The Aiken County Robotics Team “M’Aiken Magic” was recently revived after receiving $10,000 in donations from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions. The team comprises local middle school and high school students who work in groups to build robots capable of completing specified tasks. Competing in regional, state and world competitions, the students gain valuable experience as well as exposure to scientific and engineering concepts.
Last year, despite winning a world championship, the team lost almost half of its funding and multiple sponsors. SRNS President Dwayne Wilson explained that the donation, in addition to supporting local students, is an investment in the next generation of engineers, technicians and scientists.
The annual Laboratory Directed Research and Development program update was held this week in Washington, D.C. Experts from NNSA, Nevada National Security Site and Sandia, Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories attended and shared insights on successful projects and ongoing research. This year’s highlighted subject areas were Materials in Extremes, Big Data to Decisions, and Energy Use Impacts and Mitigation.
Keynote remarks were presented by:
Robert Meisner, Director, NNSA Laboratory Directed Research and Development/Site Directed Research and Development Programs
William Priedhorsky, LDRD Program Director at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Sheryl Martinez, LDRD Program Director at Sandia National Laboratories
William Craig, LDRD Program Director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
More photos on NNSA's Flickr.
The Director of National Intelligence recently recognized Department of Energy for its swift processing of security clearances. The Office of Personnel and Facility Clearances, part of NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Security, handles the majority of DOE’s Q clearances and frequently exceeds established national timeliness goals for initiating and adjudicating them. In 90% of cases, OPFC adjudicates and grants initial security clearances in an average of 10 days once the completed security questionnaire is received, cutting in half the national requirement of 20 days.
OPFC cites several factors that contribute to its successful and timely support to the NNSA and DOE mission, including: utilizing six sigma methods to improve processes, formalizing standard operating procedures with ISO 9001 in mind, and developing a clearly defined strategic mission, vision and operational plan.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Vulcan supercomputer is now available for collaborative work with industry and research universities. Operating at 5 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second), Vulcan raises the amount of computing at LLNL available for external collaborations by an order of magnitude.
Named the world’s sixth fastest high performance computing system by the Top500 list in November 2012, Vulcan will allow large systems to be simulated over longer time periods with greater fidelity and resolution. It addition, it will contribute to work being done by scientists, engineers and computer scientists to solve high-impact problems across a broad range of scientific, technological and business fields.
Ron McIntosh, the Sandia National Laboratories/New Mexico (SNL/NM) Classification Officer, was recently awarded the Department of Energy’s Classification Award of Excellence for 2013.
McIntosh joined the SNL/NM Classification Office in 2002 and quickly demonstrated his vast knowledge of nuclear weapons classification. His excellent management and leadership skills led to his appointment as the Classification Officer for SNL/NM. As a leader in the classification community, his innovative thinking brought numerous improvements to the classification process throughout NNSA and DOE. McIntosh is an excellent example of the high quality of personnel within NNSA and continues set the bar high, as NNSA classification officials have received the award eight of the last ten years.
Los Alamos National Laboratory has launched its first app for iPhones and iPads as part of the lab's yearlong celebration of 70 years serving the nation. The free application is available from the Apple Store (search for Los Alamos National Lab).
The app enables users to learn more about LANL's national security mission, cutting edge research, unique history, top-flight scientists and the many other people who work at the Lab.
Newly appointed Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (seated) visited the Y-12 National Security Complex this week. Before touring production and storage facilities at the site, Moniz held an All Hands meeting with Y-12, ORNL and Federal employees at Y-12's New Hope Center. Joining him at the meeting was U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (at right) tours the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility during his visit Monday to the Y-12 National Security Complex. Joining him are (from left) B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Chuck Spencer, Julie Huff of B&W Y-12's Materials Management Organization, B&W Y-12 Senior Vice President of Security Rod Johnson, and NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart. Moniz toured storage and production facilities at the site after holding an All Hands meeting with Y-12, ORNL and federal employees at Y-12's New Hope Center.
Pantex wildlife biologist Jim Ray will be teaming up with York University researcher Dr. Kevin Fraser from Toronto this weekend to help study the movements and behaviors of Purple Martins.
Ray, Fraser and several volunteers will be capturing the Martins, which are the largest member of the swallow family in North America, and affixing small geolocator tracking devices to help expand scientific knowledge about the birds. The geolocators were provided by the Department of Energy and Pantex in connection with a Presidential directive to help study and preserve migratory birds.
About the photos:
Pantex Wildlife Biologist Jim Ray prepares to release a Purple Martin after it was captured and fitted with a tiny geolocator tracking device this weekend. Ray teamed up with Dr. Kevin Fraser from York University in Toronto to study the Martins, which were captured in birdhouses Ray maintains at his home.
Ray said Purple Martins have been popular among bird watchers since early settlers found Native Americans creating living quarters for the birds in hollowed-out gourds. Providing birdhouses has been a popular pastime for birders ever since. However, the birds are in decline in some areas of the United States, which makes preserving them an important effort.
B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Chuck Spencer presented a check for $25,000 to City of Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan and Vice Mayor Jane Miller during a recent City Council meeting. Y-12 has been a premier sponsor of the Secret City Festival for the past eight years.
Nick Williams, a retired engineer and science presenter from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, not only has done a fine job of conveying the concept of time to 11-year-olds, he's being recognized for it. Williams took top honors in the written category of the Flame Challenge, a global science contest run by actor and science afficionado Alan Alda and by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.
The contest challenges scientists to explain complex scientific principles in simple terms so they could be clearly understood by a 5th grade student. In 2012 the question put to scientists was "What is a flame?" This year the question was "What is time?
About the photo:
From left: Steve Maguire, who won in the video category of the 2013 Flame Challenge, Alan Alda and Nick Williams, who won in the written category.