Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The laser, called the Linac Coherent Light Source, takes up a third of the two-mile-long linear accelerator at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab in Menlo Park, California. In the accelerator hall, tight bunches of electrons wriggle through a series of magnets and give off X-rays billions of times brighter than earlier X-ray sources could muster. The wavelength of these X-rays is comparable to the radius of a hydrogen atom — about one angstrom, or one ten-billionth of a meter — and each pulse can be as short as a few quadrillionths of a second.
“Understanding how intense light, and in particular intense X-rays, interact with both atoms and molecules is critical to understanding how we’re going to be able to image systems using these intense light pulses in the future,” said laser physicist Roger Falcone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a member of an advisory committee for the laser’s science team but was not involved in the new studies. More>
A study led by Gabor Somorjai and Miquel Salmeron of Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division showed that under high pressure, comparable to the pressures at which many industrial technologies operate, nanoparticle clusters of platinum potentially can out-perform the single crystals of platinum now used in fuel cells and catalytic converters. More>
The first published scientific results from the world's most powerful hard X-ray laser, located at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, show its unique ability to control the behaviors of individual electrons within simple atoms and molecules by stripping them away, one by one—in some cases creating hollow atoms.
In another report, published June 22 in Physical Review Letters, a team led by physicist Nora Berrah of Western Michigan University—the third group to conduct experiments at the LCLS—describes the first experiments on molecules. Her group also created hollow atoms, in this case within molecules of nitrogen gas, and found surprising differences in the way short and long laser pulses of exactly the same energies stripped and damaged the nitrogen molecules. "We just introduced molecules into the chamber and looked at what was coming out there, and we found surprising new science," said Matthias Hoener, a postdoctoral researcher in Berrah's group at WMU and visiting scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who was first author of the paper. "Now we know that by reducing the pulse length, the interaction with the molecule becomes less violent. " More>
In the article “Is cloud computing fast enough for science?” Federal Computer Week magazine discusses early results from DOE’s Magellan cloud computing testbed with NERSC Director Kathy Yelick. “For the more traditional MPI applications there were significant slowdowns, over a factor of 10,” Yelick said. But for computations that can be performed serially, such as genomics calculations, there was little or no deterioration in performance in the cloud.
Yelick discusses cloud computing in more detail in “Uncovering Results in the Magellan Testbed” in HPC in the Cloud.EnterTheGrid/Primeur magazine, a European online magazine for high performance computing and networking, interviewed John Shalf, head of NERSC’s Advanced Technologies Group, at ISC’10 in Hamburg. The resulting article, titled “It takes three to tango in exascale computing: memory, photonic interconnects and embedded processors,” discusses the Green Flash project and the future of supercomputing from the hardware side. On the software side, Shalf discussed native parallel programming languages with International Science Grid This Week in “Q & A — John Shalf talks parallel programming languages.”
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
A NASA-led research team has expanded the growing global armada of remote sensing satellites capable of studying carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate. The newest addition is the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument on NASA's Aura spacecraft, launched in 2004. TES measures the state and composition of Earth's troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, located between Earth's surface and about 16 kilometers (10 miles) in altitude. While TES was not originally designed to measure carbon dioxide, a team led by Susan Kulawik of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has successfully developed and validated a TES carbon dioxide tool. Other institutions participating in the study include the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba-City, Ibaraki, Japan; the Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba-City, Ibaraki, Japan; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif.; and NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colo. More
Friday, June 25, 2010
Whether on a grid, cloud, or cluster, today’s science software runs in parallel, executing many calculations simultaneously. Programmers have found many ways to create parallel programs in traditional programming languages. Nevertheless, today there are a number of emerging languages that are designed specifically for programming in parallel. To learn more about these unusual programming languages, iSGTW caught up with John Shalf, the team lead of the Advanced Technologies Group at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. More
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Despite their proximity, the nose and throat have distinct differences in bacterial populations, U.S. researchers found. Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco, collaborated on a comprehensive comparative analysis of the bacterial communities inhabiting the human nose and throat. More>
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is moving its e-mail to Google’s cloud-based Gmail system to obtain improved functionality and a reduced cost of operation. The lab’s 5,000 e-mail users are migrating to the Google cloud this summer, in a move that should be completed by September, lab Chief Information Officer Rosio Alvarez told Federal Computer Week. More>
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Proponents and critics of electric vehicles both talk about how a global shortage of lithium might hinder adoption of battery-based auto technologies. But experts say new lithium finds are largely irrelevant to advanced battery production, as concerns over a shortage of the material are overblown.
"If (and this is a big if), there is a significant conversion of the automotive fleet to batteries, lithium-based ones make the most sense. In this scenario, we can get lithium-limited," wrote Venkat Srinivasan, a researcher with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies program, on his blog, "This Week in Batteries." More>
Tobacco smoke from other folks’ cigarettes, cigars and pipes can be bad for your heart. In the catalog of cardiac villains, smoking is still a leading cause of heart disease, even though fewer people are smoking these days.
A study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California suggests that tobacco smoke poses a hazard even after it has dissipated. Nicotine in smoke residue clings to walls, carpets, clothing and other surfaces. More>
Performing high-resolution, high-fidelity, three-dimensional simulations of Type Ia supernovae, the largest thermonuclear explosions in the universe, requires not only algorithms that accurately represent the correct physics, but also codes that effectively harness the resources of the next generation of the most powerful supercomputers.
Through the Department of Energy's Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering (CCSE) has developed two codes that can do just that. More>
If concerns for global climate change and ever-increasing costs weren’t enough, the disastrous Gulf oil spill makes an even more compelling case for the development of transportation fuels that are renewable, can be produced in a sustainable fashion, and do not put the environment at risk. Liquid fuels derived from plant biomass have the potential to be used as direct replacements for gasoline, diesel and jet fuels if cost-effective means of commercial production can be found.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a trio of bacterial enzymes that can catalyze key steps in the conversion of plant sugars into hydrocarbon compounds for the production of green transportation fuels. More>
The Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California plans to move all 5,000 of its e-mail users to a public cloud — Google Apps, Google's suite of online applications — by this summer. Since January, about half of those users, all of whom are government contractors, have made the switch from Sun Microsystems' e-mail system to Gmail, said Rosio Alvarez, the lab's chief information officer. More>
Berkeley Lab scientist Terry Hazen also is concerned about the use of dispersants — basically, detergents. The chemicals, which were used after the Exxon Valdez incident, could harm the fragile coastal ecosystem for many years to come, according to his research. More>
Hazen also quoted in The Bellingham Herald.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Can naturally occurring microbes help clean up the oil spill? Some experts say yes.
Scientists say microbes, some of the smallest living things on Earth, can gobble up some of the oil, much like the pint-sized yellow chompers who swallow dots in the Pac-Man video game.
"You take natural oil-eating microbes in the water and give them fertilizer to make them multiply and degrade the oil faster. Oil is a natural product. It's inherently biodegradable,'' Terry Hazen, microbial ecologist in the Earth Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California, tells the Miamia Herald.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday visited a Sarasota company that sells microbes that eat oil. BP says it's open to using them. And the federal government is contacting its pre-approved list of companies to see how quickly they can ramp up production. More>
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Energy Department is inviting researchers to apply for a space in its $32 million Magellan cloud computing evaluation program that's exploring the effectiveness of the cloud for a range of scientific computations.
Energy's National Energy Scientific Research Computing Center, operated by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, along with the Argonne National Laboratory, began setting up the Magellan project six months ago using economic stimulus law money, according to statements on the project Web site. More>
Freeing our economy from its dangerous addiction to fossil fuels and averting the calamitous risks of climate change will require a major technological transformation in the way we produce, transmit, and consume energy. Inventing, developing, building, and deploying these new technologies will require a new era of American technological innovation. The result will be new industries and jobs, along with more clean energy and less pollution. More>
Monday, June 14, 2010
India suffers from chronic electricity shortages, and as the country’s voracious demand for energy continues to grow due to rising incomes and expanding industrialization and urbanization, the situation is expected to worsen. Berkeley Lab has been working with various public agencies in India to promote energy efficiency there—including greener buildings, a smarter electric grid and more efficient home appliances. Such measures will not only address the shortages but could also reduce pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases. More>
Emily Chen still vividly remembers the lecture on gecko feet. She was an eighth grader attending Berkeley Lab's Nano*High program to hear materials scientist Arun Majumdar explain how what he was learning about gecko feet might translate into a new adhesive product based on carbon nanotubes. There are a number of students who come away from a Berkeley Lab summer internship—or just a weekend lecture—infected by the scientists' passion for their work and with a sharper focus on their own academic and career path. More>
Friday, June 11, 2010
LBNL, Wildcat Discovery Technologies and EPRI Selected for $3.66 Million ARPA-E Carbon Capture Grant Award
LBNL, Wildcat Discovery Technologies and EPRI Selected for $3.66 Million ARPA-E Carbon Capture Grant
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
This story also appeared in the Miami Herald.