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  • richardmitnick 4:00 pm on August 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A New Leaf: Scientists Turn Carbon Dioxide Back Into Fuel, , US DOE   

    From ANL via DOE: “A New Leaf: Scientists Turn Carbon Dioxide Back Into Fuel” 

    ANL Lab

    News from Argonne National Laboratory

    DOE Office of Science

    August 18, 2016 [Just now from DOE in social media.]
    Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory

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    Plants capture CO2 and convert it into sugars that store energy. | Public Domain photo.

    Can we turn carbon dioxide into fuel, rather than a pollutant?

    A group of researchers asked that question and found a way to say yes.

    In a new study [Science] from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers were able to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source using sunlight. Their process is similar to how trees and other plants slowly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting it to sugars that store energy.

    One of the chief challenges of sequestering carbon dioxide is that it is relatively chemically unreactive. “On its own, it is quite difficult to convert carbon dioxide into something else,” said Argonne chemist Larry Curtiss, an author of the study.

    To make carbon dioxide into something that could be a usable fuel, Curtiss and his colleagues needed to find a catalyst — a particular compound that could make carbon dioxide react more readily. When converting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into a sugar, plants use an organic catalyst called an enzyme; the researchers used a metal compound called tungsten diselenide, which they fashioned into nanosized flakes to maximize the surface area and to expose its reactive edges.

    While plants use their catalysts to make sugar, the Argonne researchers used theirs to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas, it is much more reactive than carbon dioxide and scientists already have ways of converting carbon monoxide into usable fuel, such as methanol. “Making fuel from carbon monoxide means travelling ‘downhill’ energetically, while trying to create it directly from carbon dioxide means needing to go ‘uphill,'” said Argonne physicist Peter Zapol, another author of the study.

    Although the reaction to transform carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide is different from anything found in nature, it requires the same basic inputs as photosynthesis. “In photosynthesis, trees need energy from light, water and carbon dioxide in order to make their fuel; in our experiment, the ingredients are the same, but the product is different,” said Curtiss.

    The setup for the reaction is sufficiently similar to nature that the research team was able to construct an “artificial leaf” that could complete the entire three-step reaction pathway. In the first step, incoming photons — packets of light — are converted to pairs of negatively-charged electrons and corresponding positively charged “holes” that then separate from each other. In the second step, the holes react with water molecules, creating protons and oxygen molecules. Finally, the protons, electrons and carbon dioxide all react together to create carbon monoxide and water.

    “We burn so many different kinds of hydrocarbons — like coal, oil or gasoline — that finding an economical way to make chemical fuels more reusable with the help of sunlight might have a big impact,” Zapol said.

    Towards this goal, the study also showed that the reaction occurs with minimal lost energy — the reaction is very efficient. “The less efficient a reaction is, the higher the energy cost to recycle carbon dioxide, so having an efficient reaction is crucial,” Zapol said.

    According to Curtiss, the tungsten diselenide catalyst is also quite durable, lasting for more than 100 hours — a high bar for catalysts to meet.

    See the full article here .

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    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more visit http://www.anl.gov.

    The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. To learn more about the Office of Science X-ray user facilities, visit http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/basic-energy-sciences/.

    Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science

    Argonne Lab Campus

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  • richardmitnick 3:33 pm on August 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Energy Department to invest $16 million in computer design of materials, , , US DOE   

    From ORNL: “Energy Department to invest $16 million in computer design of materials” 

    i1

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    August 16, 2016
    Dawn Levy, Communications
    levyd@ornl.gov
    865.576.6448

    1
    Paul Kent of Oak Ridge National Laboratory directs the Center for Predictive Simulation of Functional Materials. No image credit.

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it will invest $16 million over the next four years to accelerate the design of new materials through use of supercomputers.

    Two four-year projects—one team led by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the other team led by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)—will take advantage of superfast computers at DOE national laboratories by developing software to design fundamentally new functional materials destined to revolutionize applications in alternative and renewable energy, electronics, and a wide range of other fields. The research teams include experts from universities and other national labs.

    The new grants—part of DOE’s Computational Materials Sciences (CMS) program begun in 2015 as part of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative—reflect the enormous recent growth in computing power and the increasing capability of high-performance computers to model and simulate the behavior of matter at the atomic and molecular scales.

    The teams are expected to develop sophisticated and user-friendly open-source software that captures the essential physics of relevant systems and can be used by the broader research community and by industry to accelerate the design of new functional materials.

    “Given the importance of materials to virtually all technologies, computational materials science is a critical area in which the United States needs to be competitive in the twenty-first century and beyond through global leadership in innovation,” said Cherry Murray, director of DOE’s Office of Science, which is funding the research. “These projects will both harness DOE existing high-performance computing capabilities and help pave the way toward ever-more sophisticated software for future generations of machines.”

    “ORNL researchers will partner with scientists from national labs and universities to develop software to accurately predict the properties of quantum materials with novel magnetism, optical properties and exotic quantum phases that make them well-suited to energy applications,” said Paul Kent of ORNL, director of the Center for Predictive Simulation of Functional Materials, which includes partners from Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories and North Carolina State University and the University of California–Berkeley. “Our simulations will rely on current petascale and future exascale capabilities at DOE supercomputing centers. To validate the predictions about material behavior, we’ll conduct experiments and use the facilities of the Advanced Photon Source [ANL/APS], Spallation Neutron Source and the Nanoscale Science Research Centers.”

    ANL APS
    ANL/APS

    ORNL Spallation Neutron Source
    ORNL Spallation Neutron Source

    Said the center’s thrust leader for prediction and validation, Olle Heinonen, “At Argonne, our expertise in combining state-of-the-art, oxide molecular beam epitaxy growth of new materials with characterization at the Advanced Photon Source and the Center for Nanoscale Materials will enable us to offer new and precise insight into the complex properties important to materials design. We are excited to bring our particular capabilities in materials, as well as expertise in software, to the center so that the labs can comprehensively tackle this challenge.”

    Researchers are expected to make use of the 30-petaflop/s Cori supercomputer now being installed at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab, the 27-petaflop/s Titan computer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) and the 10-petaflop/s Mira computer at Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF).

    NERSC CRAY Cori supercomputer
    NERSC CRAY Cori supercomputer

    ORNL Cray Titan Supercomputer
    ORNL Cray Titan Supercomputer

    MIRA IBM Blue Gene Q supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility
    MIRA IBM Blue Gene Q supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

    OLCF, ALCF and NERSC are all DOE Office of Science User Facilities. One petaflop/s is1015 or a million times a billion floating-point operations per second.

    In addition, a new generation of machines is scheduled for deployment between 2016 and 2019 that will take peak performance as high as 200 petaflops. Ultimately the software produced by these projects is expected to evolve to run on exascale machines, capable of 1,000 petaflops and projected for deployment in the mid-2020s.

    LLNL IBM Sierra supercomputer
    LLNL IBM Sierra supercomputer

    ORNL IBM Summit supercomputer depiction
    ORNL IBM Summit supercomputer

    ANL Cray Aurora supercomputer
    ANL Cray Aurora supercomputer

    Research will combine theory and software development with experimental validation, drawing on the resources of multiple DOE Office of Science User Facilities, including the Advanced Light Source [ALS] at LBNL, the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), the Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL, and several of the five Nanoscience Research Centers across the DOE National Laboratory complex.

    LBL ALS interior
    LBL/ALS

    The new research projects will begin in Fiscal Year 2016. They expand the ongoing CMS research effort, which began in FY 2015 with three initial projects, led respectively by ANL, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Southern California.

    See the full article here .

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    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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  • richardmitnick 11:20 am on May 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , US DOE   

    From DOE: “These Tiny Capsules Fight Climate Change” 

    DOE Main

    Department of Energy

    May 17, 2016
    Anne M. Stark
    Senior Public Information Officer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


    Watch to see how scientists make carbon capture microcapsules, which absorb CO2 before it enters the atmosphere. | Video by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
    Access mp4 video here .

    These capsules are tiny, but they promise to have a big impact in the fight against climate change.

    Using the same baking soda found in most grocery stores, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, along with colleagues from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have created a significant advance in carbon dioxide capture.

    The team developed a new way to capture carbon by encapsulating a sodium carbonate solution in a shell made of a material similar to that of a silicone spatula. The capsules keep the liquid contained inside the core, and allow the CO2 gas to pass into the shell. The CO2 then reacts with the sodium bicarbonate (the main ingredient in baking soda,) where it is trapped before it can enter the atmosphere.

    1
    To date, microcapsules have been used for controlled delivery and release in pharmaceuticals, food flavoring, cosmetics, agriculture and more, but this is the first demonstration of using this approach for carbon capture.

    This technology has a number of benefits over current methods. The sodium bicarbonate solution is more environmentally friendly than the caustic solutions used today. It can be mined domestically rather than being made in a complex chemical process. The microcapsules only react with the gas of interest (in this case CO2). And encapsulation dramatically increases absorption compared to traditional carbon capture techniques because the tiny beads mean more surface area for interacting with the CO2. Finally, baking soda can be reused forever, whereas current solutions break down in months or years.

    The technique is not meant to be a short-term solution to carbon capture, but a broad, sustainable approach. The new process can be designed to work with coal or natural gas-fired power plants, as well as in industrial processes like steel and cement production. After filling, the capsules are removed from the flue gas and heated to remove the now-pure carbon dioxide gas. At that point it can be reused, like for enhanced oil recovery, or compressed and stored underground.

    “We think the microcapsule technology provides a new way to make carbon capture efficient with fewer environmental issues,” said Roger Aines, part of the research team from Lawrence Livermore. “Capturing the world’s carbon emissions is a huge task. We need technology that can be applied to many kinds of carbon dioxide sources with the public’s full confidence in its safety and sustainability.”

    Editor’s Note: A version of this blog was originally published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [link does
    not take you to the article] , one of the Department of Energy’s 17 National Labs.

    The encapsulation process was developed as one of the Department of Energy’s inaugural Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) carbon capture projects. Livermore scientists are now working on with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) on a way to incorporate the microcapsules into existing power plants and industrial facilities.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:58 pm on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , US DOE,   

    From SLAC: “Major Upgrade Will Boost Power of World’s Brightest X-ray Laser” 


    SLAC Lab

    April 4, 2016

    Construction begins today on a major upgrade to a unique X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The project will add a second X-ray laser beam that’s 10,000 times brighter, on average, than the first one and fires 8,000 times faster, up to a million pulses per second.

    The project, known as LCLS-II, will greatly increase the power and capacity of SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) for experiments that sharpen our view of how nature works on the atomic level and on ultrafast timescales.

    SLAC/LCLS
    SLAC/LCLS

    “LCLS-II will take X-ray science to the next level, opening the door to a whole new range of studies of the ultrafast and ultrasmall,” said LCLS Director Mike Dunne.

    SLAC/LCLS II schematic
    SLAC/LCLS II schematic

    “This will tremendously advance our ability to develop transformative technologies of the future, including novel electronics, life-saving drugs and innovative energy solutions.”

    SLAC Director Chi-Chang Kao said, “Our lab has a long tradition of building and operating premier X-ray sources that help users from around the world pursue cutting-edge research in chemistry, materials science, biology and energy research. LCLS-II will keep the U.S. at the forefront of X-ray science.”


    Access mp4 video here .
    This movie introduces LCLS-II, a future light source at SLAC. It will generate over 8,000 times more light pulses per second than today’s most powerful X-ray laser, LCLS, and produce an almost continuous X-ray beam that on average will be 10,000 times brighter. These unrivaled capabilities will help researchers address a number of grand challenges in science by capturing detailed snapshots of rapid processes that are beyond the reach of other light sources. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    A Superior X-ray Microscope

    When LCLS opened six years ago as a DOE Office of Science User Facility, it was the first light source of its kind – a unique X-ray microscope that uses the brightest and fastest X-ray pulses ever made to provide unprecedented details of the atomic world.

    Hundreds of scientists use LCLS each year to catch a glimpse of nature’s fundamental processes in unprecedented detail. Molecular movies reveal how chemical bonds form and break; ultrafast snapshots capture electric charges as they rapidly rearrange in materials and change their properties; and sharp 3-D images of disease-related proteins provide atomic-level details that could hold the key for discovering potential cures.

    The new X-ray laser will work in parallel with the existing one, with each occupying one-third of SLAC’s 2-mile-long linear accelerator tunnel. Together they will allow researchers to make observations over a wider energy range, capture detailed snapshots of rapid processes, probe delicate samples that are beyond the reach of other light sources and gather more data in less time, thus greatly increasing the number of experiments that can be performed at this pioneering facility.

    “The upgrade will benefit X-ray experiments in many different ways, and I’m very excited to use the new capabilities for my own research,” said Brown University Professor Peter Weber, who co-led an LCLS study that used X-ray scattering to track ultrafast structural changes as ring-shaped gas molecules burst open in a chemical reaction vital to many processes in nature. “With LCLS-II, we’ll be able to bring the motions of atoms much more into focus, which will help us better understand the dynamics of crucial chemical reactions.”

    1
    The future LCLS-II X-ray laser (blue, at left) is shown alongside the existing LCLS (red, at right). LCLS uses the last third of SLAC’s 2-mile-long linear accelerator – a hollow copper structure that operates at room temperature and allows the generation of 120 X-ray pulses per second. For LCLS-II, the first third of the copper accelerator will be replaced with a superconducting one, capable of creating up to 1 million X-ray flashes per second. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    A Big Leap in X-ray Laser Performance

    3
    This photo shows the prototype of a novel electron source for LCLS-II. Located at the future X-ray laser’s front end, it will produce bunches of electrons for the generation of X-ray pulses that are only quadrillionths of a second long, at rates of up to a million bunches per second. (R. Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

    Like the existing facility, LCLS-II will use electrons accelerated to nearly the speed of light to generate beams of extremely bright X-ray laser light. The electrons fly through a series of magnets, called an undulator, that forces them to travel a zigzag path and give off energy in the form of X-rays.

    But the way those electrons are accelerated will be quite different, and give LCLS-II much different capabilities.

    At present, electrons are accelerated down a copper pipe that operates at room temperature and allows the generation of 120 X-ray laser pulses per second.

    For LCLS-II, crews will install a superconducting accelerator. It’s called “superconducting” because its niobium metal cavities conduct electricity with nearly zero loss when chilled to minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit. Accelerating electrons through a series of these cavities allows the generation of an almost continuous X-ray laser beam with pulses that are 10,000 times brighter, on average, than those of LCLS and arrive up to a million times per second.

    4
    Electron bunches will gain energy in niobium cavities like these. Cooled to extremely low temperature, these “superconducting” cavities allow radiofrequency fields to boost electron energies without electrical resistance – a crucial property for the acceleration of electrons at a rate of up to a million bunches per second. (R. Hahn/Fermilab)

    In addition to a new accelerator, LCLS-II requires a number of other cutting-edge components, including a new electron source, two powerful cryoplants that produce refrigerant for the niobium structures, and two new undulators to generate X-rays.

    4
    This image shows a segment of an undulator magnet that will turn powerful beams of electrons into extremely bright X-ray light. Two undulators for generating low- and high-energy X-rays at SLAC’s future X-ray laser facility will consist of 21 and 32 segments, respectively. (R. Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

    6
    Illustration of the electron accelerator of SLAC’s future rapid-fire LCLS-II X-ray laser. No image credit

    Strong Partnerships for a Bright Future in X-ray Science

    6
    For LCLS-II, SLAC has teamed up with four other national labs – Argonne, Berkeley Lab, Fermilab and Jefferson Lab – and Cornell University, with each partner making key contributions to the many aspects of project planning as well as component design, acquisition and construction. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    To make this major upgrade a reality, SLAC has teamed up with four other national labs – Argonne, Berkeley Lab, Fermilab and Jefferson Lab – and Cornell University, with each partner making key contributions to project planning as well as to component design, acquisition and construction.

    “We couldn’t do this without our collaborators,” said SLAC’s John Galayda, head of the LCLS-II project team. “To bring all the components together and succeed, we need the expertise of all partners, their key infrastructure and the commitment of their best people.”

    With favorable “Critical Decisions 2 and 3 (CD-2/3)” in March, DOE has formally approved construction of the $1 billion project, which is being funded by DOE’s Office of Science. SLAC is now clearing out the first third of the linac to make room for the superconducting accelerator, which is scheduled to begin operations in the early 2020s. In the meantime, LCLS will continue to serve the X-ray science community, except for a construction-related, six-month downtime in 2017 and a 12-month shutdown extending from 2018 into 2019.

    With the upgrades that are now moving forward, Dunne said, SLAC will have an X-ray laser facility that will enable groundbreaking research for years to come.

    See the full article here .

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    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 12:55 pm on March 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , US DOE   

    From energy.gov: “STEM Mentoring Café” 

    DOE Main

    Department of Energy

    The critical shortage of females in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers demands a concentrated effort to inspire girls to follow STEM futures. Enter the STEM Mentoring Café. This program is an interagency effort to engage middle school students in STEM and their teachers with federal STEM professionals, through speed mentoring sessions and a commitment to ongoing mentoring from federal employees. By presenting federal scientists that those who are underrepresented in STEM can relate to, we aim to spark increased confidence for students to pursue STEM. The STEM Mentoring Café is run in partnership with Department of Education, National Girls Collaborative Project, the Association of Science- Technology Centers (ASTC), a global organization supporting science centers and learning, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the agency that administers AmeriCorps.

    Only a quarter of the STEM workforce is female, even though females make up over half of workers overall. Girls overwhelmingly say they are interested in STEM at young ages, but as they progress past middle school it is all too common for girls to opt out of STEM classes, choose not to major in STEM, and decide not to pursue STEM careers. Putting role models who look like them and can share insights into why STEM matters is a critical turning point to showing girls that STEM careers are achievable. Middle school is commonly identified as a turning point where interest in STEM changes – focusing on reaching middle school students is a way to gain exposure at that critical age.

    STEM Icon

    WHAT HAPPENS AT A STEM MENTORING CAFE?

    At a STEM Mentoring Café, we recruit 5th through 8th grade students and their teachers to spend a few hours engaged in quick show-and-tell chats with federal employees in STEM careers and private sector STEM professionals, hosted at volunteer sites throughout the country.We are especially interested in reaching girls and female STEM professionals, to combat their underrepresentation in STEM. However, this program is available to all interested students and STEM professionals. The STEM professionals move table to table to share how they got their start in STEM, what interests them the most about their job, what exciting projects they have currently, and why STEM matters to our society. Teachers are given take-home material, prepared by the Department of Energy’s Education and Workforce Development team, to continue STEM learning in the classroom, and federal employees commit to serving an additional 20 hours annually as a mentor to students in their community.

    WHEN IS THE NEXT STEM MENTORING CAFE?

    March 5, 2016 Denver, Colorado at Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

    March 12, 2016 Albuquerque, New Mexico at National Museum of Nuclear Science and History from 10am – 2pm.

    The educators and professionals registration is now closed for this event. If you have any questions, please email STEMED@energy.gov

    April 2, 2016 Houston, Texas at Children’s Museum of Houston from 10am – 12pm.

    Educators Register Here. STEM Professionals Register Here.

    April 20, 2016 Oakland, California at Chabot Space and Science Center from 3 – 5pm.

    Educators Register Here. STEM Professionals Register Here.

    PAST EVENTS

    February 8, 2016, Washington, DC at the National Geographic Museum. Over 90 middle schools representing DC, Maryland and Virgina engaged with 20 STEM professionals. Read our blog post on the event.

    November 14, 2015, New York City, New York, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, 130 middle school students and STEM mentors engaged in one of our biggest Cafés to date. Read our blog post on the event.

    October 27, 2015, Anchorage, Alaska, at the Anchorage Museum. Over 100 middle school students, representing at minimum 18 different schools and afterschool programs, and more than 20 STEM professionals were in attendance. Fields of specialization had a distinctly Alaskan flavor. For more details read the blog post written by the museum.

    July 29, 2015, West Palm Beach, Florida, at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Read the blog post from the museum.

    June 13, 2015, Tampa, Florida at the Museum of Science and Industry. 40 middle school girls from Tampa Public Housing Authority met wtih mentors from NASA, Lowry Park Zoo, Verizon, and Tampa Electric Company. Read our blog post on the event.

    May 16, 2015, Chicago, Illinois at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Over 100 students and thirty STEM professionals from Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, Army Corps of Engineers, Navy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. See our Flickr album for photos.

    April 22, 2015, Richland, Washington at the REACH museum. At this event, 17 STEM professionals from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and industry professionals served as mentors for 100 middle school students from the Tri-Cities area. Dot Harris, Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, delivered keynote remarks. Watch our highlight video.

    On December 17, 2014, the second STEM Mentoring Café was held at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s Q?rius center in Washington, D.C. 70 middle school students, 18 teachers, and nearly 45 federal STEM professionals from 13 federal agencies particpated. Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall delivered keynote remarks. Read our blog post from the event.

    The first STEM Mentoring Café was held on May 19, 2014, at the Department of Education and co-hosted by the Department of Energy. Thirty female federal employees from seven agencies mentored eighteen teachers and nearly forty students in Washington, D.C. Read our blog post from the event.

    HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE STEM MENTORING CAFE?

    The Department of Energy and the Association of Science-Technology Centers have selected the locations for the 2015-2016 STEM Mentoring Cafe series. Additional requests to host an event or learn more may be sent to STEMED@energy.gov.

    View our guide on planning and hosting a Cafe event.

    MORE RESOURCES

    Are you interested in becoming a mentor or role model? Brush up on some role model training to develop more skills to engage underrepresented individuals in STEM. Check out our training series launched in August 2015 to help give you resources and best practices for engaging with youth.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:25 am on December 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , US DOE   

    From DOE: “How We Solve Climate Change” 

    DOE Main

    Department of Energy

    December 5, 2015

    1
    Dr. Ernest Moniz

    World leaders are gathering in Paris this week for the 21st United Nations climate conference, known as COP21. Our mission: Secure an ambitious global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and minimize climate change.

    As negotiators hammer out the details of an agreement, I will be meeting with energy ministers, mayors, executives and other leaders to champion the clean energy solutions that are vital to reducing carbon emissions worldwide. Read on to learn more about how we can beat climate change.

    It starts with innovation.

    The global momentum to tackle climate change has never been stronger. At the same time, the costs of today’s clean energy technologies have never been lower. That is no coincidence.

    The dramatic cost reduction shown in this graph is a direct result of technological innovations made possible by investments in research and development (R&D) 10, 20, even 30 years ago. This is significant progress, but it is not enough to meet our long-term climate goals. Put simply, we can’t beat climate change with only the technology we have today.

    I believe that clean energy innovation is the solution to climate change. It is the key to unlocking new technologies and low-cost clean energy breakthroughs we need to rapidly bend the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. As we have seen, innovation also drives the cost reduction necessary to transform global energy markets.

    But we don’t have the luxury of waiting for new technologies to emerge. We need to rapidly accelerate the pace of innovation to meet the challenge of limiting global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius.

    Investment is critical.

    That is why President Obama announced last week that the U.S. and 19 other nations are seeking to double our investment in clean energy R&D by 2020. This initiative, called Mission Innovation, seeks to ensure continued improvements in energy technology decades down the road. And it’s not just governments. Bill Gates and dozens of the world’s most prominent investors committed to do the same through a parallel initiative called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. These commitments — in the billions of dollars — are a major step to ensure we have continued breakthroughs and cost reduction in the future.

    Together, these two initiatives establish clean energy innovation as a foundation for environmental stewardship, prosperity, security and social responsibility. They also recognize the tremendous economic benefits that await investors in the transformative energy technologies of tomorrow. But even this unprecedented international effort by the public and private sectors is just one step on the long road ahead.

    What comes next?

    What comes after a deal in Paris is just as important as the deal itself. Not only will we need to make good on our commitments in Paris, we must work with international partners to accelerate the global transition to clean energy.

    To that end, next year, the United States will host the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in June. This group is dedicated to advancing clean energy around the world. This important meeting will serve as a key milestone in our work after Paris to help countries reach their climate goals. I will announce the host city and state on Tuesday, December 8.

    Additionally, we will be making announcements around several CEM initiatives including the Global Lighting Challenge. This high-impact effort will launch a race to reach cumulative global sales of 10 billion high-efficiency, high-quality and affordable lighting products (such as LEDs) as quickly as possible. Light bulbs may sound small, but they have a big impact; an overnight global transition to highly efficient LED lamps could avoid carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to displacing nearly 250 coal-fired power plants.

    Solving climate change is about more than physics and chemistry.

    Solving climate change is about the human spirit and our ability to tackle shared challenges together. It’s about ensuring energy security, expanding access to reliable and affordable energy, and spurring economic growth that creates jobs and protects the planet.

    For all of that, we need innovation. We need more of it, and we need it faster. The climate challenge is more than any one government can solve alone. It’s clear the world is ready to act on climate in Paris. Let’s make sure we’re committed to what lies beyond Paris.

    Let’s get to work.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:34 pm on October 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , US DOE   

    From LC Newsline: “KEK and the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed a Project Arrangement concerning high energy physics” 

    Linear Collider Collaboration header
    Linear Collider Collaboration

    15 October 2015
    No Writer Credit

    On October 6, 2015, KEK and the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed a Project Arrangement concerning high energy physics.

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    Dr. Siegrist (Associate Director, Office of High Energy physics, DOE) and Dr. Yamauchi (Director General of KEK) sign the agreement while H.E. Ms. Kennedy (Ambassador of U.S.A), H.E. Mr. Shimomura (then Minister of MEXT) look on.

    A signing ceremony was held at the American Ambassador’s Residence in the presence of H.E. Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of U.S.A and H.E. Mr. Hakubun Shimomura, then Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

    The history of the U.S. – Japan cooperation program in the field of high energy physics has lasted for more than 35 years, with distinguished research outcomes and many talented researchers fostered through the project.

    H.E. Ms. Kennedy and H.E. Mr. Shimomura expressed admiration for fruitful cooperation between the U. S. and Japan on science and technology, mentioning meaningfulness for continuing the U. S. – Japan cooperation program in the field of high energy physics for the future.

    With the conclusion of this Project Arrangement between KEK and DOE, further development of cooperation in research is expected among the U.S. and Japanese institutes in the field.

    See the full article here .

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    The Linear Collider Collaboration is an organisation that brings the two most likely candidates, the Compact Linear Collider Study (CLIC) and the International Liner Collider (ILC), together under one roof. Headed by former LHC Project Manager Lyn Evans, it strives to coordinate the research and development work that is being done for accelerators and detectors around the world and to take the project linear collider to the next step: a decision that it will be built, and where.

    Some 2000 scientists – particle physicists, accelerator physicists, engineers – are involved in the ILC or in CLIC, and often in both projects. They work on state-of-the-art detector technologies, new acceleration techniques, the civil engineering aspect of building a straight tunnel of at least 30 kilometres in length, a reliable cost estimate and many more aspects that projects of this scale require. The Linear Collider Collaboration ensures that synergies between the two friendly competitors are used to the maximum.

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  • richardmitnick 4:33 pm on October 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , US DOE   

    From Rutgers: “Rutgers, Brookhaven National Laboratory Get $12M for Advanced Materials Effort” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    October 12, 2015
    Carl Blesch

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    Advanced materials research could lead to more efficient batteries and other energy saving technologies.
    Photo: Shutterstock

    The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a four-year, $12 million grant to establish a new research center led by a Rutgers professor to accelerate the development of materials that improve energy efficiency and boost energy productio

    The center will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., and led by Gabriel Kotliar, Board of Governors Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, at Rutgers University. Kotliar also holds a part-time position at Brookhaven Lab.

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    Gabriel Kotliar

    “This is a huge new initiative by the Department of Energy,” said Robert Bartynski, chair of Rutgers’ Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Rutgers is among an elite group of universities and labs to contribute to this effort, and the department’s award formalizes a strong and growing collaboration between Rutgers and Brookhaven National Laboratory.”

    The team’s research will focus on developing advanced materials for high-temperature superconductors and other energy initiatives, including technologies that convert heat to electricity to increase energy resources and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

    “Developing tools to increase our understanding of these most interesting substances could result in the development of important new technologies, such as better thermoelectric materials for conversion of heat to electricity and more efficient batteries for cars and electronic devices,” said Kotliar.

    The new endeavor, called the Center for Computational Design of Functional Strongly Correlated Materials and Theoretical Spectroscopy, will develop software and databases that catalog the essential physics and chemistry of these materials to help other researchers and industrial scientists develop useful new materials more quickly. Brookhaven Lab will also use its experimental facilities to validate the researchers’ theoretical predictions.

    Another Rutgers physics professor, Kristjan Haule, will lead a Rutgers-based lab that supports the center’s research, including development of simulation tools to predict properties of materials, and a database of such simulations for useful materials such as thermoelectrics.

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    Kristjan Haule

    The center is one of three funded by the Department of Energy at several national laboratories and universities nationwide in support of the U. S. Government’s Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). MGI is a multi-agency effort to reduce the time from discovery to deployment of new advanced materials with the goal to revitalize American manufacturing. The department’s total funding for all three centers will be $32 million over four years.

    See the full article here .

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    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

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  • richardmitnick 4:30 pm on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , US DOE   

    Women@Energy: Jennifer Raaf 

    DOE Main

    Department of Energy

    August 19, 2015
    No Writer Credit

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    Jennifer Raaf is an associate scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). She attended Virginia Tech as an undergrad, and the University of Cincinnati for graduate studies, earning a master’s and a doctorate.

    Jennifer Raaf studies the properties of particles called neutrinos. Since neutrinos don’t interact very often with other matter, very large detectors and sources are needed that provide lots of neutrinos to give the best chance of capturing a neutrino interaction. “Even when we catch one,” Jennifer says, “we cannot directly detect the neutrino itself, but instead we see only the tracks from other types of particles that are produced in the interaction. By looking at the tracks that the outgoing particles leave in the detector, we can work backward to understand the properties of the neutrino.” As part of this, Jennifer gets to help build the specialized detectors used to study these interactions, which she calls both fun and challenging. “It is especially rewarding when I get to see and analyze data coming from a detector that I had a hand in building,” she says.

    1) What inspired you to work in STEM?

    I don’t think I ever didn’t consider a STEM degree. Throughout middle school and most of high school, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. In fact, that’s why I applied to Virginia Tech, since they have a great veterinary school. But then I realized that I get far too emotionally involved when animals are sick or hurt, and that as a veterinarian, I would have to see sick and hurt animals every day. So I turned my focus to something that would have less emotional stress: physics. There’s no distinct path between the two in my head; I just enjoy understanding (or trying to understand) how things work, and so physics was an obvious choice.

    2) What excites you about your work at the Department of Energy?

    The best part of my job is that it’s never the same from day to day. I never get bored. One day I might be taking apart an old detector to repurpose its parts, another day I might be programming and analyzing data, and another day I might be designing a new detector or discussing new ideas. And some days, I’m doing all of these things and more.

    I also love that I get to work together with colleagues from all over the world. Particle physics is truly a global effort, which also means that sometimes I get to travel to other places to work with those colleagues.

    3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?

    As a first step, we really need to start giving girls more STEM-related toys instead of pink pony princess things. Familiarity with basic scientific concepts, via nonthreatening games and toys, is an important part of getting people engaged from an early age. And it’s also important that women who are already in STEM fields make an effort to reach out to those who aren’t. Knowing how to get started is probably the hardest part, but it’s easy after that! There are groups to help you begin, such as the nonprofit Expanding Your Horizons Network that organizes one-day conferences across the nation for middle-school girls to meet and interact with women in STEM careers and to perform hands-on activities that teach science, engineering, math, etc., in a fun and friendly environment. I really can’t say enough good things about this organization and the others like it that target other underrepresented groups.

    4) Do you have tips you’d recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

    Be brave and do what you find fun and interesting! Particle physics is fun, and sometimes frustrating or challenging, but the skills you learn along the way can be useful in many other everyday situations. The most important skills that I have learned are to admit mistakes and to always be willing to try new things. Maybe your “crazy” new idea will work, maybe it won’t, but you can’t know if you don’t try.

    5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?

    I like gardening, cooking, and playing with cars (both fixing and driving). I also enjoy sailing, although I don’t have a boat. In the winter months, I knit things.

    See the full article here .

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    The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Lawrence Award, US DOE   

    From BNL: “Meet This Year’s Winners of the Lawrence Award 

    Brookhaven Lab

    Each year, the Department of Energy honors exceptional mid-career scientists whose accomplishments have only just begun. Scroll through the photo gallery to learn about this year’s winners of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, and read below to learn about its namesake.

    Ernest Orlando Lawrence was a titan in the history of American science and innovation. His cyclotron was to nuclear science what Galileo’s telescope was to astronomy. It was the first particle accelerator, and it earned him the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics.

    Lawrence was also a champion of interdisciplinary science. The Radiation Laboratory he developed at UC Berkeley during the 1930s ushered in the era of “big science,” in which experiments were no longer done by an individual researcher but by large, multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers. During World War II, Lawrence and his accelerators contributed to the Manhattan Project, and he later played a leading role in establishing the system of National Laboratories, two of which (Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore) now bear his name. That integrated approach is more important today than ever for solving complex problems like climate change.

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    See the full article here.

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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