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National Laboratory

Plutonium Going Strong at 150 Years

on December 10, 2012 - 2:43pm

Livermore chemist Brandon Chung, left, and mechanical technologist Kenneth Lema peer through a glovebox to check the setup on the dilatometer that measures the dimensions of plutonium samples. Courtesy/S&TR


PLANNING the future needs of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile as well as the nuclear weapons complex depends in part on maintaining confidence in the long-term stability of the pit, or core, of plutonium-239 residing inside every weapon.

Scientists and engineers who ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s stockpile had long been concerned

Metric System Born in France 213 Years Ago

on December 10, 2012 - 12:56pm

Illustration courtesy/CSU

NIST News:

The International System of Units, universally abbreviated SI (from the French Le Systéme International d´Unités), is the modern metric system of measurement.

Long the dominant measurement system used in science, the SI is becoming the dominant measurement system used in international commerce.

The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of August 1988 [Public Law (PL) 100-418] changed the name of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and gave to NIST the added task of helping U.S.

Exploiting the Power of IBM Blue Gene/Q Supercomputers

on December 9, 2012 - 11:13am

Sequoia supercomputer. Photo by Bob Hirschfeld/LLNL

NNSA News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Breaking new ground for scientific computing, two teams of Department of Energy (DOE) scientists have for the first time exceeded a sustained performance level of 10 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second) on the Sequoia supercomputer at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL.)

A team led by Argonne National Laboratory used the recently developed Hardware/Hybrid Accelerated Cosmology Codes (HACC) framework to achieve nearly 14

SFI Seminar: 'Information Theoretic Tools for Social Media'

on December 8, 2012 - 10:01am

SFI News:

Greg Ver Steeg will present a talk on "Information Theoretic Tools for Social Media" at the Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road in Santa Fe.

Monday, Dec. 10 • 12:15 p.m. • Medium Conference Room

Greg Ver Steeg
University of Southern California

Abstract: Information theory provides a powerful set of tools for discovering relationships among variables with minimal assumptions. Social media platforms provide a rich source of information than can include temporal, spatial, textual and network information.

What are the interesting information theoretic measures for social

NNSA Conducts Pollux Subcritical Experiment at Nevada National Security Site

on December 8, 2012 - 9:43am


NNSA News:

LAS VEGAS – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced Friday that Pollux, a subcritical experiment, was successfully conducted Thursday at its Nevada National Security Site (NNSS.)

NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. Courtesy/NNSA

The experiment, conducted by staff from NNSS, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, gathered scientific data that will provide crucial information to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons.

“Challenging subcritical experiments maintain our capabilities to

New Microscopy Technique Gets Close Enough to See Lengths of Atomic Bonds

on December 8, 2012 - 7:36am

For the first time, scientists have used an imaging technique that’s so precise that it’s possible to see the different lengths of individual atomic bonds. Using a method called non-contact atomic force microscopy, IBM researchers scanned a microscopic probe with a tip only an atom wide over a nanographene molecule and measured the forces between the probe and the sample. In this colored image, the bonds with more electrons—which are also shorter—are a brighter green. Courtesy/IBM Research-Zurich

LANL Names Weapons Program Associate Directors

on December 7, 2012 - 10:58am

LANL News:

Bob Webster has been named Associate Director for Weapon Physics and John Benner has been named Associate Director for Weapon Engineering and Experiments at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Both have been in their positions at LANL as acting associate directors since March 2012.

As Associate Director for Weapon Physics, Webster has responsibility for weapon design and computational physics along with programmatic responsibility for the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program and Science Campaigns.

The Directorate consists of Computational Physics and Theoretical Design