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Map with focus on sub-saharan Africa

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a method that uses machine learning to predict seasonal fire risk in Africa, where half of the world’s wildfire-related carbon emissions originate.

Pine trees in the Tuolumne Valley of Yosemite National Park show the effects of drought and fire. Credit: Anthony Walker/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A multi-institutional research team found that changing environmental conditions are affecting forests around the globe, leading to increasing tree death and uncertainty about the ability of forests to recover.

Eriophorum vaginatum flourishes in the tundra biome

An international team of scientists found that rules governing plant growth hold true even at the edges of the world in the Arctic tundra.

Computing – Mining for COVID-19 connections

Scientists have tapped the immense power of the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to comb through millions of medical journal articles to identify potential vaccines, drugs and effective measures that could suppress or stop the spread of COVID-19.

Nuclear – Finally, a benchmark

In the 1960s, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's four-year Molten Salt Reactor Experiment tested the viability of liquid fuel reactors for commercial power generation. Results from that historic experiment recently became the basis for the first-ever molten salt reactor benchmark.

This simulation of a fusion plasma calculation result shows the interaction of two counter-streaming beams of super-heated gas. Credit: David L. Green/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The prospect of simulating a fusion plasma is a step closer to reality thanks to a new computational tool developed by scientists in fusion physics, computer science and mathematics at ORNL.

A new computational approach by ORNL can more quickly scan large-scale satellite images, such as these of Puerto Rico, for more accurate mapping of complex infrastructure like buildings. Credit: Maxar Technologies and Dalton Lunga/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A novel approach developed by scientists at ORNL can scan massive datasets of large-scale satellite images to more accurately map infrastructure – such as buildings and roads – in hours versus days. 

Beneficial microbes, shown in red, aid Sphagnum mosses in using nitrogen from the air to fuel plant growth. ORNL scientists have shown this nitrogen fixing activity declines with warming temperatures. Credit: David Weston/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A team of scientists found that critical interactions between microbes and peat moss break down under warming temperatures, impacting moss health and ultimately carbon stored in soil.

Layering on the strength

A team including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee researchers demonstrated a novel 3D printing approach called Z-pinning that can increase the material’s strength and toughness by more than three and a half times compared to conventional additive manufacturing processes.

Motion sensing technology

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is training next-generation cameras called dynamic vision sensors, or DVS, to interpret live information—a capability that has applications in robotics and could improve autonomous vehicle sensing.