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OSTIblog Articles in the science communications Topic

Energy Quadrennial Technology Review Released

“The Department is uniquely situated to serve as a resource for energy and technology data, information, and analysis that can enhance understanding, operation and planning across all organizations… ."

— From the Energy Quadrennial Technology Review


"the Department’s role as a source of information… is unique and indispensible in the advancement of energy technologies.”

— From the media announcement regarding the Energy Quadrennial Technology Review


On September 27, Secretary Steven Chu and Under Secretary Steven Koonin released the first Report on the Department of Energy Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR).

Recommended by the President’s Council on Science and Technology (PCAST), the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Technology Review highlights the Department’s key research functions in a broad energy landscape.  It states that the Department’s role as a source of information and as a convener, two functions that are often underestimated, is unique and indispensible in the advancement of energy technologies.  It establishes a framework, utilizing six key strategies, to prioritize the Department’s research and development across energy technologies.

The QTR finds that DOE should give greater emphasis to the transport sector relative to the stationary sector.  Among the transport strategies, DOE will devote its greatest effort to electrification of the light-duty fleet, a sweet spot for pre-competitive DOE R&D.  Within the stationary heat and power sector, the QTR finds that DOE should increase emphasis on efficiency and grid modernization.  Finally, it highlights the need for DOE to develop stronger, more integrated policy, economics and technical analysis of its...

Related Topics: 21st century, doe, energy, r&d, research, Technology

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Faster than the speed of light? Or an anomaly?

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Faster than the speed of light? Or an anomaly?

According to Einstein's theory of relativity, it is not possible for matter to travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.  The speed of light (186,282 miles per second) has long been considered a cosmic speed limit, and much of modern physics is based on Einstein's work. Now there is a possibility that Einstein was wrong -- and physics may have to rethink the concept of matter and energy.


The science world was surprised when workers at CERN, the world's largest physics lab, recently announced that they had recorded subatomic particles travelling faster than the speed of light.  If their findings are proven to be correct, they would overturn one of the pillars of the Standard Model of physics, which attempts to explain the way the universe and everything within it works. 
Neutrinos have long been suspected of being able to travel beyond light speed but the ability to measure their speed accurately has only recently been possible thanks to the CERN lab. This may be one of those moments in science history that opens the door to new discoveries, and could change the way we understand the universe and ourselves. However, given the potential far-reaching consequences of such a result, independent measurements are needed before the effect can either be refuted or firmly established.


To find out more about neutrinos and modern physics research results, go to Science Accelerator, a gateway to science that includes R&D results, project descriptions, accomplishments and more.  For international results – from over 70 countries and in 10 languages, go to WorldWideScience and for video results (from DOE and CERN), go to...

Related Topics: biological sciences, neutrinos, physics, Science Accelerator, ScienceCinema, speed of light, WorldWideScience.org (WWS)

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DOE’s Solar Decathlon – Building the Future

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DOE’s Solar Decathlon – Building the Future

The Solar Decathlon is being held September 23–October 2, 2011, at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon  challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

19 teams from universities from the US and around the world are competing in the sixth running of the Solar Decathlon.  Each team’s home is monitored for its performance in five areas relating to performance and livability: comfort (maintaining comfortable temperature and humidity in the home), hot water (producing a sufficient quantity for washing and bathing), appliances (such as keeping refrigerated items at the right temperature), home entertainment (running lights, computers and other devices) and energy balance.  For the energy balance portion, homes must even out energy consumption and generation so that they use zero net energy over the course of a week. Other contests rate the teams for their communications with the public, as well as the affordability, architecture, engineering and market appeal of their homes. The winner of the competition will be announced on October 1.

To learn more about solar energy and other green energy technologies, go to the DOE Green Energy Portal and find results from valuable sources of DOE research and development information, including  DOE databases of technical reports and patents that arefiltered for green energy related subjects such as solar, hydro, geothermal, wind energy, energy storage, tidal and wave power, direct energy conversion, nuclear fuel cycle, biomass, synthetic...

Related Topics: biomass, collegiate, decathlon, DOE Green Energy, energy, geothermal, green, hydro, power, solar, synthetic fuels, wave, wind

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Remembering September 11

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Remembering September 11

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 hijackers took control of four commercial airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles after takeoff from Boston, Newark and Washington, DC.  Many of us will always remember where we were and what we were doing that Tuesday morning in what turned out to be the worst attack on American soil that claimed the lives of 2,977 innocent victims.


Department of Energy researchers and national laboratories responded to the call to ensure that such an attack be avoided in the future.  DOE researchers have a long history of working on research that is now connected with the anti-terrorism effort, and in partnership with the federal government to carry out basic and applied research across many scientific disciplines that will help keep Americans safe.  These efforts include research on the early detection of deadly threats, providing expert analyses of and recommendations to address natural or terrorist-generated disasters that could affect the national infrastructure, developing sensors that can detect biological or chemical agents, and recommendations on how to improve energy and environment security.


To find out more about research results and DOE’s efforts to fight terrorism, go to: Science Accelerator. For example, a search using the term "terrorism" provides links to 731 reports.


We honor the victims, families, first responders and many heroes as we approach the ten year anniversary of this terrible event.  We will never forget.


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Science Accelerator is a gateway to science, including R&D results, project descriptions, accomplishments, and more, via resources from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), U.S. Department of Energy.

Related Topics: 9/11, anti-terrorism, security, September 11, terror, threat

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80 Years of Excellence in Science

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80 Years of Excellence in Science

Congratulations to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(Berkeley Lab) as they celebrated their 80th anniversary on August 26. 

Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratorysystem supported by the U.S. Department of Energythrough its Office of Science.  Berkeley Lab is an incubator for ideas, innovations and products that help society and explain how the universe works;  Their unclassified research portfolio includes renewable energy sources such as biofuels and artificial photosynthesis; energy efficiency at home, at work, and around the world; the ability to observe, probe, and assemble materials atom by atom; climate change research, environmental science and the growing connections between them; the chemistry and physics of matter and force in the universe — from the infinite to the infinitesimal; computational science and advanced networking to enable discovery and remote collaborations; and biological sciences for human health and energy research.

Berkeley Lab is highly respected for bringing science solutions to the world.  Lab employees have been recognized as leaders in their fields, including:

·         The Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 12 Nobel prizes

·         Fifty-seven Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences

·         Thirteen scientists have won the National Medal of Science

·         Eighteen of the laboratory’s engineers were elected to the National Academy of Engineering

·         Three of the Lab’s scientists were elected into the Institute of Medicine, and

·         Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world

Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931...

Related Topics: Berkeley, Nobel Prize, Office of Science

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Shake Rattle and Roll! The Science of Earthquakes

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Shake Rattle and Roll! The Science of Earthquakes

A rare, powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the East Coast United States on August 23. Damage was light, but millions of people were surprised and unnerved by the event. The earthquake occurred near Mineral, Virginia, about 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It was a shallow earthquake, and shaking was recorded all along the Appalachians, from Georgia to New England.  There have been several aftershocks and more are expected.

An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth'scrustthat creates seismic waves.  It is estimated that around 500,000 earthquakes occur each year, detectable with current instrumentation. About 100,000 of these can be felt.  Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.  Earthquakes may last only a few seconds or may continue for up to several minutes. They can occur at any time of the day or night and at any time of the year.

Minor earthquakes occur nearly constantly around the world in places like Californiaand Alaskain the United States, but earthquakes can occur almost anywhere. 

Scientists have learned a lot about earthquakes, but there is still much that we don't know, like how to accurately forecast them. 

Find...

Related Topics: earthquake, USGS, WorldWideScience.org (WWS)

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The Web and Science: the First Twenty Years

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The Web and Science: the First Twenty Years

Twenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee, ayoung scientist at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), worked on a better way to communicate and share research information stored on computers at the CERN facility. The result was a browser and editor that could enable information sharing through a common hypertext language. The result was the world’s very first website.  The project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news and documentation, and it quickly spread. Now, it touches nearly all aspects of our daily life.

The Web has radically changed how we access information, products, services and applications. Prior to the Web, we stored paper documents in file cabinets.  We went to libraries to look up information and went to bookstores to buy books. Twenty years ago, we got our news at 6 pm on network television or in the morning newspaper. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to buy an item, you drove to the store to purchase it.  The web has changed the world!

The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the DOE office that collects, preserves and disseminates DOE-sponsored R&D results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.  OSTI has performed this service since the 1940s, but over the years it has evolved and pioneered techniques to make scientific information more readily available to a growing audience.  Today OSTI provides access to scientific and technical information using web-based searchable databases offering ever-expanding sources of R&D information to DOE, the research community and the science-attentive public. The number of information...

Related Topics: cern, customized alerts, r&d results

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Managing the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Project Information

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Managing the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Project Information

OSTI’s mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate DOE-sponsored R&D results emanating from research projects at DOE Laboratories and facilities and from grantees at universities and other institutions.  OSTI performs its mission through many avenues, one of which includes supporting its parent organization within DOE, the Office of Science (SC), and the research programs within SC.

Since 1995, OSTI has provided assistance and support to the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) by developing and maintaining a database of BER research project information.  Called the BER Abstracts Database (http://www.osti.gov/oberabstracts/index.jsp), it contains summaries of research projects supported by the program.  Made up of two divisions, Biological Systems Science Division and Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER is responsible for world-class biological and environmental research programs and scientific user facilities.  BER’s research program is closely aligned with DOE’s mission goals and focuses on two main areas:  the Nation’s Energy Security (developing cost-effective cellulosic biofuels) and the Nation’s Environmental Future (improving the ability to understand, predict, and mitigate the impacts of energy production and use on climate change).

The BER Abstracts Database is publicly available to scientists, researchers, and interested citizens.  Each BER research project is represented in the database, including both current/active projects and historical projects dating back to 1995.  The information available on each research project includes:  project title, abstract, principal investigator, research institution, research area, project term, and funding.  Users may conduct basic or advanced searches, and various sorting and downloading options are available.  BER provides the basic project information to OSTI for the database.  At the direction of BER,...

Related Topics: biological sciences, biotechnology, environmental sciences, genomics, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) Abstracts Database

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TENNESSEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY LAUDS OSTI

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TENNESSEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY LAUDS OSTI

We are proud to note that OSTI was featured in the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry’ssummer issue of its newsletter, the Business Insider

The Chamber says that OSTI and our comprehensive services “…might be one of the most useful – and best kept secrets – in the federal government.”

The article describes OSTI’s mission and our principle that to advance science, research must be shared.  Science.gov and WorldWideScience.org are highlighted.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is based in Nashville and is the state’s chamber of commerce and the state manufacturers' association.  Its membership represents more than 1,000 members across Tennessee from all facets of business and industry.  The newsletter is posted online, and is sent to business and industry leaders, as well as government officials across Tennessee.

OSTI thanks the Chamber for informing its members, and encourages them to use our comprehensive, state-of-the-art (and free!) tools for easy access and delivery of research results that are tailored to their needs.

Related Topics: mission, Science.gov, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, WorldWideScience.org (WWS)

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STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated

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STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated

Many posts could be written about the rich history of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), which dates back to 1945 when Colonel K. D. Nichols announced plans for a complete and authoritative scientific record of all research work performed by Manhattan District contractors.  However, I want to focus on a specific slice of that history, one that is going strong and is well represented across the DOE complex.  I’m referring to DOE’s Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP, www.osti.gov/stip).

Just a month ago, STIP representatives from across the DOE complex convened in Pleasanton, CA, to participate in the annual STIP Working Meeting.  This important present-day collaboration, which is coordinated by OSTI, stems from the 1948 establishment of the Technical Information Panel by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).  In 1948, the country was just coming to terms with the wealth of scientific research resulting from the Manhattan Project. The formation of the Technical Information Panel was an important step forward for the agency and focused on establishing information policies, ascertaining information needs, recommending information dissemination methods, and serving as an important liaison between central and local organizations.

Today – some 60+ years later – STIP continues to be an important partnership in ensuring that results of the Department’s research are made available to DOE’s central STI organization in order to be made broadly accessible via OSTI web search tools and also through national and international STI web portals. Our STIP partnership works to enable reuse of previous research, preserve R&D results, and enhance transparency.By working together,DOE’s STI Program participants take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies to be efficient and cost effective and allow for maximum use of the research information. In addition, we ensure that appropriate...

Related Topics: Manhattan Project, r&d, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, sti, stip

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