OSTIblog Posts by Kathy Chambers

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

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.


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.


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.


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 .


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. 


And the winner is . . . . you!


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.


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.


The Unbelievable Accuracy of the Monte Carlo Method

Stanislaw Ulam

Published on Jan 18, 2013

The year was 1945, the year I was born. That in itself is of great significance to me.  However, it was a momentous year in history. World War II came to its merciful end and the development of the first electronic computer – the ENIAC—was nearing completion. At a post-war Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), mathematician Stanislaw Ulam envisioned the possibilities of reviving statistical techniques that would have a huge impact on science and technology research today. (Read the history of Stanislaw Ulam in the special edition of Los Alamos Science No. 15, 1987.)


Science and a Movie

Published on Sep 18, 2012

DOE’s ScienceCinema is now showing “A LANL Scientist’s Dream Takes Off to Zap Rocks on Mars” starring Roger Wiens.

At age 9, Roger Wiens and his brother built rockets, a whole fleet of rockets. They also built a telescope that allowed them to draw craters they saw on Mars when  it neared close to earth. Little did Roger know that he would be putting a camera on Mars 40 years later. Roger Wiens is now a LANL planetary scientist and the principal investigator of the Mars Science Laboratory mission’s ChemCam team. The ChemCam instrument fires a laser at Martian rocks and looks at the resultant flash to determine the composition. Data obtained from Chemcam is helping to answer the question of about life on Mars. Visit DOE’s ScienceCinema to catch Roger’s excitement along with a team of 40 people at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the collabortaion of the French Space Agency IRAP as the Curiosity rover reaches Mars.


University of Tennessee Knoxville in DOE’s .EDUconnections Spotlight

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Published on Sep 04, 2012

Science is always in the spotlight at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, a land-grant institution and the state's flagship research campus.  Recent research might include searching for potential habitats for life on Mars, developing an autotaxin  inhibitor to fight cancer, designing a car for the DOE EcoCAR 2 competition, determining  the boundaries of the nuclear chart or developing “Living Light”, a net-zero energy home for DOE’s Solar Decathlon. UTK is situated in an ideal environment for research.