Thursday, December 19, 2013
ORNL in the News

Supercomputers help researchers identify key molecular switch that controls cell behavior

(PhysOrg) Supported by National Institutes of Health grants, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee, and the UT–ORNL Joint Institute for Computational Sciences discovered a molecular "switch" in a receptor that controls cell behavior using detailed molecular dynamics simulations on a computer called Anton built by D. E. Shaw Research in New York City...12/17

Terry Payne, an ORNL program manager, named Anderson County Chamber chair

(Oak Ridge Today) Terry Payne, a program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named board chairman for the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in 2014. Payne is a research and development, or R&D, program manager at ORNL, where he has been employed for the past 30 years, a press release said. He has managed R&D Programs in the areas of energy management, isotope separation, and environmental management...12/18

Alvin Weinberg's life was one of drama

(Oak Ridger) Alvin Weinberg experienced plenty of drama in his 91 years of life in Chicago, Oak Ridge and Washington, D.C... He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and he received two prestigious awards from the Atomic Energy Commission — the E.O. Lawrence Memorial Award and the Enrico Fermi Prize. He worked with Nobel Prize-winning scientists in the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb that ended the world's greatest war — the leading news story of the 20th century...12/17

Fine-Tuned Silica Rods Can Lead to Anti-Reflective Solar Panels

(The Daily Fusion) Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a method to fine-tune the diameter of silica rods by controlling their temperature as they grow. This opens the way for advances in anti-reflective solar panels, computer monitors, TV screens, eye glasses and more...12/18


Energy Department Invests Over $7 Million to Commercialize Cost-Effective Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies

( As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced more than $7 million for projects that will help bring cost-effective, advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies online faster...12/17

Alexander wants decisionmaker at Office of Science helm

(Knoxville News Sentinel) U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander had Oak Ridge on his mind Tuesday when Dr. Marc Kastner, President Obama’s nominee for director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, of course, gets most of its funding and direction from the Office of Science...12/18

DOE reportedly poised to give 3 more months of funding for American Centrifuge research program

(Knoxville News sentinel) USEC Inc. said it was informed today the U.S. Department of Energy intends to provide, subject to congressional appropriations, three more months of funding for the American Centrifuge research, development and demonstration program. DOE’s funding for the research program is due to expire Jan. 15...12/18


Senate passes bipartisan budget agreement

(Washington Post) Congress declared a holiday truce in the budget wars Wednesday, sending President Obama a blueprint for funding the government through 2015. But the next skirmish was already on the horizon: an election-year fight over the national debt...12/18

State & Regional

Tennessee may face spending cuts

(Times Free-Press) Final state revenue projections approved Tuesday for the remainder of this fiscal year as well as the upcoming 2014-2015 budget will bring pressure on Gov. Haslam to make spending cuts, officials said...12/19

Smyrna-made Nissan Leaf sales soar

(Tennessean) Perhaps all took was a change of scenery for the Nissan Leaf to get its sales going. Since production of Nissan’s battery-powered car was transferred to Smyrna from Japan in January, sales have climbed month by month, ending November with a record 2,003 deliveries for the month, up 30.1 percent from the same month a year ago...12/19

energy & science policy

U.S. Budget Deal Reaches Finish Line

(Science Magazine) ...Research advocates greeted the news with cautious optimism. “While full repeal of sequestration is our ultimate goal, today’s action by Congress represents a positive step toward restoring funding for lifesaving biomedical research supported by the National Institutes of Health...12/18

Conservation: The Endangered Species Act at 40

(Nature) On the anniversary of a landmark piece of US legislation, four experts weigh in on what has worked and what needs to change...12/18

A Struggle to Balance Wind Energy With Wildlife

(NY Times) As the Obama administration seeks to clear a path for more renewable energy projects, it has increasingly found itself caught between two staunch allies: the wind energy industry and environmental organizations...12/16

science & technology

Computers Can Be Hacked Using High-Frequency Sound

(Scientific American) Using the microphones and speakers that come standard in many of today's laptop computers and mobile devices, hackers can secretly transmit and receive data using high-frequency audio signals that are mostly inaudible to human ears, a new study shows...12/18

Potential benefits of pinewood char as synthetic fuel source

(PhysOrg) Researchers at Purdue University have successfully tested the conversion of large particles of pinewood char in a gasification process, a step necessary for the mass production of synthetic liquid fuel from recalcitrant biomass...12/19

Hack the Planet? Geoengineering Research, Ethics, Governance Explored

(Science Daily) Hacking Earth's climate to counteract global warming -- a subject that elicits strong reactions from both sides -- is the topic of a December special issue of the journal Climatic Change. A dozen research papers include the most detailed description yet of the proposed Oxford Principles to govern geoengineering research, as well as surveys on the technical hurdles, ethics and regulatory issues related to deliberately manipulating the planet's climate...12/17

November Was the Warmest November Since We Started Keeping Track

(The Atlantic) If you live in the eastern half of the United States, last month probably seemed like a normal November for you, perhaps even a bit chilly. But, historically, the month was anything but...12/17

Ag Research System Nets $1 Billion

(Science Magazine) The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) announced today that it has reached the billion-dollar mark. The global network of research centers, which many have long seen as underfunded, has now doubled its budget in 5 years...12/17

Other Stories

Putin Says NSA Surveillance Necessary to Fight Terrorism

(AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that surveillance conducted by the United States is needed to fight terrorism, but that the government should “limit the appetite” of the National Security Agency...12/19