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OSTIblog Articles in the science communications Topic

Science and Innovation Create Jobs

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Science and Innovation Create Jobs

 

 

 

The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business . . . .  In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives.  It is how we make our living. . . .This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.”

President Obama

2011 State of the Union Address

The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy(DOE) is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.  DOE delivers breakthroughresearch and innovation.

Scientific research is the foundation for innovative solutions that will enable us to solve many challenges. The benefits investment in science and technology to the U.S. economy, U.S. competitiveness and job creation are well known.  The National Academies Report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” stated: “…the economic value of investing in science and technology has been thoroughly investigated…estimates of return on investment for publically funded R&D range from 20 to 67%.”  The seed corn is federally funded basic scientific research that produces the discoveries and trains the scientists that eventually create millions of skilled jobs. “While only four percent of the nation’s workforce is composed of scientists and engineers,” the report said, “this group disproportionately creates jobs for the other 96 percent.”

 Johns Hopkins University’simmediate past-president William R. Brodyexplains it this way: "...

Related Topics: doe, jobs, obama

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Snowflake Science

With winter just around the corner, can snow be far behind?

We’ve all heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but what do we really know about them?

Snowflakes always have six sides.   Their form and shape depends on temperature and moisture.   Snowflake shapes fall into six main categories:  plate (flat), column, stars, dendrite (lacy), needle and capped column. When it is extremely cold, snow becomes fine and powdery and the snowflakes’ design becomes simpler, usually needle or rod shaped. When the temperature is close to freezing point, snowflakes become much larger and more complex in design.

Snow crystals form in clouds when the temperature is below freezing and are created by water droplets freezing on small ice particles. As an ice crystal drops through the cloud it bumps and knocks others and becomes a snowflake. This process of bumping others, along with melting and re-freezing aids the creation of their complex design. The air that the snowflake drops through has to be under freezing or the snowflake will simply melt and turn into rain.

Physicists working on the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratoryare working to solve one of the grand challenges of magnetic fusion research:  reducing the effect that plasma has on the walls of the tokamak.  By using a "snowflake" diverter, a novel magnetic diverter named for its shape, scientists have improved heat and power handling by reducing the interaction between hot plasma and the cold walls surrounding it.

You can find more about snowflakes, tokamaks and fusion via Science Accelerator, a gateway to science, including R&D results, project descriptions, accomplishments, and more, via...

Related Topics: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Science Accelerator, snowflake, tokamak

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Search Technology Developed by DOE Wins NIH Challenge

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Search Technology Developed by DOE Wins NIH Challenge

WebLib, a start-up company which won a Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, managed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), has just won a celebrated Challenge.gov contest using technology developed for DOE.

To start from the beginning, a DOE Small Business Innovation Research project funded a Phase II application for WebLib to develop a novel search technology called semantic search.  Semantic search uses semantic knowledge of concepts and their relationships to produce relevant results, even when those results do not contain the user’s original query terms. The project was managed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) which seeks to accelerate science by accelerating the spread of knowledge.  The goal of the project was to speed up literature searches by dramatically increasing the precision and completeness of searches of scientific and technical databases where the great bulk of the results of government R&D reside. To enable the development of semantic search, DOE OSTI provided WebLib with the DOE Green Energy Database to use as a test platform. 

WebLib made remarkable progress advancing the state of the art in search technology.  After just the first year of a two year grant, WebLib delivered its first cut at advanced semantic search technology.

The semantic search technology developed by WebLib was tested by OSTI which found that it was a significant advance over previous search technologies.  Subsequently, DOE deployed WebLib’s semantic search into the production version of the DOE Green Energy Database.  WebLib’s semantic search technology is so powerful and affordable that OSTI hopes to deploy it on eight more databases.

With its successful technology at hand, WebLib drove on and entered the...

Related Topics: apps, DOE Green Energy, NLMplus, SBIR/STTR, WebLib

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International Education Week 2011

International Education Weekwas first held in 2000; today it's celebrated annually in more than 100 countries worldwide.  IEW is a joint initiative of the US Departments of Stateand Education, and is part of the federal government’s efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

Science and technology have been and will continue to be engines of US economic growth and national security. Excellence in discovery and innovation in science and engineering and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education will strengthen the US economy, increase the capacity of US research and sustain our nation’s leadership role in increasingly competitive international science.

The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves and disseminates DOE-sponsored R&D results that are outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions. OSTI believes that accelerating the sharing of scientific knowledge accelerates the advancement of science.  OSTI ensures global access to DOE research results and brings the world’s research to DOE.

OSTI’s databases are made available to the public free of charge via single-point-of-access web portals such as ScienceAccelerator.gov (R&D from DOE resources), Science.gov (U.S. science information from 14 federal agencies), and WorldWideScience.org (global science information from over 70 countries in ten...

Related Topics: education, Science Accelerator, Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org (WWS)

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Public Access – Help Shape It!

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Public Access – Help Shape It!

As a reader of this blog, you are naturally a stakeholder in the government's public access policies – specifically, public access to scholarly publications containing federally-funded research results.  As the largest government funder of research in the physical sciences as well as a key funder across a broad spectrum of other science and technology fields, the Department of Energy, through our national laboratories and grantees, produces an enormous number of scholarly publications each year.

Journal articles are the gold standard of scholarly publications.  Books and conference papers are other examples.  DOE research is also recorded in the form of e-prints and technical reports.  OSTI is the repository for DOE's technical reports, having nearly 300,000 available in electronic full text on the DOE Information Bridge and another 800,000, dating back to the Manhattan Project, awaiting digitization.

For journal articles, OSTI also receives lots of metadata from national labs, but public access to the full text depends on individual journal publishers' business practices – e.g., whether the journal is open access or subscription based.  In the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, Congress tasked the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) with reviewing, evaluating, and proposing federal public access policies and practices for peer reviewed scholarly publications.  A Public Access to Scholarly Publications (PASP) Task Force has been leading this effort on behalf of the NSTC, and a Request for Information (RFI) (i.e., an opportunity for stakeholder input) has just been...

Related Topics: Information Bridge (IB), public access, RFI

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OSTI: The Storefront for the DOE

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OSTI: The Storefront for the DOE

The Department of Energy has made a formidable contribution to the advancement of the scientific and technological knowledge frontier.  In particular, DOE sponsors more basic and applied scientific research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency and all of this is made possible by the taxpayer.

Additionally, in the March 2011 Federal Laboratory Technology Transfer Summary Report to the President and the Congress, it was noted that in FY09 across the federal government there were over 4,400 new inventions of which 33% were from DOE; 1,500 new patents issued with 35% from DOE; and over 2,000 new patent applications of which 44% were from DOE.

If the DOE is thought of as an organization that generates innovative “products”—the cutting edge research, discoveries, patents, inventions and other technological results—then the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is its “storefront”.  It is precisely from this storefront that the taxpayer—the citizen, the businessperson, the entrepreneur, the student, or the researcher—is able to access transparently this enormous array of products, know-how and scientific information. 

OSTI recognizes that in this storefront capacity, it plays a crucial role not only in generating return on investment (ROI) for the taxpayer in terms of making the fruits of their “investments” available to those that are interested, but also in being a catalyst for the generation of economic activity which supports and creates jobs each year from the commercialization of government-funded research.

OSTI is continuously looking at creative and innovative ways for increasing the access to and awareness of this wealth of information, which, to take the storefront analogy further, would constitute marketing and distribution for DOE “products”.  It is aggressively aiming to enable pursuit of the mandates of the recent October 28, 2011...

Related Topics: doe, osti, product offering, ROI, scientific information

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Halito!

That is Choctaw for hello. My name is Erin Anderson and I am a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  I am an employee of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), where one of my duties is to manage the DOE Green Energy product.

November is Native American Heritage Month and it has traditionally been a time set aside to recognize the contributions, sacrifices, cultural and historical legacy of the American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has supported efforts of Native American individual scientists and researchers, as well as tribal governments and educational institutions.  Much science is being done in areas related to renewable energy, with particular focus on solar and wind power.  These greener, more sustainable technologies and energy practices are making headway in Indian Country.

TribalCollegesand Universities are one area where you can see this. In fact, you can read on the OSTI .EDUconnections Spotlight on Tribal Colleges and Universities (July 2011) about a unique partnership between DOE National Laboratories, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. This partnership was created because “…[there is] significant need and significant opportunity to develop the energy literacy of future American Indian leaders by providing scientific and technological skills to help their communities manage their lands and develop energy resources.” (Page 1, American Indian Research & Education Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, July 25, 2011).

You can see the U.S....

Related Topics: DOE Green Energy, renewable energy, Tribal Energy Program

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“The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share.”

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“The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share.”

In an October 29, 2011 Wall Street Journal article, “The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share,”  Dr. Michael Nielsenstated that networked science has the potential to speed up dramatically the rate of discovery across all of science, and that we may well see the day-to-day process of scientific research change more fundamentally over the next few decades than over the past three centuries. He also noted that there are major obstacles to achieving this goal, including the lack of a systematic effort by scientists to adopt new tools of discovery or to share data – because they are busy, they may believe it’s a diversion from their “real” work or because they may not be familiar with the means to do so easily.

OSTI knows that the public and members of the scientific community may not be familiar with the multitude of different science databases.  OSTI addresses and solves these considerable challenges by providing vehicles for obtaining targeted, precise information quickly and easily.  We believe that shared knowledge is the enabler of scientific progress, and that accelerating the sharing of knowledge will accelerate discovery.  To these ends, OSTI uses and extends modern communication technologies.  Our databases are the largest national sources of energy and science R&D information in the world. 

OSTI resources include:

Science Accelerator, a gateway to DOE research and development (R&D) projects and programs, descriptions of R&D projects underway or recently completed, major R&D accomplishments, and recent research of interest to DOE.  The user can learn about ongoing research projects, explore significant DOE discoveries, learn about DOE Nobel Prize Winners, access and search scientific e-prints...

Related Topics: Albert Einstein, information sharing, Science Accelerator, Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org (WWS)

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Halloween and Science

Halloween is celebrated on October 31, and is one of the world’s oldest holidays.  It has evolved into a celebration enjoyed by all ages, and includes fun activities like trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes, carving jack-o'-lanterns, going to a bonfire, apple bobbing, visiting a haunted house and telling scary stories.

Did you ever wonder why we sometimes enjoy being scared?  Learn about the science of fear, find tips about staying safe and healthy on Halloween, learn about “vampire” appliances, download  information on Halloween storms, do research on black cats or find fun activities to do at home or in school – all of this information (and more) is available for free on Science.gov

Science.gov is made available to the public by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI).  It searches over 50 databases and over 2100 selected websites from 14 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results.

So have a scary, happy and scientific Halloween…boo!!

Related Topics: Halloween, osti, Science.gov

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Congratulations to Saul Perlmutter -- 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics DOE-Affiliated Researcher

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Congratulations to Saul Perlmutter -- 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics DOE-Affiliated Researcher

"For the Discovery of the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe through Observations of Distant Supernovae"

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to Saul Perlmutter, an astrophysicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley.  Perlmutter heads the International Supernova Cosmology Project, which pioneered the methods used to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe.  Dr. Perlmutter has been a leader in studies to determine the nature of dark energy.

Perlmutter shares the prize with Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, leader of the High-z Supernova Search Team and first author of that team’s analysis, respectively, which led to their almost simultaneous announcement of accelerating expansion, which implies the existence of so-called dark energy, a mysterious force that acts to oppose gravity and increase the distance among galaxies. The nature of dark energy is unknown and has been termed the most important problem facing 21st century physics.  It will continue to be studied by cosmologists, astrophysicists and particle physicists.

On learning of the award, Perlmutter said, “I am delighted, excited, and deeply honored. It’s wonderful that the Nobel Prize is being awarded for results which reflect humanity’s long quest to understand our world and how we got here. The ideas and discoveries that led to our ability to measure the expansion history of the universe have a truly international heritage, with key contributions from almost every continent and culture. And quite appropriately, our result – the acceleration of the...

Related Topics: Berkeley, dark energy, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, Nobel Prize, Perlmutter

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