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. The coherence of galaxies and dark energy and dark matter has been explained and the exciting research that is changing what we know about the world around us. William has given us an in-depth overview of the unique capabilities of metamaterials and how DOE research is eliminating the technical obstacles to their production and use in new devices. We have learned about the development of quantum computing and its capability to solve practical problems not possible with present-day computers. We know how...Read more...
"For the Discovery of the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe through Observations of Distant Supernovae"
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to Saul Perlmutter, an astrophysicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley. Perlmutter heads the International Supernova Cosmology Project, which pioneered the methods used to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe. Dr. Perlmutter has been a leader in studies to determine the nature of dark energy.
Perlmutter shares the prize with Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, leader of the High-z Supernova Search Team and first author of that team’s analysis, respectively, which led to their almost simultaneous announcement of accelerating expansion, which implies the existence of so-called dark energy, a mysterious force that acts to oppose gravity and increase the distance among galaxies. The nature of dark energy is unknown and has been termed the most important problem facing 21st century physics. It will continue to be studied by cosmologists, astrophysicists and particle physicists.
On learning of the award, Perlmutter said, “I am delighted, excited, and deeply honored. It’s wonderful that the Nobel Prize is being awarded for results which reflect humanity’s long quest to understand our world and how we got here. The ideas and discoveries that led to our ability to measure the expansion history of the universe have a truly international heritage, with key contributions from almost every continent and culture. And quite appropriately, our result – the acceleration of the...Read more...