Darleane Hoffman at the American Chemical Society Meeting in 2014.Berkeley Lab’s Darleane Hoffman reflects on changes in women’s status in her 70 years in chemistry

Had it not been for an inspiring female chemistry professor in college 70 years ago, Darleane Hoffman may never have gone on to become a widely acclaimed nuclear chemist. Yet if she had followed in that professor’s footsteps, she may also never have gone on to get married and have two children and several grandchildren.

Such were the stark choices facing women in science in the middle of the last century. “At that time, women teachers in the U.S. at all levels were expected to resign if they married, so I proclaimed boldly that I would never teach,” she said. “I vowed to follow Marie Curie’s model, to marry if I wanted and have children if I chose.”

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Understanding lipid – additive interactions gives P&G opportunity to better design products and anticipate stability issues that may affect product performance / consumer satisfaction.Supercomputer turns the tide for consumer products research

Does your shampoo bottle say “Shake well before using”? Is your shower gel thin and runny? If you answered yes to these questions, you can begin to appreciate the challenges facing the developers of diverse consumer products. Companies need research and development tools that can accelerate the creation of globally competitive products. To that end, consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) has turned to DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and America’s fastest supercomputer to simulate microscopic processes that can threaten product performance and stability.

For this Fortune 50 firm founded in 1837, the stakes are high. Procter & Gamble generated than more $85 billion in revenue in 2013 from the global sale of everyday products like lotions, shampoos, toothpaste, and soaps, whose success in competitive markets depends on outstanding product performance. Downy, Head & Shoulders, Olay, and Crest are just some of P&G’s 22 pillar brands each generating more than a $1 billion annually.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 423  |
  • September 29, 2014
  • Strange quantum transformations found near absolute zero

    Rendering of the near–perfect crystal structure of the yttrium–iron–aluminum compound used in the study. The two–dimensional layers of the material allowed the scientists to isolate the magnetic ordering that emerged near absolute zero. Heat drives classical phase transitions—think solid, liquid, and gas—but much stranger things can happen when the temperature drops. When phase transitions occur at the coldest temperatures imaginable, where quantum mechanics reigns, subtle fluctuations can dramatically transform a material.

    Scientists from DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have now explored this absolute-zero landscape and probed these quantum phase transitions with unprecedented precision.

    “Under these cold conditions, the electronic, magnetic, and thermodynamic performance of metallic materials is defined by these elusive quantum fluctuations,” said study coauthor Meigan Aronson, a physicist at Brookhaven Lab and professor at Stony Brook. “For the first time, we have a picture of one of the most fundamental electron states without ambient heat obscuring or complicating those properties.”

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  • Nanotube cathode beats large, pricey laser

    The dark area of this cathode is made of millions of nanotubes that function like little lightning rods. Scientists are a step closer to building an intense electron beam source without a laser. Using the High-Brightness Electron Source Lab at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a team led by scientist Luigi Faillace of RadiaBeam Technologies is testing a carbon nanotube cathode — about the size of a nickel — that completely eliminates the need for a room-sized laser system. Tests with the nanotube cathode have produced beam currents a thousand to a million times greater than the one generated with a large, pricey laser system.

    The technology has extensive applications in medical equipment and national security, since an electron beam is a critical component in generating X-rays.

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  • A nanosized hydrogen generator

    Argonne researchers produce trace amounts of hydrogen with visible light by merging light-collecting proteins from a single-celled organism with a graphene platform. Both graphene and protein absorb the light and re-direct electrons towards the titanium dioxide. Electrons interact with protons at the site of the platinum nanoparticles to produce hydrogen. Credit: John Lambert Researchers at the DOE's Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

    The research also unveiled a previously unknown property of graphene. The two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms not only gives and receives electrons, but can also transfer them into another substance.

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  • Critical Materials Institute: One year, eleven inventions

    In its first year, the Critical Materials Institute at Ames Laboratory set up new research facilities, including the 3D metals printer shown here, and celebrated 11 inventions, all milestones that will help ensure U.S. access to critical materials. The Critical Materials Institute a DOE Energy Innovation Hub headquartered at Ames Laboratory, celebrated its first anniversary with eleven invention disclosures, all research milestones in a mission to assure the availability of rare earths and other materials critical to clean energy technologies.

    The inventions include improved extractive processes, recycling techniques, and substitute materials—technologies designed to increase production and efficiency of, and reduce reliance on, the use of rare earths and other critical materials.

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