- Number 374 |
- October 22, 2012
In an effort to identify the thousands of John/Jane Doe cold cases in the United States, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher and a team of international collaborators have found a multidisciplinary approach to identifying the remains of missing persons.
Using "bomb pulse" radiocarbon analysis developed at DOE's Lawrence Livermore, combined with recently developed anthropological analysis and forensic DNA techniques, the researchers were able to identify the remains of a missing child 41 years after the discovery of the body.
In 1968, a child's cranium was recovered from the banks of a northern Canadian river. Initial analysis conducted by investigators, using technology at the time, concluded that the cranium came from the body of a 7-9-year-old child and no identity could be determined. The case went cold and was reopened later.
DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has developed a molten catalytic process for converting coal into a synthesis gas consisting of roughly 20% methane and 80% hydrogen using alkali hydroxides as both gasification catalysts and in situ CO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) capture agents. This hydrogen- and methane-rich output from the gasifier could be sent to gas turbines or solid oxide fuel cells in order to generate electricity with CO2 emissions significantly less than 1.0 lbs of CO2 per kWh of electricity.A patent application on this topic has been submitted and a paper entitled “Molten Catalytic Coal Gasification With In Situ Carbon and Sulphur Capture” was published by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Energy & Environment Science.
It's called the global warming potential or GWP for short and it bundles together the importance of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases on future climate change. Researchers from DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, working at the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), found that increasing methane's ranking in the GWP made little difference on the overall outcome of climate change projections. JGCRI is a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland.
Carbon dioxide gets most of the press when it comes to greenhouse gas. So much so that it's used as a standard by which researchers and policy makers measure the global warming impact of all other greenhouse gases. Though not as abundant, methane, a gas released by oil drilling, landfills, and other industrial activities as well as by nature, is the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas and traps more heat in the atmosphere per pound than carbon dioxide.
Early in 2012, Nobel Prize-winning theorist Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came up with a novel idea: “Inspired by special relativity, or simply by analogy, it is natural to consider the possibility of spontaneous breaking of time translation symmetry” – in other words, the possibility of a space-time crystal, one in which a four-dimensional system adopts a discrete symmetry, an oriented repetitive structure in time analogous to that of a three-dimensional crystal in space.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters (PRL), an international team of scientists led by researchers with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has now proposed a method which could provide the basis for actually constructing such a space-time crystal. The scheme starts with an ion trap, an arrangement of electric and magnetic fields, which confines ultracold particles at their lowest energy state. The mutual Coulomb repulsion of the charged particles arranges them in a ring inside the trap, and if the ring were nudged into rotation, over time the constituent ions would periodically return to the same or equivalent positions. A space-time diagram would reveal that the ring-shaped crystal in space forms a spiral-cylinder crystal in time.
Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific “break-even” energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a research paper from DOE's Sandia National Laboratories accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters (PRL).That the liners survived their electromagnetic drubbing is a key step in stimulating further Sandia testing of a concept called MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion), which will use magnetic fields and laser pre-heating in the quest for energetic fusion.
To exceed scientific break-even is the most hotly sought-after goal of fusion research, in which the energy released by a fusion reaction is greater than the energy put into it — an achievement that would have extraordinary energy and defense implications.