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SciTech Connect, Primary Repository for DOE Scientific and Technical Information, Turns Two

As Spring 2015 rolls around, it’s time to mark a momentous occasion in the history of SciTech Connect: it’s turning TWO! 

SciTech Connect is a publicly available database of bibliographic citations for energy-related scientific and technical information (STI), including technical reports, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia, and data information.  Launched in March 2013 by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), SciTech Connect incorporated the contents of two of the most popular core DOE collections, DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, and employed an innovative semantic search tool and updated interface to enable scientists, researchers, and the public to retrieve more relevant information.  SciTech Connect has emerged as a go-to resource, becoming OSTI’s most-visited repository for DOE science, technology, and engineering research information.  Currently, it offers users over 2.7 million citations, including 400,000 full-text documents  and nearly 1.5 million journal article citations, 240,000 of which have digital object identifiers (DOIs) with links to publishers’ websites. 

During its two year history, SciTech has recorded over 3 million sessions with a total of 5,180,000 pageviews.  Following the discontinuation of Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database in September 2013, SciTech Connect traffic has been responsible for the majority of the pageviews served by OSTI’s DOE core-mission products. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2014, SciTech Connect has had an average rate of 6.17 pageviews per minute and served nearly 2.2 million users. 

SciTech Connect is unique amongst OSTI’s products due to its innovative semantic search strategy to encourage STI...

Related Topics: SciTech Connect


DOE and Human Genome Research


DOE and Human Genome Research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has historically played a leading role in supporting human genome research.  March 2014 is the anniversary of the 1986 Santa Fe Workshop, which brought together participants from government, academia, and the private sector to explore the possibility of sequencing the human genome.  This workshop was sponsored by DOE and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  The Human Genome Project (HGP) was formalized in mid-February 1990.

In honor of the anniversary of the Santa Fe Workshop, DOE R&D Accomplishments has published a new feature page, Human Genome Research: DOE Origins.  This page describes the key role played by Charles DeLisi, then Associate Director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER) in conceiving the idea for a program to sequence the human genome.  The Santa Fe Workshop met DeLisi’s goal of laying out an approach to sequence the human genome. 

This new feature page complements a previously published DOE R&D Accomplishments feature page, Human Genome Research: Decoding DNA.  By April 2000, DOE researchers had decoded in draft form the genetic information on human chromosomes 5, 16, and 19, or an estimated 11 percent of the total human genome.  In June of that year, a ‘working draft’ that included a road map to an estimated 90% of the genes on every chromosome was announced. 

Each of these feature pages also include associated information resources, including links to full-text DOE technical reports and additional web sites relating to the Human Genome initiative.

Related Topics: Charles DeLisi, DNA, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, genomics, Human Genome Project, Santa Fe Workshop, sequencing


OSTI Is Re-Focusing and Re-Balancing Its Operations – And Refreshing Its Home Page – to Advance Public Access


OSTI Is Re-Focusing and Re-Balancing Its Operations – And Refreshing Its Home Page – to Advance Public Access

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.

To this end, OSTI is re-focusing and re-balancing its resources, operations, and priorities. For OSTI, this means looking first and foremost at the STI produced by DOE and serving DOE R&D interests.  OSTI is working to be as comprehensive as possible in its processes to collect, preserve/curate, and disseminate all forms of STI from DOE. This means that the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program, or STIP, is of paramount importance. STIP is a robust and effective collaboration across the DOE...

Related Topics: .EDUconnections, Adopt-A-Doc, DOE Green Energy, DOE STI, journal literature, National Library of Energy (NLE) - Beta, osti, OSTI Homepage, Science Accelerator, Science Conference Proceedings, ScienceLab, SciTech Connect


Amazing Aerogels

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.

A brief glimpse of beautiful aerogels shows us they are in a class by themselves with combinations of materials properties that no other material possesses. And, these properties can be adjusted by tailoring the production process. Among other characteristics, aerogels are solid, rigid, and dry despite being named gels. They are the lightest known solids in existence and made of almost nothing. Silica aerogels, for example, typically consist of more than 96% air and the remaining 4% is a wispy web of silica. Their looks are also deceiving. You might think you could pass your hand right through a transparent silica aerogel, sometimes nicknamed ‘frozen smoke,’ but think again—it is very solid to the touch. Extraordinarily strong, aerogels are able to support over 2000 times their own weight. They are also very fragile-- at first cushiony to the touch, they shatter with a bit more pressure. They are good thermal insulators and are capable of withstanding temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. They can be mixed, formed, spread, sprayed or fabricated into slabs, pellets, or most any shape desirable. Because aerogels have these incredible characteristics, they are outstanding materials for...

Related Topics: Aerogels, biological, carbon, graphene, metals, OSTIBLOG, oxides, planet, polymers, semiconductor, silica


Enjoy the benefits of LED lighting

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. The LED lighting industry is on the brink of acceptance because consumers are beginning to realize the truly amazing advantages LED products have over incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lighting. They are more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting. Modern technology has also created other energy efficient lighting options, such as compact fluorescent lamps, which also offer benefits to consumers and the environment.

Over the past decade, LED technology research and...

Related Topics: cumulative energy, energy star, LED, Light-emitting diode, lighting, OSTIBLOG, solid-state


The Reverend Thomas Bayes


The Reverend Thomas Bayes

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.  

This year is the 250th anniversary of Bayesian inference. During its history, the Bayes theory has been doubted, disproven, defended, and challenged again and again and again.  It has consistently been an important tool in understanding what we really know, given the evidence and other information we have. It helps incorporate "conditional probabilities" into our conclusions. 

Bayesian inference has recently become prominent in many scientific fields due to the availability of simulation-based computational tools for implementation. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are using Bayes’ theorem to deduce structures of crystals and determine macromolecular structures. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory describes how a sequential Bayesian processor would be used to assess...

Related Topics: Bayesian Inference, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, OSTIBLOG, Thomas Bayes


Solving the mystery of superconductivity


Solving the mystery of superconductivity

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.  The world was intrigued with possibilities of magnetically levitated trains and bulk power storage.  There was excitement and great hope in the world of condensed-matter physics research.  

After decades of controversy, many competing theories, and several Nobel prizes later, the vision presented in the ballroom that night is beginning to emerge. DOE researchers and their collaborators are utilizing new technologies to make significant progress solving the HTS mystery. Some of the leading HTS theories are being challenged by using cutting-edge x-ray scattering techniques to discover hidden magnetic waves in high-temperature superconductors and additional breakthroughs are anticipated when DOE’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) begins operation promising unprecedented energy resolution. The string-theory holographic principle is one of the new conceptual tools being used to study HTS electrons.  Electron spectroscopy with synchrotron light is being used to understand HTS structures. And, the sample testing process is being greatly accelerated with the atomic layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy system. Read about superconductivity technology, basic science and progress towards theory in Dr. William Watson’s...

Related Topics: Brookhaven, HTS, National Synchrotron Light Source II, OSTI Homepage, superconductivity, X-Ray Nanoprobe


UC Berkeley in the Spotlight

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. It’s the place where vitamin E and K were discovered, the human polio virus isolated, and the flu virus identified. Berkeley scientists and engineers played a crucial role in the computer revolution and the growth of Silicon Valley. Breakthroughs in genomic science and hereditary breast cancer were discovered here. Saul Perlmutter cofounded the Supernova Cosmology Project and George Smoot imaged the infant universe. Read in detail the long and impressive list of discoveries and contributions by UC Berkeley scholars.

The 200-acre U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), founded by UC Berkeley physicist Ernest Orlando Lawrence, lies on a hillside above the UC Berkeley campus. LBNL has a distinguished history of world-...

Related Topics: .EDUconnections, Biofuels, biotechnology, carbon capture, carbon sequestration, UC Berkeley


Watch More Science Videos – Now with Closed Captioning

Scientific videos just became even more plentiful and even more accessible through OSTI’s multimedia search tool ScienceCinema. Over a three-month period and with the help of a wonderful summer intern working alongside OSTI staff, we have added 560 new science videos to ScienceCinema from DOE Labs. Now, ScienceCinema contains over 3,200 videos highlighting exciting research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and CERN. Using innovative, state-of-the-art audio indexing and speech recognition technology, ScienceCinema allows users to quickly search videos, and identify the exact point in the video where the search terms were spoken.

In our continuing collaboration with Microsoft Research and its cloud services vendor GreenButton, ScienceCinema has just added a closed captioning option, which allows users to see the videos’ audio in textual format, for all videos added since July 2013. Users simply turn on the closed captioning feature while watching the individual video of interest. For an example, click here, then click on the video image.   When the video begins playing, click on the “CC” circle at the bottom of the video screen.  (Closed captioning is seamlessly supported with Internet Explorer 10 and Chrome.)  For ScienceCinema, this is a breakthrough in accessibility for hearing-impaired patrons.

Scientific videos, animation, interactive visualizations, and other multimedia are expected to become increasingly prominent forms of scientific communication. ScienceCinema will continue to grow rapidly as new R&D-related videos are produced by DOE...

Related Topics: audio indexing, cern, Closed Captioning, GreenButton, Microsoft Research, ScienceCinema, speech recognition


The Higgs boson - a turning point in history


The Higgs boson - a turning point in history

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. The landmark observation of the long sought Higgs-like particle or boson in July 2012 is such a turning point.   

The Higgs had been the last undiscovered particle predicted by the Standard Model, a theory that describes the fundamental particles of matter and the interactions that work between them.  Using massive amounts of data from the Large Hadron Collider, international collaborations announced in March 2013 that new evidence strengthens the case that scientists have discovered a Higgs boson and appears to confirm that a Higgs field really exists.  Understanding the mysteries of our universe - why particles have mass and why we and everything about us exist - is just beginning with this discovery. Physicists now have a direction for exploration of the Standard Model and if it should be changed. 

Read about the Higgs boson experiments, new accelerator designs, and further explorations in Dr. William Watson’s latest white paper ...

Related Topics: collaboration, higgs boson, large hadron collider, SciTech Connect, standard model