Andy Christianson Andy Christianson finds cozy spot in neutron scattering field

Whether climbing mountains in Peru or using the neutron scattering beam line at HFIR, Andy Christianson sees both as an “expression of wanderlust.” Perhaps its Christianson’s attitude toward science that led him down a path of exploration, which led to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Young Scientist Prize (Structure and Dynamics of Condensed Matter).

At 38, Christianson’s main interest lies in understanding fundamental physical properties of materials. Assuming scientists can understand a material, they can start thinking about creating materials with new and potentially more useful properties.

Full Story


Drilling-for-microbes-in-Alaskan-permafrost.Assessing the organisms that could trigger abrupt climate change

As temperature in the Arctic increases faster than in many other regions of the world, permafrost is poised to become a major source of greenhouse gases. Researchers from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and DOE’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) have joined forces to identify the microbes and microbial communities that live in the permafrost and learn how they respond to a warming environment.

Full Story

See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 351  |
  • November 28, 2011
  • Building block detectors for plants

    The Phytotron is a laboratory built to study plants. Plants face all kinds of stress. Bugs chew on them, they get fungal infections, and they can get too hot or cold. So how do plants respond? Researchers at DOE's Jefferson Lab are developing tools to help biologists find out.

    Members of Jefferson Lab's Radiation Detector and Imaging group are developing new imaging tools to help researchers at Duke University's Phytotron find out how plants respond to stress. The Phytotron is a laboratory built to study plants. It has so-called Environmental Growth Chambers that allow researchers to control nearly every aspect of a plant's environment, from the nutrients it gets in the soil to the relative humidity and pollutants in the air. Fine-tuning individual aspects of a plant's surroundings can help researchers identify those aspects that can help or harm plants.

    Full Story

  • Representing the ants among the giants

    New research from PNNL helps understand methods to capture information about increased cloud brightness in climate models. [Image: Andrew Rakowski]

    To describe the effects of tiny aerosols in global climate change, scientists use parameterizations, a technique that lets them represent the particles that can act as seeds for clouds. The question is: which parameterizations should be used in which situations to best represent aerosols and cloud formation? To answer that question, Dr. Steven Ghan at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and his international team evaluated popular parameterizations. They found that the simpler parameterizations worked well under most conditions, but the more complex schemes worked well under a wider variety of conditions.

    Full Story

  • ‘Green’ chemistry treats contamination before it reaches the groundwater

    The technology, which EOS Remediation markets under the name Vadose Organic Substrate (VOS™), is based on sustainable “green” chemistry. A technology that uses “green” chemistry to help microbes break down contaminants in soil before they reach the groundwater has earned kudos from the editors of Environmental Protection website as 2011 Soil & Groundwater New Product of the Year.

    The technology, which was invented by DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory, and licensed and manufactured by EOS Remediation, LLC, a subsidiary of Solutions-IES, Inc., treats chlorinated solvent contamination in the vadose zone, the area of unsaturated soils between the ground surface and the water table below.  Contamination in this zone can be a continuing source of groundwater contamination. 

    Full Story

  • Sandia’s Annular Core Research Reactor conducts 10,000th operation

    A group of spectators gathers at the ACRR for its 10,000th operation. The shot was videostreamed live to a nearby auditorium to accommodate more than 150 onlookers. The ACRR has been in operation for more than 32 years at Sandia. (Photo by Randy Montoya) With a muffled “pop,” a flash of blue light and a few ripples through 14,000 gallons of deionized water,  the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories recently conducted its 10,000th operation.

    “The ACRR has been a real workhorse for Sandia, and labs leadership and the nation rely on these experiments and other weapons component testing done at Sandia to support certification of the nuclear weapon stockpile,” said Lonnie Martin, an ACRR operator. 

    Full Story

  • Cooking up new recipes for permanent magnets

    Ames Laboratory scientists will lead research to develop high-strength permanent magnets using the rare-earth element cerium. Cerium is four times more abundant than neodymium, which is the critical element used in today’s permanent magnets. Ames Lab is also working to develop rare-earth free magnets based on manganese. The Ames Laboratory was selected for funding for two cutting-edge research projects by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program.

    The first of the two projects is for research to develop a new class of high-energy permanent magnets using the rare-earth element cerium. Cerium is four times more abundant than the rare-earth element neodymium, which is critical for today’s permanent magnets.  

    Full Story