Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers are investigating the complex relationships between the spread of the HIV virus in a population (epidemiology) and the actual, rapid evolution of the virus (phylogenetics) within each patient’s body.
The team models the uninfected population using traditional differential equations on the computer; this is done for computational speed, because an agent-based component is much more demanding. The team has developed novel ways of estimating epidemics dynamics such as who infected whom, and the true population incidence of infection versus mere diagnoses dates.
About the photo: Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocytes. The image has been colored to highlight important features. Photo credit: C. Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) was awarded the 2013 Non-Conventional Threat (NCT): CBRNe Capability Award. This award is one of several given annually by IB Consultancy (IBC), a company that provides defence and security services and organizes related events worldwide to connect businesses, governments, NGOs and subject matter experts. The CBRNe Capability Award is given to a country or organization for improving its conventional, biological, radiological and nuclear explosives (CBRNe) capability, or for initiating or executing a capability development program that impacts another country or organization.
Some of the criteria for the award include proven end-user benefit; lasting impact on the CBRNe capability of a country, region or group of countries; and proven efficiency with regards to cost and avoiding duplication with other forms of assistance and/or development. Also nominated for the award were programs from the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). SLD’s capacity-building work in the area of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security was selected as the winner for the award in September 2013.
NNSA’s SLD program works to strengthen the capabilities of partner countries to combat the illicit trafficking of special nuclear and other radiological materials at international border crossings and checkpoints. SLD accomplishes its mission by providing partner countries with radiation detection equipment, communications systems and training that will enable them to respond effectively to radiation alarms. The program also provides partners with support to further develop their capability to operate and maintain these detections systems over the long-term. To date, SLD has equipped 500 sites in more than 50 countries with radiation detection equipment.
About the photo: The CBRNe Capability Award is presented to Elly Melamed (middle) and Dick Pappas (right) of the Office of the Second Line of Defense. The award was accepted on behalf of SLD by Guy Roberts (left).
Four of Popular Science’s 100 best innovations from 2013 are from NNSA national laboratories. Los Alamos National Laboratory’s MiniMAX was recognized in the Security category as the world’s smallest, most portable X-ray machine. Sandia National Laboratories was recognized in the Engineering category for its fiber-optic network, the world’s largest high-speed LAN, and in the Security category for its non-detonable fertilizer formula. Ammonium nitrate fertilizer was used in most of the IEDs found in Afghanistan. A Sandia engineer developed a fertilizer that uses iron sulfite in the mixture, suppressing detonation. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was recognized for creating the first-ever retinal prosthesis, or bionic eye.
A group of Pantex engineers spent their Saturday putting on an annual engineering workshop, known as S’More Engineering, for Amarillo-area Girl Scouts.
The engineers helped the Girl Scouts with several projects that demonstrated fundamental engineering concepts. One challenge was an egg drop, in which the girls built structures that would allow an egg to survive a one-story drop. Another activity, called Angry Birds, involved building catapults and other launching devices that re-created the popular mobile game app.