Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Published by Judy Gilmore
DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

 

Once again, dedicated representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters program offices, field offices, national laboratories and technology centers are convening along with OSTI staff for the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) Annual Working Meeting. This year the STIP Annual Working Meeting will be held March 31-April 4 in Richland, Washington. The meeting will be hosted by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Published by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon
Basic Research and Innovation

 

Recently, I attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. on the topic of innovation – how it comes about, what factors can impede it, where the U.S. might be headed as a lead innovator in the 21st Century, and what cultural and ethical issues need to be considered in a complete understanding of innovation.

As a science and technology agency, the Department of Energy (DOE) cares a great deal about questions surrounding innovation.  As an information management agency within DOE, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) works to accelerate innovation through the sharing of knowledge.  We also love to point out where DOE has done just that.

The discussion at Hudson on innovation was rich and multi-layered.  But there were a set of key ideas and arguments that should be of particular interest to DOE and OSTI.

Published by Kathy Chambers
Kenneth Geddes Wilson. White man with white hair wearing glasses and a dark suit and tie.

 

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.

Published by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon
Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP)

 

Let’s call it creative destruction, borrowing from a popular term in economics.  The idea is that the very essence of capitalism is the destruction of old structures and the building of new ones that inevitably face the same pressures as the structures they replaced.  It’s the reason the buggy whip industry fell on hard times. The information management business of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is in constant flux too, where the next big thing can soon become the next big flop. OSTI cannot be immune to these disruptive forces, nor would we wish it to be.  Here, I would like to focus on just one of many disruptive forces in the information management and information technology worlds compelling OSTI to change, the push for greater public access to federally-funded R&D results.  Frankly, it’s a disruptive force we welcome.

Increasingly the legislative and executive branches of government have emphasized public access to federally-funded scholarly publications (i.e., journal articles and accepted manuscripts) and digital datasets. OSTI will lead the implementation of public access to scholarly publications for DOE, just as the organization has offered public access to other forms of scientific and technical information (STI) emanating from DOE and its predecessor agencies for the past 67 years.

Published by Kathy Chambers
A red flower constructed from an aerogel displayed on a pedestal.

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.