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OSTIblog Articles in the science communications Topic

The Remarkable Legacy of Kenneth Geddes Wilson

by Kathy Chambers 21 Mar, 2014 in Science Communications

It is rare when someone comes along whose ideas change science. Nobel Laureate Kenneth Geddes Wilson (1936 –2013) forever changed how we think about physics. Wilson left a legacy of his prize-winning problem solving in theoretical physics, the use of computer simulations and the modeling of physical phenomena, the establishment of supercomputer centers for scientific research, and physics education and science education reform.

Wilson was gifted mathematically at an early age. His grandfather taught him how to do mathematical computations in his mind. When he was 8 years old, he would calculate cube roots in his head while waiting for the school bus.  This brilliant and shy young boy went through grade school and high school at an accelerated pace to enroll in Harvard when he was only 16 years old. He obtained his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology, did postdoc studies at Harvard as a junior fellow that included a year at CERN, joined the faculty of Cornell University and later Ohio State University’s Departments of Physics. At the age of 46, he became one of the youngest winners of a Noble Prize when he received the 1982 Noble Prize in Physics based on his pioneering work developing a theoretical framework on the nature of phase transitions, such as the moment when metal melts at a certain temperature or when liquid transforms to a gaseous state. 

Related Topics: effective field theory, renormalization, Supercomputers, theoretical physics

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A banner year expected for high-performance computing

by Kathy Chambers 05 Feb, 2014 in Science Communications
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)

Related Topics: High-performance computing, Jaguar, ORNL, SciTech Connect, Titan

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Observing Gamma-ray Bursts in Distant Galaxies

by Kathy Chambers 21 Nov, 2013 in Science Communications
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.

Related Topics: galaxies, gamma-ray burst, SciTech Connect, supernovae, telescopes

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The Successes of Government Science and Technology

by Sam Rosenbloom 30 Oct, 2013 in Science Communications

Sorry due to allocation we can serve no more gasoline today


Theodore Roosevelt, in his famous speech “Citizenship In A Republic” starts by saying “it is not the critic who counts;” What makes the speech poignant is that all too often it is the critic who counts because we see time and time again the media pointing out “how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.”

Too often we only hear about failures and waste in government, yet the contributions and success of government-funded science and technology are ubiquitous and often under-reported.

Related Topics: Bureau of Mines, communications, hydraulic fracturing, nasa, nuclear weapons technology, Oil Shale

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Name Ambiguity and ORCID

by Tim Byrne 28 Oct, 2013 in Science Communications

Wouldn’t it be nice if your name were a unique identifier and nobody else had the same name as you?  Unfortunately, most of us share our names with a number of other people, most of whom we have never met and never will.  But we have all probably experienced the challenge and frustration of trying to find a specific person from a list of people with the same name.  Remember when we used phone books?  Trying to pick out the person you needed from a listing of multiple names?  Actually, searching the internet doesn’t make this process any easier.

Related Topics: author names, disambiguation, identifiers, name ambiguity, orcid, SciTech Connect

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The National Library of Energy(Beta): A Gateway to Information about the “All-of-the-Above” Energy Strategy

by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon 26 Sep, 2013 in Science Communications
Picture of the National Library of Energy Logo

While I have not taken a formal survey, my experience over many years as a Department of Energy (DOE) employee suggest to me that most people have no idea what DOE does.  Let me amend that.  Many people know exactly what we do.  DOE controls the price of gas at the pump; it manages natural gas drilling, builds pipe lines and regulates refineries.  As it turns out, people know a great deal about DOE, it’s just that most of it is dead wrong.

Look it up and you’ll find that “[t]he mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”  Hmm.  Nothing about gas prices there.

Once you get a bead on the DOE mission you are ready to mine its extraordinary set of resources. 

Related Topics: DOE Virtual University, mission, National Library of Energy (NLE) - Beta, strategy, training

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The Imperative for Accelerating the Advancement of Science

by Dr. Walt Warnick 23 Sep, 2013 in Science Communications

American Citizens Need Basic Research

Some time ago, a friend, a young father of two, lay in a hospital bed seriously ill. The physician said there was no treatment. The pancreas was secreting substances that were digesting itself and destroying surrounding tissue. Some patients recover on their own; others do not.

Natural laws may allow some remedy which will assist the body's own defenses and cause the pancreas to heal. If there was such a remedy, why did the physician not use it? The answer is the lack of knowledge -- not of just one physician, but of the medical profession as a whole. Unless the physician is a researcher, he waits for others to discover the remedy. He waits because no predecessor mastered the natural laws which govern the pancreas.

The young father in my story is a real person. His name is Vince Dattoria.

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How Science.gov’s Features Help Improve Access to Scientific and Technical Information Across the Federal Government

by Dr. Walt Warnick 09 Aug, 2013 in Science Communications

 

 Science.gov, the gateway to federal government science information and research results, is commemorating 10+ years of service to the American people.    

The portal was launched in December 2002 and is an interagency initiative of 19 U.S. government science organizations within 15 federal agencies.  These agencies form the Science.gov Alliance, which governs Science.gov on a collaborative basis. Many of the of the agencies that participate in Science.gov are members of CENDI, an interagency working group of senior scientific and technical information managers, which provides administrative support and coordination for Science.gov.

Related Topics: media, nih, pubmed, science.gov

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OSTIBlog has a new look

by Tim Byrne 05 Jul, 2013 in Science Communications

The redesign of OSTIblog makes it easier to find and view blog articles.  The OSTIblog home screen now displays the title, image and opening paragraph for the last five articles.  Earlier articles can be paged through, again viewing five per page. 

The new menu bar has tabs for Topics, Authors, and Archive. The Topics tab allows users to browse OSTIblog articles assigned to one of four topic areas:  Personal Perspectives, Products and Content, Science Communications, and Technology.  There is also an option to browse by the name of an OSTI database, search tool or other product.  The last choice under the Topics tab is to browse OSTIblog articles by subject tags

Related Topics: OSTIBLOG, redesign

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Champions of Change: Open Science

by Linda McBrearty 02 Jul, 2013 in Science Communications

OSTI’s involvement in public access is accelerating! The week of June 24th, 2013, The White House recognized Champions of Change: Open Science at an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. OSTI’s Director Walt Warnick was invited to nominate individuals who had been instrumental in championing public access to open science. As a result of Walt’s involvement in Public Access to scientific information, he was invited to attend this important event. Two notable Champions of Change who were honored were Jack Andraka, a Maryland high school student who at age 15 created a novel paper sensor that detects pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in 5 minutes for as little as 3 cents; Jack has a huge Twitter following and is a passionate speaker about open access, STEM education and universal Internet availability. The other is Paul Ginsparg who created arXiv.org, an open access e-print network that serves as the primary daily information feed for global communities of researchers in physics, mathematics, computer science, and related fields and is the most popular e-print server in the world.

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