Friday, July 23, 2010
ORNL in the News

Promethium: Uranium Stole Its Fire

(Slate) By the mid-1940s, just one box remained open among the natural elements on the periodic table, Element 61. But after all the strife over earlier claims, the announcement of this one's discovery, in 1947, was strangely anticlimactic. Three scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory made the announcement at a scientific meeting that year—but revealed that they'd actually discovered it two years before and had sat on it....7/22

ORNL's Buchanan named 2010 American Chemical Society Fellow

(Scientific Computing) Michelle Buchanan, Associate Laboratory Director in Physical Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been elected to the 2010 class of fellows of the American Chemical Society. The ACS Fellows Program recognizes members for their contributions to the chemical sciences and outstanding service to ACS. Buchanan and the other 2010 fellows will be honored at a special ceremony during the ACS National Meeting in Boston on August 23...7/23


Secretary Chu Announces Six Projects to Convert Captured CO2 Emissions from Industrial Sources into Useful Products

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selections of six projects that aim to find ways of converting captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources into useful products such as fuel, plastics, cement, and fertilizers....7/22

California Team to Receive up to $122 Million for Energy Innovation Hub to Develop Method to Produce Fuels from Sunlight

(DOE Press Release) As part of a broad effort to achieve breakthrough innovations in energy production, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman today announced an award of up to $122 million over five years to a multidisciplinary team of top scientists to establish an Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight....7/22


Key ships evacuate as storm approaches Gulf of Mexico

(Washington Post) Crews had planned to reinforce the last few feet of the relief tunnel that will be used to pump mud into the gusher, before launching the final effort to kill the well, until plans were put on hold....7/23 [Registration Required]

Pentagon Faces Intensifying Pressures to Trim Budget

(New York Times) After nearly a decade of increases in spending, the Pentagon is facing the first serious debate since the terrorist attacks of 2001 about the size and cost of the armed services....7/23

State & Regional

Next Tennessee governor will face schools in crisis

(WBIR-TV) A higher education system struggling to cope with budget cuts. A $500 million school reform effort the rest of the nation is watching. A prekindergarten program in routine danger of ending. Tennessee's next governor will inherit those critical education issues, which will affect families for years....7/23



energy & science policy

Harry Reid: Senate will abandon cap-and-trade energy reform

(Christian Science Monitor) Senate majority leader Harry Reid said Thursday that Democrats faced too much Republican opposition to pass a comprehensive cap-and-trade energy reform bill. The Senate will pursue a scaled down version....7/23

science & technology

Hyperfast Star Kicked Out of Milky Way

(Wired) New Hubble observations suggest a dramatic origin story for one of the fastest stars ever detected, involving a tragic encounter with a black hole, a lost companion and swift exile from the galaxy. The star, HE 0437-5439, is one of just 16 so-called hypervelocity stars, all of which were thought to come from the center of the Milky Way....7/23

"Fresh" Crater Found in Egypt; Changes Impact Risk?

(National Geographic) A small impact crater discovered in the Egyptian desert could change estimates for impact hazards to our planet, according to a new study. One of the best preserved craters yet found on Earth, the Kamil crater was initially discovered in February during a survey of satellite images on Google Earth. Researchers think the crater formed within the past couple thousand years....7/22

Stars reveal carbon 'spaceballs'

(BBC News) Scientists have detected the largest molecules ever seen in space, in a cloud of cosmic dust surrounding a distant star. The football-shaped carbon molecules are known as buckyballs, and were only discovered on Earth 25 years ago when they were made in a laboratory....7/22

Step By Step, Caterpillars Go Gut First

(NPR) The question isn't why did the caterpillar cross the road but how? Researchers have discovered that at least one species of caterpillar precedes each step with a thrust of its gut. The finding points to an entirely new mode of animal locomotion and could lead researchers to develop new robotic tools for exploration and medicine....7/23

Other Stories

A man's gotta have a hobby: Energy Secretary Steven Chu publishes scientific research in his spare time

(Washington Post) Steven Chu, who just managed to publish yet another scientific paper while holding down his day job as U.S. secretary of energy, insists that his ongoing physics work isn't a side gig so much as it is fun....7/23 [Registration Required]