Carol Giometti (right)
| Number 158
| May 17, 2004
From top quarks to the blues
This microphotograph of the grooves in a 78 r.p.m. shellac phonograph record was taken with an electronic camera. The audio data is encoded in the side-to-side modulation of the groove trajectory.
The 1995 discovery of the top quark and singer Marian Anderson's 1947 rendition of Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen may seem unrelated. But through an interagency agreement with the Library of Congress, the same technology used to study subatomic particles is helping to restore and preserve the sounds of yesteryear. “We developed a way to image the grooves in a recording that is similar to measuring tracks in a particle detector,” says Carl Haber, a senior scientist in DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Physics Division who developed the technology along with fellow Physics Division scientist Vitaliy Fadeyev. Their work could ultimately enable the Library of Congress to digitize the thousands of blues, classical, Dixie , jazz, and spoken word recordings in its archives. The mass digitization of these aging discs and cylinders will both preserve the nation's musical history and make it accessible to a wide audience.
[Dan Krotz 510/486-4019,
INEEL helps Air Force lasso the wind
DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory is helping install, test and integrate two new 900-kilowatt wind turbines into the power grid at a U.S. Air Force base that tracks NASA's down-range space launches from Ascension Island . These turbines, which supplement four existing small wind turbines, increase the renewable energy electric capacity to 2.7 megawatts, and further reduce air emissions and dependence on diesel generators. The turbines will save an additional 650,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and will help power the island's desalination plant, providing 25 million gallons of fresh drinking water each year with “green” wind energy.
[Reuel Smith, 208/526-3733,
PNNL on fast track for hydrogen fuel reformer
Researchers at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have demonstrated a compact steam reformer which can produce large amounts of hydrogen-rich gas from a liquid fuel in only 12 seconds. The development is an important step in bringing fuel cell-powered cars to the mass market. Instead of building a new infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations, researchers are looking at converting gasoline onboard the vehicle. One approach uses steam reforming, in which hydrocarbon fuel reacts with steam at high temperatures over a catalyst. Until now, this method has required drivers to wait about 15 minutes before they can leave the driveway or parking lot. This delay is unacceptable to drivers. But PNNL engineers have called upon their expertise in microtechnology to develop a fuel reformer technology that appears to have overcome a major stumbling block for onboard reformation: the need for speed.
[Susan Bauer, 509/375-3688,
CDF moves to the front with top quark data
The CDF collaboration at DOE's Fermilab has submitted the first paper on top quark physics from data collected during Run II of the Tevatron. The measurement, of two leptons with large transverse momenta signaling the decay of the two W bosons produced in the decay of top and anti-top quark pairs, establishes a foundation for detailed comparisons of the properties of these events to the Standard Model as Run II continues. Scientists believe the unusually large mass of the top quark causes it to play a special role in our universe, and top dilepton events are particularly interesting to study with the higher statistics of Run II.
[Mike Perricone, 630/840-5678;
Making connections with magnetic field reconnection
Scientists at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory have proposed a new theory to explain the movement of vast energy fields in giant radio galaxies. They theorize that magnetic field reconnection may be responsible for the acceleration of relativistic electrons within large intergalactic volumes. The theory could be the basis for a whole new understanding of the ways in which cosmic rays—and their signature radio waves—propagate and travel through intergalactic space. A deeper understanding of the magnetic field reconnection mechanism could also have important applications here on Earth, such as the creation of a magnetic confinement system for fusion energy reactors.
[Todd A. Hanson, 505/665-2085;
‘Abundant expression' boosts
Argonne biologist Carol Giometti describes a 2-dimensional electrophoresis protein separation experiment to Danielle Bennett, a visiting high school student. Giometti also works with university students in their research.
When Leslie Woo needed to learn a new technique to complete her research for her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago, her advisor knew where to go—DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.
Karen Frank, assistant professor of pathology and Woo’s dissertation advisor, called Carol Giometti, biologist at Argonne who is expert in two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, a technique that provides measurements on hundreds of proteins—“abundant protein expression,” in scientific parlance.
The technique, also called 2DE, is technically challenging and expensive to accomplish, and the tools needed are not often found on university campuses. But Argonne was one of the pioneers in the technique, which was developed nearly 30 years ago at the University of Colorado, and optimized at Argonne by Norman and Leigh Anderson, a father-and-son team of biologists who worked at Argonne in the 1970s and 1980s. Giometti was a post-doctoral researcher in the Andersons’ research lab, and has remained at Argonne doing protein research using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis since then.
The technique is a method of separating substances and analyzing molecular structure based on the rate of their movement in a colloidal suspension under the influence of an electric field. The analysis is detailed by the “expression” of the protein—how it manifests itself or its effects within an organism.
Two processes together—the University of Chicago’s new mass spectroscopy facility and Argonne’s electrophoresis—can be combined to produce large amounts of information on a range of proteins, helping with “protein mapping”—determining how all the complex organic compounds in any living creature link together to provide the structure and functioning of all cells.
The combined research is expected to lead to the biological discoveries necessary to fundamentally alter the future of medical care and human health.
Submitted by DOE's
Argonne National Laboratory