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OSTIblog Posts by Kathy Chambers

Kathy Chambers's picture
Senior STI Specialist, Information International Associates, Inc.

Carbon Sequestration – Helping to Save Our Beautiful World

Published on Apr 17, 2014

Warmer winters are changing bird migratory patterns, warmer seawater is linked to coral reef bleaching in the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico, and more extreme climate events are affecting society and ecosystems.  According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the increasing air and water temperatures, decreasing water availability across regions and seasons, increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding and sea level rise have caused major issues to the energy sector over the past decade. Our world as we know it is evolving because of climate change. 

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The Remarkable Legacy of Kenneth Geddes Wilson

Published on Mar 21, 2014

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. 

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Amazing Aerogels

The Flower dramatically demonstrates the superinsulating properties of silica ae

Published on Feb 28, 2014

Aerogels are some of the most fascinating materials on the planet. They were discovered in the 1930s by Stanford University’s Samuel Kistler who proved that he could successfully replace a gel’s liquid with a gas by drying it, thereby creating a substance that was structurally a gel, but without liquid. Since their invention aerogels have primarily been made of silica but can be made of a growing variety of substances including transition metal oxides, organic polymers, biological polymers, semiconductor nanostructures, graphene, carbon, carbon nanotubes and metals as well as aerogel composite materials and the list is growing.

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A banner year expected for high-performance computing

Titan Cray XK7 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Published on Feb 05, 2014

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)

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Enjoy the benefits of LED lighting

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6309229615/in/photostream/

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Every day we are bombarded with advertisements in every form and format telling us that our lives will be improved if we buy a particular product because it will save us money, reduce our work effort, save us energy, or benefit the environment. We are justifiably skeptical because we know from experience that if something sounds too good to be true, usually it is. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is one of the exceptions. LEDs benefits are so powerful that they seem too good to be true; however, they actually do save us money, reduce our work effort, save us energy and benefit our environment.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity to light. LED lighting products are beginning to appear in a wide variety of home, business, and industrial products such as holiday lighting, replacement bulbs for incandescent lamps, street lighting, outdoor area lighting and indoor ambient lighting.

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Observing Gamma-ray Bursts in Distant Galaxies

Gamma-ray burst  GRB 080319B

Published on Nov 21, 2013

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.

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The Reverend Thomas Bayes

Thomas Bayes

Published on Nov 06, 2013

During the 1700’s, the Reverend Thomas Bayes was a nonconformist minister at the Mount Sion Chapel in Tunbridge Wells, UK, about 40 miles southeast of central London.  Having studied both theology and logic at the University of Edinburgh, he was also a mathematician and developed a strong interest in probability late in life. He was known to have published only one book on theology and one book on mathematics in his lifetime. A third manuscript he never published about the probability of cause made him famous. After his death, a good friend Richard Price recognized the importance of the paper and, after extensive editing, submitted it for publication. More than 20 years later, the great French mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace devised the formula for Bayes’ probability of causes and acknowledged Bayes as the discoverer of what we now know as Bayesian inference.  

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Solving the mystery of superconductivity

Brookhaven physicist Yong Chu at the National Synchrotron Light Source II looks

Published on Oct 17, 2013

At the legendary 1987 American Physical Society conference, sometimes called the “Woodstock of physics”, thousands of physicists descended upon a New York Hilton ballroom to hear about the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) in ceramic materials.

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UC Berkeley in the Spotlight

The Campanile and Mt. Tamalpais from Berkeley Memorial Stadium at sunset

Published on Sep 17, 2013

Overlooking the eastern shore of the beautiful San Francisco Bay is UC Berkeley, founded during the gold rush days as the flagship institution of the University of California. This campus has become one of the preeminent universities in the world. UC Berkeley has consistently ranked highest among the world’s public institutions for its achievements in teaching and for the quality and breadth of its research enterprise.

Berkeley’s core research community is made up of some 1,600 full time faculty, 10,000 graduate students, and approximately 1,400 post-doctoral fellows from throughout the world. An astounding 22 current and former faculty and 29 alumni have received the Nobel Prize. The first atom-smashing cyclotron was developed here and UC Berkeley faculty played a key role in building the world’s first atomic bomb.

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The Higgs boson - a turning point in history

CERN's aerial view and the LHC tunnel

Published on Aug 20, 2013

Turning points in history – things or events that define lasting change in the world we know.  The industrial revolution, Henry Ford’s automobile, penicillin, Einstein’s theory of relativity, firsts in aviation and space, the discovery of electricity, and the digital computer invention were some of these turning points.

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