Jon Madison says a key to his academic and professional success was listening to the adults in his life. “I don’t pretend to know everything,” he says. “I listened to the people who had my best interests at heart: my parents, my teachers, my mentors. I might not have understood or agreed with them, but just hearing what they were telling me provided opportunities later in life.” (Photo by Randy Montoya)BEYA award winner listened to his parents and excelled in materials science

Growing up in Kansas, Jon Madison had a strong sense of who he was and where he was going. “I wasn’t an average kid,” he says. “Whatever my peers were doing, chances are I wasn’t doing it. After school and weekends I helped with my family’s business. When it came to performing academically and taking an intellectual route, I always went my own way.”

Jon followed a path to advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science and a career at Sandia National Laboratories. He mentors interns at the Labs and young people in the community.

He recently was named winner of a Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for Most Promising Scientist. “This is a high point in my career,” Jon says.

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Screenshot from The Particle Adventure mobile app.Berkeley Lab team launches The Particle Adventure app

Next time you get the itch to check Facebook on your mobile phone, why not scroll through the latest unsolved physics mysteries instead? Now a free app for Android and Apple devices called The Particle Adventure makes checking out the world of quarks, dark matter, and particle accelerators as easy as tapping touchscreen icons.

Produced by the Particle Data Group at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab), The Particle Adventure is based on the popular and highly praised website of the same name. The science of particle physics is illustrated via categories including “How Do We Know Any of This?” and “Unsolved Mysteries.” You can skim through the major categories or dig deep into topics such as the discovery of the Higgs boson.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 432  |
  • February 9, 2015
  • Antireflective solar cells inspired by moths’ eyes

    Chuck Black of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials displays a nanotextured square of silicon on top of an ordinary silicon wafer. The nanotextured surface is completely antireflective and could boost the production of solar energy from silicon solar cells. Reducing the amount of sunlight that bounces off the surface of a solar cell helps maximize the conversion of sunlight to electricity. To achieve that goal, scientists at Brookhaven Lab etched a nanoscale texture onto silicon to create an antireflective surface as good as that achieved by multiple layers of thin-film coatings. 

    Their method, inspired by the antireflective textured surface of moths’ eyes, has potential for streamlining production and reducing manufacturing costs. It may also be applied to reduce glare from windows, provide radar camouflage for military equipment, and increase the brightness of light-emitting diodes.

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  • Accident-tolerant fuels ready for testing

    Accident-tolerant fuel test samples are prepared for irradiation at INL's Advanced Test Reactor Test Train Assembly Facility. Higher performance nuclear fuels could allow use in a reactor for longer periods of time along with enhanced tolerance to severe accident conditions. The summer of 2014 marked an important milestone toward development of nuclear fuel with enhanced accident-tolerant characteristics.

    For several years, researchers in laboratories across the U.S. have designed, fabricated and tested a host of novel nuclear fuels and cladding materials (enclosed tubes that house the fuel). Now, testing of promising fuels and materials with enhanced accident tolerant characteristics is commencing in a U.S. nuclear test reactor.

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  • Dark Energy Camera unveils small objects in solar system

    The 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera. The 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, built at DOE’s Fermilab and mounted on the 4-meter Victor Blanco Telescope in Chile, delivers some of the most detailed images of celestial objects. While about a third of the camera’s observing time goes to scientists working on the Dark Energy Survey, dozens of other teams share the remaining time. While the majority of them focus on observing objects far away, five groups recently highlighted in Symmetry magazine are investigating things close to Earth, looking for “space junk” that could damage satellites, large rocks that could hit Earth and other objects traversing our solar system.

    Stony Brook University’s Aren Heinze and the University of Western Ontario’s Stanimir Metchev use DECam images to look for undiscovered members of our solar system’s main asteroid belt, which sits between Mars and Jupiter. They stack more than 100 images taken in less than two minutes to detect the positions, motions and brightnesses of asteroids not seen before.

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  • Growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

    Scientists Aditya Mohite, left, and Wanyi Nie are perfecting a crystal production technique to improve perovskite crystal production for solar cells at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Recently in the journal Science, researchers at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory revealed a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals.

    “These perovskite crystals offer promising routes for developing low-cost, solar-based, clean global energy solutions for the future,” said Aditya Mohite, the Los Alamos scientist leading the project.

    State-of-the-art photovoltaics using high-purity, large-area, wafer-scale single-crystalline semiconductors grown by sophisticated, high temperature crystal-growth processes are seen as the future of efficient solar technology. Solar cells composed of organic-inorganic perovskites offer efficiencies approaching that of silicon, but they have been plagued with some important deficiencies limiting their commercial viability. It is this failure that the Los Alamos technique successfully corrects.

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