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OSTIblog Posts by Kathy Chambers

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

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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Keeping the lights on

New York City skyline at nightfall, August 14

Published on Jul 18, 2013

On August 14, 2003, a software bug at a utility company brought New York City to its knees, and the resulting cascading effect ultimately forced the shutdown of more than 100 power plants (read more). Approximately 50 million people in 8 U.S. states and Canada experienced the worst blackout in North American history.

Research has been ongoing at the Department of Energy to improve our electrical grid’s reliability to ensure history is not repeated.

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Plasmas - The Greatest Show on Earth

Published on Jun 24, 2013

Perhaps the most beautiful and eerie displays of light in our sky are a phenomenon known as the auroras. This natural glow of light in the sky in high latitude regions usually displays ribbons of colors from a fluorescent green to brilliant purple to a vivid crimson somewhat like an unexpected beautiful sunrise or sunset.  Observers often call it the greatest show on Earth.

Auroras are triggered by geomagnetic storms when gusts of solar plasma wind strike the Earth’s magnetic field; charged particles rain down over the north and south magnetic poles, lighting up the atmosphere and causing the air to glow.

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Out of the past and into the future

Norris Lake in Union County, Tennessee

Published on May 17, 2013

If you look closely, you can find fossilized material on the banks of the Norris Lake shoreline in Anderson County, Tennessee when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lowers the water level.  If you are really lucky, you will find traces of sea creatures or beautiful flora or fauna impressions encased between the freshly exposed layers of rock. These are ancient treasures from our country’s rich geological history.

A paleogeography reconstruction of the Earth took place some 56 to 34 million years ago during the Eocene geologic period of time .

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OSTI’s Amazing Dr. Watson

Searching for "clues"

Published on Apr 17, 2013

During the past year, Dr. William N. Watson, physicist, of DOE/OSTI’s staff has posted quite a few very interesting white papers in OSTI’s monthly Science Showcase on OSTI’s Home Page.  This quiet, unassuming man crafts prolific papers on popular science topics of interest to the Department of Energy (DOE).  He investigates and assimilates this information from OSTI’s extensive R&D Collections and takes us on a layman’s journey through the technical details and scientific research that make it all possible.

William’s papers have helped us to understand key technologies developed at DOE Laboratories for the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity and how chemical analysis of rocks and soil is determined millions of miles away.  We know what is happening with new heat pump technology and how DOE researchers are working to improve designs and efficiency. 

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And the winner is . . . . you!

STIP

Published on Apr 01, 2013

Did you ever stop to think what makes it possible for you to have immediate, free access to Department of Energy (DOE) scientific findings from billions of dollars of annual research?  A lot of behind-the-scenes work and dedication of an entire community make it all possible.

The heart and soul of this endeavor is the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP), a collaboration to ensure your access to DOE research and development results.

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Free-Electron Lasers move discovery into warp speed

An illustration of the Chandra spacecraft, an orbiting X-ray telescope.

Published on Mar 26, 2013

Scientific research being performed today using free-electron lasers could be fodder for the next James Bond or Star Wars movie but it is way better than science fiction and it is real. 

Almost everything we know about the laws of nature and how and why we react to the world around us took many centuries to develop. However, recent free-electron laser research breakthroughs are shedding light on these fundamental processes of life and moving scientific discovery into warp speed.

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