt wind turbines, complete with extensive sets of instrumentation, are now available to DOE and their partners to sustain wind technology development. Next-generation modeling tools are being used to assess individual turbine performance (see photo) as well as turbine-to-turbine interactions. And, Building State-of-the-Art Wind Technology Testing Facilities describes the capability to test blades up to 90 meters in length. Read more about the exciting wind power research in the OSTI Collections.

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Related Topics: Energy Citations Database (ECD), NREL, Wind Power

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Establishment

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Establishment

On August 13, 1942, the Manhattan Engineer District, whose name was based upon the geographical location of its headquarters, was established.  In September, the Army appointed Colonel Leslie R. Groves to head the effort.  Groves held that the exigencies of war required scientists to move from laboratory research to development and production in record time.  Though traditional scientific caution might be short-circuited in the process, there was no alternative if a bomb was to be built in time to be used in the current conflict (World War II).

Various isotope separation methods (uranium enrichment) to produce uranium-235 were being researched at this time.  One was gaseous diffusion being done at Columbia and another was the electromagnetic method being done at Berkeley under Ernest O. Lawrence.  Based upon the success of the electromagnetic method, the S-1 (The Office of Scientific Research and Development Section On Uranium) Executive Committee recommended building plants in Tennessee at Site X (now Oak Ridge).

During this time, construction was taking place on the Stagg Field pile -- CP-1 (Chicago Pile Number one) at the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago where Enrico Fermi was conducting his research on chain reactions .  Also occurring was Glenn Seaborg's inventive work with plutonium, particularly his investigations on plutonium's oxidation...

Related Topics: 70th Anniversary, atomic bomb, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, electromagnetic, fission, gaseous diffusion, Manhattan Project, nuclear chain reaction, plutonium, Roosevelt, uranium, World War II

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Back-to-School? Get ScienceLab!

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Back-to-School? Get ScienceLab!

It’s August! Are you ready to get back to school? If you’re attending or teaching a science class this year, be sure to check out ScienceLab, Students' go-to source... for homework help, project ideas, competitions, internships, activities, and more. ScienceLab provides searchable access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education resources from U.S. Department of Energy programs and national laboratories.

ScienceLab searches can be filtered by both grade level and resource types including:

  • Student Guide/Tutorial
  • Instructor Guide/Manual
  • Classroom Activities
  • Curricula
  • Lesson Plans
  • Topic Presentations
  • Unit Plans
  • Online Interactive and Games
  • Data Source, Data Visualizations
  • Science Competitions
  • Field Trips
  • Career Exploration
  • Internships
  • Scholarships
  • Agency Resource Portals
  • Professional Development
  • Education Research and Policy
  • Ask A Scientist
  • E-Mentors
  • Speakers

Both students and teachers can benefit from ScienceLab resources. Share this information with your friends. You may print and distribute the ScienceLab flyer and fact card. Start searching the website and get a head start on your research papers and projects!

Related Topics: research papers, research projects, school, students, teachers

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Nano research in DOE collections

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Nano research in DOE collections

Research involving nanoscale dimensions enable development of innovative materials to help solve challenges in the world you live in. As an example, printing electronic circuitry on flexible and stretchable backplanes could revolutionize a number of industries, including smart devices. Berkeley Lab’s Javey Research Group has developed a carbon nanotube backplane that, in combination with inkjet printing of metal contacts,should allow cost-effective mass production of flexible and stretchable electronics. Read more about nanotechnology research results in DOE’s collections.

 

Kathleen Chambers, OSTI Staff

Related Topics: Lawrence Berkeley, nano

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Background

This year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Manhattan Project, a predecessor of the U.S. Department of Energy.  In honor of its impacts on science and history, a 'Manhattan Project' series on this blog will revisit various aspects of its background, establishment, operations, and immediate and long-term influences. The first of the series is about the background of the Manhattan Project.

During the fall of 1939, President F. D. Roosevelt was made aware of the possibility that German scientists were racing to build an atomic bomb and he was warned that Hitler would be more than willing to resort to such a weapon.  As a result, Roosevelt set up the Advisory Committee on Uranium, consisting of both civilian and military representatives, to study the current state of research on uranium and to recommend an appropriate role for the federal government.  The result was limited military funding for isotope separation and the work on chain reactions by Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard at Columbia University.

On a separate front, in late 1939 Vannevar Bush, president of the Carnegie Foundation, became convinced of the need for the government to marshal the forces of science for a war that would inevitably involve the United States.  In June 1940, Roosevelt established a voice for the scientific community by establishing the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), a reorganization of the Advisory Committee on Uranium into a scientific body that eliminated military membership.  The NDRC would have more influence and more direct access to money for nuclear research.  The NDRC's early priorities were studies on radar, proximity fuzes,...

Related Topics: 70th Anniversary, atomic bomb, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, Manhattan Project, nuclear chain reaction, Roosevelt, uranium, World War II

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